Salazar Bondy began his career with a specific vision pertaining to the relationship between the colonizer, in the form of the social, political and economic mechanisms of domination and oppression under which Latin Americans exist, and the colonized, in the form of the concrete social, political and economic circumstances of Latin Americans. Stated differently, it is not necessary for us to begin with an historical analysis of how Latin Americans came to be in their current social, political and economic predicament precisely because of how Bondy understands the cognitive apparatus of Latin Americans that have been generated under the control of the colonizer.
As an intellectual, Bondy subscribes to a materialistic ontology that, first and foremost, understands the importance of examining the concrete living conditions of Latin Americans in their social, political and economic reality. In this manner, it is possible for scholars to extrapolate from such concrete experiences to identify the manifest consciousness of the community. At the depth of Bondy’s analysis can be gleaned a subtle negative dialectical methodology that contrasts the yet to be identified consciousness of Latin Americans against the colonialized consciousness of Latin Americans living under conditions of domination and oppression.
Bondy believes that there can be no such thing as a Latin American philosophy until such time that we are able to successfully decolonialize Latin Americans in their way of thinking, in contradistinction to the consciousness of Latin Americans produced under the colonizer’s mechanisms of control. In other words, Latin Americans living under the control of the colonizer have been taught to seek justification for their thoughts and actions from the legitimizing mechanisms of colonial institutions that govern over their social, political and economic existence. Thus, in Bondy’s point of view, it is only after we have decolonialized the Latin American’s way of thinking that it will be possible to produce a uniquely Latin American philosophy.
For Bondy, the yet to be identified consciousness of Latin Americans shall be revealed under the decolonialization process as a shift in focus from the colonizer’s point of interests to a focus of interest in the will of Latin Americans. Although Latin Americans are currently forced to live under the colonizer’s control, Bondy proposes a nationwide effort to re-educated Latin Americans by first working through the decolonialization process from the colonizer’s mechanisms of domination while concomitantly developing a form of critical consciousness. Once this process is initiated, Latin American scholars can then begin to focus on the wants and desires of Latin Americans that are no longer under the control of the colonizer.
We see in Bondy a sound argument for why there cannot be a true Latin American philosophy at this time. Stated in overly simplified terms, the colonizer lives in our minds. Until we can change our way of thinking to reflect our own ideas and beliefs, in contradistinction to those of the colonizer, we cannot have a Latin American Philosophy. Contrary to Bondy’s view, Leopoldo Zea firmly believes that there is such a thing as a Latin American philosophy.