Philosophy as a Site of Epistemic Paralysis: Colonial (Mis)education and the Practice of Ignorance
Kelly Louise Rexzy Agra (University College Dublin)

October 28, 2023, 5:00pm - 7:00pm

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Macquarie University
De La Salle University
Ateneo de Manila University
Ateneo de Manila University

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28 OCTOBER 2023

5PM-7PM Philippine Standard Time (GMT+8)


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Synopsis: Contrary to the ideal that philosophy fosters enlightenment and emancipation, I present in this work that philosophy can be a site of epistemic paralysis. Epistemic paralysis is my term for the stunting of the development of 'knowledge' (broadly construed) which in its pernicious form manifests in terms of the oppression of knowers and/or the unwarranted suppression of knowledge/s. I contend that epistemic paralysis can take place in institutionalised philosophy when philosophy promotes de-contextualised and de-historicised thinking which forecloses the uptake of critical approaches attentive to the effects of history and context. I contend that de-contextualised and de-historicised thinking is a legacy of colonial (mis) education and is a practice of ignorance. In my discussion, I use as my case in point the harmful ignorance of identity-based forms of oppression within institutionalised philosophy in the Philippines.

Speaker bio: Kelly Louise Rexzy Agra (PhD cand.) is a Teaching Fellow (Autumn 2023) at the University College Dublin School of Philosophy as well as an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of the Philippines Baguio (on study leave). Her work falls within the intersection of Critical Social Theory and Social Epistemology, with specific focus on decolonial and feminist critiques of knowledge and society. In her PhD dissertation, she develops her concept of "epistemic paralysis" and theory of "(mis)education". She has published articles on epistemic injustice, the philosophy of Alain Badiou, and Japanese Philosophy, among others; and is currently heading the research projects: The Philippine Condition: Threads of Critical, Decolonial, and Feminist Contentions and The WDF Handbook of Filipino Philosophy. Kellys affiliated with UCD MAP (Minorities and Philosophy), WDF (Women Doing Philosophy), TH PhD (Transnational Humanities PhD) Network, and Critical Political Epistemology Network (PEN). Her PhD, where the presentation we are about to listen is drawn, was funded by the Irish Research Council, University College Dublin, and University of the Philippines.

About Beyond the Ghetto (BTG): BTG is a subgroup of the Philippines-based Women Doing Philosophy. We are dedicated to celebrating the works of women philosophers and promoting their presence in the philosophy classroom.

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October 25, 2023, 12:00pm UTC

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