Caribbean Journal of Philosophy, Vol 12, No 2 (2020)

Caribbean Philosophy and Metaphysical Strictures

Sandra McCalla


A culture with no evident signs of philosophy is a non-existent one. Thus, it is illogical to argue that the Caribbean is devoid of philosophical thinking and exploration. In an effort to hold meaningful discussions on Caribbean philosophy, it is important to establish what Caribbean philosophy is not. I suggest that Caribbean philosophy is not a pastime. It is not a worthless preoccupation. It is not devoid of values and religious and metaphysical truths. Nor is it a pseudo discourse void of the causal history, metaphysical traditions, and logical intellectual ideologies.

I explore metaphysics as one key area of Caribbean philosophy, by showing its uniqueness in being pragmatic in its approach. This uniqueness probably sets Caribbean metaphysics apart from unmoored abstract textbook metaphysics. The difference in the nature and scope of Caribbean metaphysics do not imply a weakness, as no philosophy is superior to the other in terms of worth and merit. The key ingredient to a metaphysics is its people, so if all metaphysics were the same, all people would be the same. No two people are the same; therefore, the metaphysics of each culture are built on different templates. I show the uniqueness of Caribbean Metaphysics by arguing that, since all cultures are different in many respects, it is absurd to expect a universal metaphysical discourse and ideology. I propose a pragmatic approach to the understanding of the metaphysical traditions in the Caribbean, with specific reference to Jamaica by investigating certain metaphysical socio-cultural practices and ideologies in areas such as religion, sports, and the ontology of life of the Caribbean people.

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