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11 philosophers to ‘dislocate’ the world: “If the system is unjust, what attacks it is good”

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If the current system is harmful, what needs to be done is to change it. If until now philosophy has not been able to do so, the most important thing is to rethink the formula. The current system exposes various issues while making others invisible. It marks an order that is never neutral. Thus, It is necessary to abandon the path to make a new reading of destiny. Dislocate they call it. They are Ana Carrasco-Conde, Luciana Cadahia, Anna Maria Brigante, Emma Ingala, Maria del Rosario Acosta, Laura Quintana, Amanda Nunez, Rosaura Martinez, Rocío Zambrana, Macarena Marey and Nuria Sanchez.

The eleven philosophers, all Spanish-speaking and from different countries, try to dislocate themselves and get out of a plan “that was always of the other, of the hegemonic order constructed” for bodies that are not theirs. They do it since Outside of themselves: Reasons to dislocate (Herder), where all of them, from their independence, own criteria and horizontality of the project, seek to build the art of philosophy from debate, respect and dissent.

One of its editors, Ana Carrasco-Conde, professor of Modern and Contemporary Philosophy at the Complutense University of Madrid and specialized in theories of subjectivation, talks with about the new book and the approaches analyzed.

Eleven female philosophers seek to reformulate conventional philosophy. Why is it necessary to see it from another perspective?

Another vision is needed because the version has been very partial. Critical thinking does not mean criticizing others or dismantling others’ arguments. The first exercise is to dismantle yourself. In this sense, in the philosophical tradition there has been very little critical thinking in terms of dismantling your own beliefs.

Philosophy is nothing abstract. I’m talking right now because I have a body and I’m thinking because I have a body. In this way, you position yourself in society in a certain way. They treat you in a certain way. For this reason, the academy has an eminently masculine way of being. Philosophy has not done this exercise of turning to criticize, dismantle and dislocate itself to see what its starting points are. There is no such thing as a neutral philosophy, but you have to be honest enough to express from what point and from what principles you are beginning to reflect.

Philosophy is not about being right or the truth. If any philosopher says that, he always runs away. The truth is a process and we are always searching for it. We cannot find it by ourselves. We must listen to other voices.

In the book you make it clear that you are feminist writers but that does not mean you have to talk only about gender issues or in relation to your condition. It seems that lately women are only being given a voice if they speak within those theoretical frameworks.

Many times I have been invited to conferences to speak about women. And I don’t work on that. That is, I am a feminist and I am a woman and my way of approaching issues has to do with a body that is inserted into society in a certain way and that is how I experience it. But that does not mean that I make myself the subject of thought. So, it also seemed interesting to us to make visible that women have been given a place in the academy where we only thought about our condition as women. And we are not given as much voice when we have to think about other types of issues. Like my colleague Nuria Sánchez Madrid, who works especially on the topic of poverty and unrest or Emma Ingala, who works on political philosophy and ontology.

This dislocation is an invitation for men to do so as well. Why do certain men address certain topics and not others? Philosophical men have had problems about what they could talk about. The fact that philosophy is not an abstract entity and has a body implies that in that body we can talk about different topics from different positions that allow us to cover a topic in a much more global way.

Luciana Cadahia, writer and co-editor of the book, said that Spanish philosophy, unlike German or French philosophy, has always been very masculinized. What does it mean?

It is true that in German or French philosophy there have been figures who have stood out more. I’m thinking of Olympe de Gouges or a very emerging figure in Germany, which is Hannah Arendt. They have produced very big changes. And apart from these philosophers there seem to be very few women.

The story is made by people. There is this canon of philosophers like Aristotle, Plato, Kant etc. The history of philosophy has highlighted some and made others invisible. You begin to realize that there are philosophers. The philosophers of Antiquity and the past, such as Hypatia or Hildegard of Bingen, did not speak of women as a philosophical object. This is an important point. Only through feminisms are they situated from the point of view of women as philosophical objects.

What has happened in Spain compared to other countries is that there has not been a possibility for women to reach positions to generate school. They have always been school teachers. Except for María Zambrando, they have never been university professors until recently. We assume that the history of philosophy linked to women has not existed, but it has existed. What happens is that he has been placed in a story that must be broken. Now we are building from the present. I dare to say that the most powerful thought is found in philosophy done in current Spanish. We have become twinned with Latin America.

You dedicate a chapter to talking about evil. What is evil?

I would make a distinction between evil and evil. Evil will always be related to a capacity to do harm or to experience harm. But you have to clarify a lot. In the book what I try is to dismantle the concept of evil because it is not that simple. The fact that it seems that way makes it speak of a relative evil: what is good for you can be bad for me.

In one of the reflections you carry out you mention “egoism” and a “perversion of order” as elements that corrupt a system that is good. Could it be, however, that the system and the prevailing order is not good?

In the chapter I try to dislocate evil from the starting point of many authors. I have dedicated myself to explaining the real evil, the one we experience. That of femicides, that of the Holocaust, that of genocide. Why does someone make you suffer?

In the classical tradition, evil is understood as that which is not good. Also the fact of not knowing that something is wrong. It is understood as a kind of defect because human beings, in general, act well. With the introduction of Christianity, it was understood that the world is good. How is it possible that evil exists? This is when the concept of free will is introduced. In this case, whether you harm others lies in man’s own will. Thus it seems that the divine order acts well and the individual acts badly.

One of the last variations has to do with this perversion of Kant’s order. Which, in short, he says don’t do to others what you don’t want them to do to you. When you don’t look out for society and look out for yourself, when you put your own interests ahead of others, you create evil within the order.

If the order is unjust and generates harm, that which violates the order is good.

The next step is Schelling. He is the first to say that evil is not a deprivation or a defect. He has to do not only with a bad and selfish action within a functioning order, but with a bad and selfish action that upsets society and inverts it. But all these proposals are based on the basis that order is good. Nobody questions it. We have focused generating damage within the will of order and we have always exonerated the order itself, the system. What if it is the system itself that generates damage? What if it is the order itself that generates injustices? The laws themselves or the order itself are the problem. The problem lies in what is legitimized by the system itself. Do you realize that if the problem is an unjust order that generates harm and does not listen to the collectives, that which threatens the order is good?

If we talk about evil, it is also important to emphasize that there is an evil that harms others because it obtains a type of pleasure from doing so. You do harm to others by not seeing them as an equal; when you don’t recognize the damage; when the order works in such a way that it is legitimized to cause the death of the other. I was thinking now of a philosopher who is very hopeless today, Giorgio Agamben, who talks about this figure of the Homo Sacer, which comes from Roman Law and says that there are human beings who are not considered citizens of the people and that therefore they can be killed for free. Don’t you think that has a lot to do with immigration?

Immigrants are totally dehumanized.

That is. So the problem is the order. It places certain people in certain positions where the operation of the law causes them some type of harm. Then there are other options that are more radical, like the Rwandan genocide, where you see that they enjoyed generating that damage.

Cover of ‘Out of Yourself: Reasons to Dislocate’.

Why is it so often, in attacks or femicides, that the perpetrator is said to be a beast or is directly called crazy? Why is human character rejected?

If you talk to someone about something outrageous you will hear two things. That the person who did it is an animal or that he is sick. But what animality and illness in this case do is exonerate reason. The great holocausts have been carried out with perfect logic. Therefore, if order can generate a lot of damage and encourage evil acts, logic and reason can be perfect for evil. Human beings are the only animal capable of being so cruel. Animals can cause harm but they do not act out of evil.

Does that order you speak of, which can become a system that encourages negative acts, have a direct relationship with the responsibility that feminists give to heteropatriarchy?

This is not a war of the sexes. It is about understanding that the patriarchal order has to do with a way of understanding the constitution of power. A power understood as dominion, possession, control. This order, which is very imposing, affects us all: men and women.

This system is based on submission, where there are people better than others and of different categories. Even love, in its concept of romantic love, has to do with an understanding of the partner as property. This order that affects men and women must be changed, although it must also be made clear that women have suffered more from this subjugation.

The idea is to try to generate an order in which power works in a different way. A system in which love is understood as freedom and other ways of relating are understood in which there is no submission. An order that is good for all of us. And to create that order we will all have to give up something. What are we willing to give up? We must disarticulate ourselves, dislocate ourselves. Good acts should not be the exception that modifies the system. They must be the guide that generates a new possible order.

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