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Ukpokolo, Isaac E. . Enriching the Knowledge of the Other Through an Epistemology of Intercourse
2020, In: Imafidon, E. (ed.) Handbook of African Philosophy of Difference. Cham: Springer, 193-204
Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Björn Freter
Abstract: Ideas, knowledge, and cognitive claims we have about “the other” or “the different” traditionally stems from what can be referred to as mainstream Cartesianism of epistemic duality, an orientation that has primary consideration for subject-object dichotomy; the knower and the known; the I and the thou; and the center and the periphery. In such considerations, what is of the center perceives what is not as an “other.” This disposition about the other constitutes a gap in cognition resulting in poverty of knowledge – knowledge of the other attained from a distance. Furthermore, this condition presents some rigid boundary between episteme (the knowledge) and doxa (the opinions), between the “self” and the “other,” between reality and appearance, between noumena and the phenomena, or between space and time. The present work attempts an alternative epistemology that avoids the impossibility of obtaining genuine knowledge beyond the self, proposing an epistemology of intercourse which alone, I believe, is capable of re-presenting a robust understanding of the entirety of reality (a holistic cognition of reality that is a continuum). According to this proposal, “knowledge” is “intercourse.” The knower is subsumed in the known and vice versa. Only then can the knower know the other for what it is and appreciates the non-difference between the knower and the known. This way, a just relationship between the self and the other would evolve.


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