Subaltern Voices Series

Speaking & Theorizing from the Disciplinary Margins


Dr. Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze (Associate Professor, Philosophy, DePaul University, Chicago)

Topic:“Diversity and the Languages of Reason.”

Date:Thursday, 30 November, 2006


Co-sponsored by the Department of Philosophy.

Abstract: In the first part of the paper (“Languages of reason”) I argue that rationality in the sciences (“science” construed broadly: physical, social, or moral and literary) is diverse because reason itself is internally diverse. In the second part (“Philosophy, science and cultural principles of reason”) I argue that because reason occurs in cultures, cultural considerations can be seen as inescapable in the sciences. Taken together, the two sections argue that there exists, whether we like it or not, diverse languages of reason. Similar to human capacity for language, reason itself (if we can phrase it like that) speaks different languages. We cannot hear any of reason’s forms of speech, nor are we ourselves able to speak rationally, except in awareness of diversity. Diversity, I conclude, must be thought of not merely as an idea we make up (and may choose to reject) about reason but rather as an inherent part of what it means to live a life of reason or to engage in rational practices, such as we do in the sciences.

Bio: Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at DePaul University, Chicago. He did his undergraduate and graduate studies at Jesuit colleges in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo and at Fordham University in New York. His teaching specializations are in the areas of European and African philosophy, social and political theory, and postcolonial studies. His previous publications include Achieving our Humanity: The Idea of a Postracial Future (2001), Postcolonial African Philosophy: A Critical Reader (1998), and Race and the Enlightenment: A Reader (1997). He edits the journal Philosophia Africana.