From American Empire to América Cósmica through Philosophy: Prospero's Reflection envisions a greater ideal American philosophy that integrates philosophies from across the Americas and is set to work resolving the problems that vex the peoples of the Americas. This work contributes to the rapidly growing dialogue on Inter-American philosophy with research that adds to the list of philosophical affinities across the Americas. However, Terrance MacMullan also delves deeply into the points of philosophical contention and misrecognition between Anglo-American and Ibero-American philosophies by reversing the colonial gaze of the last centuries. Following in the tradition of cultural theorists like Enrique Rodó and Roberto Fernández Retamar, who draw on Shakespeare’s The Tempest as a source of literary metaphors to understand colonialism and imperialism in the Americas, MacMullan argues that the United States will never achieve democratic community unless it first contends with the harsh critiques of its culture and philosophies reflected within the works of Latin American philosophers who prophesied and survived the imperialism of the North American Prospero but whose works are still largely unknown and unseen within U.S. universities.
Terrance MacMullan is professor of philosophy at Eastern Washington University.
Introduction: Inter-American Philosophy and the Hope for a Greater America
Part I: Perils and Possibilities of Inter-American Philosophy
Chapter 1: Prospero’s Reflection
Chapter 2: Inter-American Philosophic Unity as Fact, Propaganda, or Legitimate Aspiration
Chapter 3: Inter-American Philosophical Affinities in the 19th Century
Chapter 4: Early Pragmatist Affinities within Inter-American Philosophy
Part II: Inter-American Philosophy as Resistance to Propaganda
Chapter 5: The Stars and Stripes over Plaza de las Armas
Chapter 6: Scrying Prospero’s Empire: Inter-American Philosophy and Imperial Propaganda
Chapter 7: Confronting the Seven League Giant: Martí and Rodó on Inter-American Philosophy as Resistance to Propaganda
Chapter 8: José Vasconcelos and Pragmatism as Gunship Philosophy
Chapter 9: Pedro Albizu Campos as the Socratic Gadfly of American Empire
Part III: Inter-American Philosophy as a Legitimate Aspiration
Chapter 10: Gloria Anzaldua and Confronting the Gringo Doppelganger
Chapter 11: Juan Bautista Alberdi and Inter-American Philosophical Responses to el Caudillo Gringo
Chapter 12: The American Redoubt and the Coyolxauqui Imperative: Remembering América through Inter-American Philosophy
This book is the culmination of MacMullan's research on a broader conception of American philosophy. The expanded notion of “American” philosophy not only makes sense, but it is one of the most promising present ventures in dealing with the lives and problems of people across the Americas.
The book opens up an important dialogue between the American pragmatist traditions and Latin American philosophers that have been ignored, such as Vaz Ferreira, Pedro Albizu Campos, and Risieri Frondizi. More importantly, it introduces the perspective of these philosophers on both the virtues and the vices of the United States. This is the much-needed critical perspective that the humanities should encourage today.
This book is an example of what true Inter-American philosophy should be. It is a demonstration of the largely unexplored benefits of “rubbing” philosophical sister traditions that have much in common and much to learn from their differences. MacMullan masterfully establishes connections and bridges between American traditions and opens the possibility of new avenues of future research. This is an important contribution to scholarship and of interest to a wide audience concerned about the present and future of the Americas.
Terrance MacMullan’s book is an essential work in the growing canon of Inter-American philosophy. He builds a foundational bridge that demonstrates not only how philosophers from North and Latin America can be put into dialogue, but also that they must be put into a wider conversation with one another in order for us to be able to appreciate fully the limits and promise of this American life. At a time in history during which we face so many crises, MacMullan articulates the rich resources of Inter-American philosophy in a way to give us with existential meaning and social hope, while also warning us about paths of conquest and injustice that have led us to our despair today. Scholars of American philosophy will have to engage with this book in order to understand how classic figures such as Addams, Dewey, Royce, and DuBois are tested and tempered by the American vistas of Campos, Vasconcelos, Marti, and Anzaludua.
For over 500 years, ideas and cultures—as much as human bodies—have been migrating in the Americas. With passion and grace, Terrance MacMullan makes a compelling case for a wider and ever-fluid vision of “American philosophy” that can help to restore democratic ways of living. This is an utterly timely, creative, and forward-thinking book.