Philosophy Colloquium: "Is the Huarochirí Manuscript a Source of Indigenous Philosophy? Reconceptualizing the Idea of Philosophical Sources”

January 28th, 2022 (in-person) 

Speaker: Jorge Sanchez-Perez, SFU


In this paper, I explore three different yet meaningfully connected lines of thought that together support two conclusions. I first explore the question of what it means to talk about indigenous philosophy by discussing two possible ways of approaching the concept. The first one describes what the practice looks like currently. The second one, the one I propose, is an account of Indigenous philosophy that recognizes the background of colonization as a way of constructing the term, but at the same time acknowledges the resilience of these philosophical views and the possibility of identifying new insights to help us answer philosophical questions. Then, I focus on establishing a difference between a philosophical source, a philosophical text, and a philosophical insight. Given what we know about different groups of indigenous peoples and their way of approaching knowledge creation or dissemination, I argue that we can access many philosophical sources in indigenous philosophy that are not present in the form of philosophical texts. Finally, I analyze whether -given the previously explored lines of thought- we can consider an Andean manuscript from the late 16th early 17th-century, the Huarochirí Manuscript, a philosophical source. The two main conclusions of the paper are that reducing philosophical sources to philosophical texts alone in light of indigenous forms of knowledge creation and dissemination, and even the history of Western philosophy, is a problematic practice. The second is that 16th-century Andean Indigenous philosophy needs to be acknowledged as a valuable subject of philosophical inquiry.