'Broad'and 'Strict'Distinctions Proposed by Claude Sumner Regarding Ethiopian and African Philosophy

In Claude Sumner & Samuel Wolde Yohannes (eds.), Perspectives in African Philosophy: An Anthology on. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Addis Ababa University. pp. 76-88 (2002)

Gail Presbey
University of Detroit Mercy
This paper will put forward to new audiences the core of Claude Sumner's thesis regarding philosophy in the "broad" and "narrow" senses, the former referring to wisdom and the sapiential tradition. It will look at Sumner's role in popularizing early Ethiopian texts in a project meant to debunk preconceptions that Africa has no written history of philosophy. Nevertheless Sumner does not limit himself to written texts in the Ethiopian tradition, but has branched out into collecting and analyzing the oral traditions as well. He has argued that the written texts of Zera Yacob are examples of "religious rationality" in some ways similar to Descartes' scientific rationality. He argues that proverbs possess "figurative logic," which while different than conceptual logic is still indeed logic. Both written and oral sources of Ethiopian philosophy stretch well beyond the last fifty years, Sumner asserts, and thus African philosophy becomes known as being older than Hountondji, Okolo and others have thought. The paper argues that Sumner's contributions to the growth of the field of African philosophy should not be overlooked.
Keywords Claude Sumner, S.J.  Ethiopian philosophy  Wisdom and philosophy  Definitions of philosophy  History of African philosophy
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on Amazon.com
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,599
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Classical Ethiopian Philosophy.Claude Sumner - 1985 - Commercial Print. Press.
The Significance of Zera Yacob's Philosophy.Claude Sumner - 1999 - Ultimate Reality and Meaning 22 (3):172-188.
The Philosophy of Man.Claude Sumner - 1973 - Central Print. Press.
Intrinsic/Extrinsic.I. L. Humberstone - 1996 - Synthese 108 (2):205-267.
The Life and Maxims of Ske̳nde̳s.Claude Sumner - 1981 - Printed for the Ministry of Culture and Sports by Commercial Printing Press.


Added to PP index

Total views

Recent downloads (6 months)

How can I increase my downloads?


Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes