Jonathan O Chimakonam
University of Pretoria
When we talk of African philosophy as a different philosophical tradition we do not wish to suggest that it studies different range of realities from those that concern the other philosophical traditions. What we demonstrate is the difference that arises in approach or method naturally informed by the resident logic. Thus in African philosophy we study ultimate reality of which being is at the center. What being and even nothingness mean for us is not the same with what they mean in other traditions. Unity: we sometimes say that being is one single whole without wishing to say that this view is monistic. In this light we hold that being is complete with both physical and spiritual aspects. Duality: we also share the view on the duality in nature without insisting that this is strict and permanent. Duality for Africans is essentially a point of inferential departure not a terminal point. The dual arrangement of things in nature is to necessarily lead to a tripartite conception. Triadic conception: this is the terminal point of all inferences in African thought. Yes, there is duality in nature but they exist as fragments and contraries i.e. incomplete in themselves but capable of coming together to form a whole. Obtaining this fusion of contrary fragments represents an inference from duality to triadic conception of reality. What this African conception is all about is not that being is tripartite or dual but that the coming together of two aspects of being is necessary for the formation of being.
Keywords African philosophy  philosophical tradition  being
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