Volume 20, Issue 2, 2017
Gregory Fernando Pappas
The Limitations and Dangers of Decolonial Philosophies
Lessons from Zapatista Luis Villoro
In this essay I pay homage to one of the most important but neglected philosophers of liberation in Latin America, Luis Villoro, by considering what possible lessons we can learn from his philosophy about how to approach injustices in the Americas. Villoro was sympathetic to liberatory-leftist philosophies but he became concerned with the direction they took once they grew into philosophical movements centered on shared beliefs or on totalizing theories that presume global explanatory power. These movements became vulnerable to extremes or vices that undermine their liberatory promise. I examine some of these worrying tendencies among that body of literature roughly described as “decolonial thought” (e.g., Enrique Dussel, Walter Mignolo). After a concise presentation of Villoro and the decolonial turn, I consider four dangers that this new liberatory-leftist movement faces and why Villoro should be a significant voice as the decoloniality debate moves forward.