Radix Journal

Radix Journal

A radical journal

Author: Zero Schizo

Imperiality vs. Imperialism

Editors Note:  By Israel Lira, Peruvian Political Theorist. Translated by Zero Schizo. Following Fernando Altuve’s thesis of the historicity of the State in his work “The Kingdoms of Peru”, we…

Editors Note:  By Israel Lira, Peruvian Political Theorist. Translated by Zero Schizo.

Following Fernando Altuve’s thesis of the historicity of the State in his work “The Kingdoms of Peru”, we cannot conceive of the State until the beginning of the Renaissance, and as we know it today, until the signing of the Treaty of Westphalia (1648). With this historical event, the bases for the concept of sovereignty was settled and was later used to give strength to another conception, that of the Nation, strictly linked to the State, insofar as this last term will mean the geographic community organized politically. On the other hand, sovereignty, evolved from being concentrated in the King, into founding its being in the popular will. With that being said, we cannot talk about the State before the aforementioned events, so that the proto-State organizations, will only receive the qualification of Political Units, in hope of not falling into an anachronism of categories.

Prior to the concept of State (whether it be in any of its three well-known forms of historical evolution, Absolute –1648– Federal –1776– and National –1789–) there existed Political Units called Empires. The following questions emerge: Is it the same Empire or Idea of Empire (Imperium) that we now call Imperialism? Could we talk about Imperialism in ancient times? We consider that, following Altuve’s thesis, such thing is imprecise and anachronistic, and that what we have in ancient times, as exclusive neologism contextualized and already scoped by us, is what we will call Imperialities, as the expression of the Idea of Empire (Imperium), and that Imperialism is a phenomenon which emerges from the decline of this idea in front of the rise of the State, so then, is a modern phenomenon. Regarding this:

“The loss of Calais in 1554 pointed out the beginning of the sea myriad by the English people, in front of a globalized worldwide space, it seemed obliged to launch itself to the conquest of the seas in the condition of pirates… With this conquest of the sea, with this active search for the taking of markets in contra-position to the taking of lands from the continental superpowers… Saxon Thalassocracy was born in the universal political order” (Febres-Lores, 1996:71-72).

Thalassocracy from the doctrine of the Mare Liberum, different from the territorial vision of the Hispanic Mare Clausum, is inspired by the image of Imperial Rome, of a plurality of peoples and dissimilar territories which conformed to a mosaic sorted by the civilizational role of the City (Febres-Lores, 1996). A vision beyond the Alameda of Hercules, and before the conquest, was also shared by the pre-Hispanic peoples, Aztecs, Mayas and Incas. Just to quote a close example, Quechua or Quechua Simi or Runa Simi is translated as the language of men and which fulfilled a civilizational mission in front of all of the other Andean peoples, product of the Tawantinsuyu* Expansion. Meaning, the Idea of Empire (Imperium) in general terms and as transversal historical category to different peoples, always brought with itself a main ideal of expansion of culture and civilization, while the commercial aspect was a mere factor, an accessory to the main one.

In consequence, the difference between Imperialism and Imperiality would be of teleological character. While Imperialism is a manifestation of thalassocracies or marine powers, the Idea of Empire or Imperiality is energized mainly by a universalist myth. In the same way, while Imperialism is a modern category of strict culture-dissolving economic domination, Imperiality is a category of ancient times of integrating cultural domination. Our ancestral peoples had it pretty clear in their civilizational vision, and were not estranged from the phenomenon of Imperiality.

Translator’s Note:

* Tawantinsuyu, also known as the Inca Empire in its original language (Quechua).


FEBRES-LORES, Fernan. (1996). «Los Reinos del Perú: apuntes sobre la monarquía peruana». Dupla Editores.


OSZLAK, Oscar. (1982). «Reflexiones sobre la formación del Estado y la construcción de la Sociedad Argentina». In: Desarrollo Económico, Revista de Ciencia Sociales, Vol. XXI, Enero-Marzo: Buenos Aires.

BANDEIRI, Luis María. (2007). «Patria, nación, estado «et de quibusdam aliis», In: Revista Facultad de Derecho y Ciencias Políticas Vol. 37, No. 106, Medellín – Colombia, Enero-Junio.

MORTON H, Fried. (1967). «The evolution of political society an essay in political anthropology». Random House studies in anthropology, AS. 7. New York: Random House.

