Volume 2 of Mexican Philosophy (Update)

Not too long ago, Carlos tweeted that we were going to start working on the second volume of our anthology. Even though we’ve been talking about it for a year or two, his thinking was that if he made the announcement public, it would be official and there would be no turning back. Well, it’s public and official, and I’m happy to say that we’ve officially started.

So here’s what we’re thinking. Originally, the goal of the anthology (and the series it’s a part of) was to introduce and make accessible histories, traditions, or texts of philosophy that have been excluded from the canonical history of Western philosophy. So we wanted to tell the story of Mexican philosophy through a selection of texts that we believed were essential to any history of (Mexican) philosophy, but which were nonetheless absent from any Anglo-American syllabus.

The challenge, of course, was to tell a coherent and compelling story that students and professors could sink their teeth into, and to do so in the time and space we were given. And, as many of our friendly critics have pointed out, our original story was (and we believe had to be) as exclusive as it was inclusive. We did the best we could at the time, and we still hold firmly that our first anthology was a great first step.

But with a little distance now, and having recovered from the trauma of all the translating we did and edited, we’re ready to undo our story and re-tell it – specifically to broaden and enrich what counts as “Mexican” philosophy (and “Mexico”), and to return to all those figures we couldn’t include the first time around.

Roughly, we are thinking about five major groups that we need to include in our second volume: more women, indigenous voices, Afro-Mexican texts (or oral contributions), canonical texts that influenced major events in modern Mexican history, and schools of philosophy that were historically influential during 1910-1960 but which were eclipsed and purposely forgotten by post-1940 histories of Mexican Philosophy (such as Mexican Marxism and neo-Kantianism).

To tell this story, we’re going to have to broaden our parameters, a lot. For reasons we’ll explain soon, we’re going to expand out timeline from 1810-2020. We’re going to seek out modern and contemporary indigenous and Afro-Mexican contributions, i.e, from an indigenous or Afro-Mexican perspective or grounded in an indigenous or Afro-Mexican experience, as opposed to texts about indigenous and Afro-Mexican contributions. And we’re going to suspend what we think philosophy is so that we let the texts and those who consider themselves philosophers (but who not be currently recognized as such under a certain conception of philosophy) re-shape our idea of what counts, or of who is counting or why we are counting at all. In short, we’re going to write the introduction based on the story we find in the collection of texts, as opposed to using a prior conception of what counts as Mexican philosophy as a criterion for selecting the texts. We believe that both are crucial and that they mutually complement each other.

We now have a game plan. Carlos and I are both committed, and we believe that, like in 2015 when we started the first volume in earnest, that the timing is right. Actually, it’s better and we’re both in a position to lean in. Even though Mexican, Latin American, and Latinx philosophy have come a long way in the last 5 years since we started the first anthology – a long way – there’s still a lot of ground to break and work to do. Or, as our Anglo-American friend so eloquently put it, still many miles to go before we sleep.

2 responses to “Volume 2 of Mexican Philosophy (Update)

  1. This updated idea is fantastic. I look forward to this volume and hopefully a ‘teach-in’ at SJSU when faculty like me, can be instructed by you as to how best integrate these works into our classrooms.

  2. This is great to read: I’m excited to see the series to continue, about the ways in which philosophy can be conceived by those groups excluded from philosophy, traditionally understood in the United States and Mexico; and the ways in which philosophy is articulated…muy bien mi gente!

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