Leopoldo Zea

To properly understand Zea’s position, we must understand his use of the Hegelian Dialectic. Zea focuses his use of the dialectic on Hegel’s assertion that history can only be meaningful for a certain place at a certain time. Based on this assertion, Zea believes that we can identify and solve our own problems as opposed to having our needs identified and dealt with by the social, political, and economic mechanisms of colonial oppression and domination. In this context, we would be using our own mechanism of liberation functioning within a philosophy of liberation. In considering Zea’s proposition, we see that his understanding of the events of the past are placed against a decolonialized understanding of the currently concrete circumstances of the colonizer’s domination and oppression, to produce a vision of the future that is uniquely Latin American.

As far as Latin American identity is concerned, Zea believes that we also have the ability to recreate our own history. That is, as descendants of indigenous and mestizo ancestors’, we have  collectively  and  concretely  maintained  our  cultural  beliefs  and oral  traditions.  In this context, momentous historical events such as the conquest or our wars of independence remain fresh in our collective memories and can be rewritten from our own Latin American perspective based on the oral records of our own people.

Looking strictly from a teleological perspective, the debate between Bondy and Zea centers on whether one prefers to focus on extracting Western North American modernist ideology as a whole from our way of thinking, or embrace the notion that the instrumental use of the dialectic can be used to finally rid ourselves of the coloniality of the conqueror and begin to control our own beliefs and ideas in contradistinction to the colonizer.

No matter which position one decides to take, both of these philosophers have performed the service of introducing us to an oppositional stance with respect to the colonizer that would have us work to decolonialize ourselves and they have also served to open up a narrative space in which Latin American scholars can continue to make the necessary strides towards our ultimate liberation from colonial domination.