Original Research

From hauntology to a new animism? Nature and culture in Heinz Kimmerle’s intercultural philosophy

Murray Hofmeyr
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 3, No 1 | a317 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v3i1.317 | © 2007 Murray Hofmeyr | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 March 2016 | Published: 11 April 2007

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Murray Hofmeyr, University of Venda, South Africa

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Derrida has proposed a new spectrology in an attempt to deal with the ghost of Marx. Kimmerle shows that Marx has forgotten nature, and enquires about Derrida’s forgetting Marx’s forgetting. With specific reference to African culture he asks whether a new animism should not be explored within the framework of a new spectrology. Derrida uses the concept animism, but not in terms of the being of things in and of
themselves, which could positively be thought as animated. Kimmerle proposes a way in which Western philosophy could be opened to African philosophy in order to understand the problem of animated nature more adequately. African philosophy has a concept of the universe of spiritual forces, in which nature and its powers are
completely integrated. This paper explores these issues in dialogue with a number of African philosophers, while linking them to certain contestations within environmental philosophy and ethics, especially Murray Bookchin’s critique of spirit-talk in Deep Ecology. Kimmerle’s work on the relationship between Africa and Hegel sets the scene
for an elaboration of his re-evaluation of animism which is compared to the groundbreaking hypothesis of Bird-David. A relational epistemology is understood in ethical terms, and it is implied that such an epistemology would be more adequate for a new humanism that would be new in going beyond the western tradition, and in the process
gain a more inclusive concept of “person” and “community”.


animism, spectrology, hauntology, nature, culture, humanism, environment


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