David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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South African Journal of Philosophy 27 (4):296-309 (2008)
The title of Emmanuel Eze’s final, posthumously published book uses the words “reason” and “rationality” in a manner that might suggest they are interchangeable. I would like to suggest that we not treat them as the same, but rather tease out a difference in emphasis and reference between the two. In African philosophy, the problem of reason is really two separate problems, the first of which I will call the “problem of reason” (that is, the question of whether there are diverse forms of reason or only one universal form) and the second the “problem of rationality” (that is, the question of whether everyone has the capacity to deploy reason past what mimicry or programming makes possible). Both of these problems are addressed by Eze’s schema for forms of reason. He identifies several forms, but focuses on “ordinary reason”, which allows all the other forms to operate. Ordinary reason also makes rationality possible, that is, the culturally specific yet emergent way of navigating forms of reason. Reason is necessarily diverse, because its multiple forms are deployed differently by different rationalities.
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