Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 33, Issue 3, 2023

Charley Mejame Ejede
Pages 97-114

The Phenomenology of Life and the Experience of Affectivity in Michel Henry, Indian and Leopold Sédar Senghor’s Thought

Michel Henry is regarded as one of the most important French philosophers of the second half of the 20th century. Yet, he is still not widely cited as Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida and Jean Paul Sartre are. His thought constitutes a philosophy of life, distancing itself not only from the phenomenology of the 20th century, but also from the science and technology inaugurated by Galileo Galilei and Rene Descartes. Furthermore, Leopold Sedar Senghor is an African philosopher whose philosophy has often been misunderstood in both African as well as in most Western philosophical scholarly circles. Critiquing representation in Western thought only makes sense if it is made clear that it is entirely conceivable that this critique squanders its meaning elsewhere, in the East. It is inherent in it. However, very few academics have felt that this should be done. It is essential to make connections, because what Henry discovers puts him in an immediate proximity of the radical approach of Vedanta and the approach of Senghor’s Negritude theory of emotion. The objective of this article is to find significant points of convergence between absolute subjectivity, the idea of affectivity, and Negritude and Vedanta in Henry’s speculative thought. The reading of Henry, Indian philosophy (Vedanta) and Negritude (Senghor) allows for establishing a bridge between Indian philosophy (Vedanta) and phenomenology, most notably a bridge between Negritude and the phenomenology of life.