SERVICE R, Elman. (1984). «Los orígenes del Estado y de la civilización. El proceso de evolución cultural». Madrid: Alianza Editorial.

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The Mythoid of the Neutrality of Science

Editors Note:  By Israel Lira, Peruvian Political Theorist. Translated by Zero Schizo. In order to have myth, what is needed is that the culture in which it appears would be…

Editors Note:  By Israel Lira, Peruvian Political Theorist. Translated by Zero Schizo.

In order to have myth, what is needed is that the culture in which it appears would be a mythological one. This culture supposes a complex group of mythical categories, among them those of time, space and causality. Mythoid lacks the transcendental character of myth, it isn’t, above all, overlapped with the totality of the culture in which it works. It is, in certain sense, isolated and could even oppose essential aspects of a given culture, but possess the fundamental characters of myth. (Miro Quesada Cantuarias, 1986:84-86). As exposed, myth, understood as a fact or event which does not have empirical correlate, is differentiated from mythoid, by the socio-cultural framework in which it is produced, by which in contemporaneity we would talk more of the generation of mythoids than myths, given that our current culture is found inside of a logocratic (reason) framework eminently and not a mythocratic one.

Following the aforementioned, one of the mythoids of our contemporaneity is configured in the belief in the fact that science enjoys of an absolute neutrality in which scientific research (creation of explicative theories) and technological application (execution of theories already given to concrete cases) are not just one. Disconnected, but instead they are at the same time, estranged from external powers which could exert influence in them.

This mythoid has a clear origin in Popperian vision inside of the philosophy of science, in which precisely the separation between scientific research and technological application is made. For Popper (1970), scientific research has, as such, an intrinsic value which is guided by determined norms of methodological character that could have a moral content, insofar as the objective of the investigation is the discovery, and thus the results of such research also have that inherent value, but are neutral regarding the moral. That one could make good or bad use from the results of a scientific research a-posteriori is an entirely different thing. So, the scientist has two obligations, to follow the moral requirements of the very same scientific praxis (the scientist as scientist), and to limit himself to foresee the possible uses of his results and denounce its bad praxis (the scientist as citizen).

This Popperian approach, which is the traditional one, opposes the historic-sociological approach of epistemologists like Bernal (1939) and Richta (1971), where it is remarked that by the nature of the scientific research, the scientist –in effect– has a double responsibility, to follow the norms of the scientific method, but above all to involve himself in an active way in the changing of society in order for science to fulfill its role of serving mankind, insofar as one is conscious that scientific knowledge could be used both in order to liberate and in order oppress mankind. These are symptomatic facts which are derived from the lacking of the very same social system to which science serves. Meaning, scientific research and technological application are not separated concepts, but instead they keep an intrinsic relationship.

This last point is reaffirmed by the fact that in the praxis of scientific research, the search for some theories or others and the choice between them is not an entirely free enterprise, remembering Quintanilla (1978), regulated exclusively by the canons of objectivity and in service of truth, as the unmistakable reality is that the scientist is a wage worker whose priorities of research are given as such to an order of priority which is established by particular interests which are the ones who direct, what things can be researched and what things are left relegated, “to the extent, for example, that research devoted to a determined topic are financed and not others, etc” (1978:54). As was exposed, “it is clear that we must renounce the comfortable consolation or illusion that science, in itself, has guaranteed autonomy and value despite the wrong applications that would be made of it circumstantially or despite its historical insertion in an unjust society” (1978:56).


MIRO QUESADA CANTUARIAS, Francisco. (1986). «Ciencia y técnica [en América Latina]: ideas o mitoides», in: Leopoldo Zea (Ed.), América Latina en sus ideas. Mexico: UNESCO/Siglo XXI; pp. 72-94.

POPPER, K.R. (1970). «The Moral Responsibility of the Scientist» in P. Weingarther and G. Zecha (eds.), Inducfton. Physis and Ethics. Dordrecht, p. 22-326.

BERNAL, J.D. (1939). «The Social Function of Science». London.

RICHTA, R. (1971). «La civilización en la encrucijada». Madrid.

QUINTANILLA A. Miguel. (1978). «El Mito de la Neutralidad de la Ciencia: la responsabilidad del científico y del técnico». EL BASILISCO, Revista de Materialismo Filosófico. En: http://fgbueno.es/bas/pdf/bas10105.pdf


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