This volume of newly commissioned essays provides comprehensive coverage of African philosophy, ranging across disciplines and throughout the ages. Offers a distinctive historical treatment of African philosophy. Covers all the main branches of philosophy as addressed in the African tradition. Includes accounts of pre-colonial African philosophy and contemporary political thought.
In the last two decades the idea of African Philosophy has undergone significant change and scrutiny. Some critics have maintained that the idea of a system of philosophical thought tied to African traditions is incoherent. In African Philosophy Lee Brown has collected new essays by top scholars in the field that in various ways respond to these criticisms and defend the notion of African Philosophy. The essays address both epistemological and metaphysical issues that are specific to the traditional conceptual languages (...) of sub-Saharan Africa. The primary focus of the collection is on traditional African conceptions of topics like mind, person, personal identity, truth, knowledge, understanding, objectivity, destiny, free will, causation, and reality. The contributors--who include Leke Adeofe, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Lee Brown, Segun Gbadegesin, D.A. Masolo, Albert Mosley, Ifeanyi Menkiti, and Kwasi Wiredu--incorporate concerns from various African philosophical traditions, including Akan, Azande, Bokis, Igno, Luo, and Yoruba. African Philosophy ultimately tries to bring a more rigorous conception of African philosophy into fruitful contact with Western philosophical concerns, specifically in the philosophies of psychology, mind, science, and language, as well as in metaphysics and epistemology. It will appeal to both scholars and students. (shrink)
Two different kinds of rules are needed in the regulation of human conduct in the sphere of global interaction. There is a need for global ethics and also a need for a global ethic. The first exists but needs reinforcement. The second also exists but not sufficiently widely and therefore needs a fashioning out in some contexts. Because ethics and an ethic are grammatically cognate and are both concerned with behavior, it is easy to conflate the two. Accordingly, clarity will (...) be sought below about the distinction between them. The hope is that such clarity might help in directing efforts in search of harmony and other good things on our planet. (shrink)
Abstract Democracy as a political system entailing multi-party competition for power is only one form of democracy. Given that democracy is government by consent, the question is whether a less adversarial system than the party system, which is bound up with majoritarian decision-making, cannot be devised. This paper contends that a system based on consensus as a decision procedure would be a democracy of just such a description. It is important to note that the kind of consensus envisaged here is (...) not agreement regarding questions of truth and morality; it is concerned only with the question of what is to be done. And it is an important fact that reasonable human beings can come to an agreement about what is to be done by virtue of compromise without agreeing on issues of truth or morality. A consensual system will naturally be a non-party arrangement. However, as I explain, such a polity need not be one without parties. (shrink)
A special issue of The Philosophical Forum , one of the most prestigious philosophy journals, is now available to a wider readership through its publication in book form. The volume includes twelve essays in three sections-- Philosophical Traditions; the African-American Tradition; and Racism, Identity, and Social Life. Contributors are: K. Anthony Appiah, Kwasi Wiredu, Lucius Outlaw, Leonard Harris, Bernard Boxill, Frank M. Kirkland, Tommy L. Lott, Adrian M.S. Piper, Laurence Thomas, Michele M. Moody-Adams, Anita L. Allen, and Howard McGary. (...) The introduction is by John P. Pittman. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to contribute to the on-going debate about self-redescription in the history of African philosophy using the method and theory of redescription. This method and theory of redescription has become the deep concern of not only Western philosophers but of many African philosophers which is markedly present in their agitated pursuits of wisdom. This self-redescription is always resiliently presented in the works of Kwasi Wiredu, Kwame Appiah, Gyekye Kwame, Olusegun Oladipo, Wole Soyinka, Sophie Oluwole, (...) Jim Unah, Martin Heidegger and Maduabuchi Duko;r who is the most recent emergence of the problem of theory and method in African philosophy. So, the general purpose of this paperis to enact the intellectual concern of these self-redescription in the history of African philosophy while the specific purpose is to determine the adequacy of humanism and hermeneutics as concepts covering the self-image of African philosophy. This paper will further show the incoherence and incongruence of humanism and hermeneutics with the concrete self-image of African philosophy by redescribing them in the mould of emerging concepts such as the humanness of Orisa intellectual culture, in particular; and orunmineutics as a general philosophical theory. (shrink)
The question of what political system best suites post colonial/independent African states remain alive and ever more pertinent particularly in the face of failed attempts at democratisation. Kwasi Wiredu notes that the adversarial nature of Western democratic practices along party political lines may not be well suited for African politics. Instead he suggests that the practice of consensual democracy as practised in the traditional Ashanti society may be more appropriate. Emmanuel Eze raises three objections against Wiredu’s account of consensual (...) democracy. This paper seeks to respond to Eze’s objections and argue that consensual democracy may have more appeal than Eze is prepared to concede. (shrink)
Indoor air pollution resulting from the combustion of solid fuels has been identified as a major health threat in the developing world. This study examines how the choice of cooking fuel, place of cooking and behavioural risk factors affect respiratory health infections in Accra, Ghana. About 65·3% of respondents use charcoal and 4·2% use unprocessed wood. A total of 241 (25·4%) respondents who cook had had respiratory health symptoms in the two weeks preceding the study. Household socioeconomic status and educational (...) attainment of respondents were found to have a significant impact on respiratory health through their particular influence on the choice of cooking fuel. Households that use wood and charcoal have a high incidence of respiratory health symptoms. The poor are more affected by respiratory health problems due to their heavy dependence on solid fuels as compared with their wealthy counterparts. Households that cook in multiple purpose rooms are more affected by respiratory health problems than those that cook outdoors. There is a positive correlation between the presence of children in the kitchen during cooking and the incidence of respiratory health symptoms among children (r=0·31, p<0·0001). Poverty and lack of education and awareness are the major factors affecting the choice of cooking fuel, place of cooking and respiratory health in Accra. (shrink)