"African Religions and Philosophy" is a systematic study of the attitudes of mind and belief that have evolved in the many societies of Africa. In this second edition, Dr Mbiti has updated his material to include the involvement of women in religion, and the potential unity to be found in what was once thought to be a mass of quite separate religions. Mbiti adds a new dimension to the understanding of the history, thinking, and life throughout the African (...) continent. Religion is approached from an African point of view but is as accessible to readers who belong to non-African societies as it is to those who have grown up in African nations. Since its first publication, this book has become acknowledged as the standard work in the field of study, and it is essential reading for anyone concerned with African religion, history, philosophy, anthropology or general African studies. (shrink)
What can philosophy contribute to African culture? What can it draw from it? Could there be a truly African philosophy that goes beyond traditional folk thought? Kwasi Wiredu tries in these essays to define and demonstrate a role for contemporary African philosophers which is distinctive but by no means parochial. He shows how they can assimilate the advances of analytical philosophy and apply them to the general social and intellectual changes associated with 'modernisation' and the transition to (...) new national identities. But we see too how they can exploit traditional resources and test the assumptions of Western philosophy against the intimations of their own language and culture. The volume as a whole presents some of the best non-technical work of a distinguished African philosopher, of importance equally to professional philosophers and to those with a more general interest in contemporary African thought and culture. (shrink)
In this seminal exploration of the nature and future of African philosophy, Paulin J. Hountondji attacks a myth popularized by ethnophilosophers such as Placide Temples and Alexis Kagame that there is an indigenous, collective African philosophy, separate and distinct from the Western philosophical tradition. Hountondji contends that ideological manifestations of this view that stress the uniqueness of the African experience are protonationalist reactions against colonialism conducted, paradoxically, in the terms of colonialist discourse.
The question whether or not there is African philosophy has, for too long, dominated the philosophical scene in Africa, to the neglect of substantive issues generated by the very fact of human existence. This has unfortunately led to an impasse in the development of a distinctive African philosophical tradition. In this path-breaking book, Segun Gbadegesin offers a new and promising approach which recognizes the traditional and contemporary facets of African philosophy by exploring the issues they raise. In (...) Part I, the author examines, with refreshing insights, the philosophical concepts of the person, individuality, community and morality, religiosity and causality, focusing on the Yoruba of Nigeria. Part II discusses, in an original way, contemporary African social, political and economic realities from a philosophical perspective. (shrink)
Introduction: Philosophy-in-place -- Tradition in the periphery -- Questioning reason -- Wisdom is actually thought -- Culture and the problem of universality -- Listening to language -- Practicality : African philosophy's debts and duties -- Locating African philosophy.
One of the most debated issues in African philosophy concerns the question of ethnophilosophy. While most Particularists equate it to African philosophy, the Universalists reject it as philosophy let alone being African philosophy. The rationale behind the second position is that ethnophilosophy is said to be descriptive and lacks argumentation, criticality, rigor and systematicity, which are the hallmarks of philosophy. What these two views revolve around is the question of the place of ethnophilosophy in African philosophy. (...) Here, I focus on two scholars who have sought to address this question. The first is Ada Agada, who opines that ethnophilosophy plays a foundational role to African philosophy. The other is Aribiah Attoe, who sees this view as a myth that must be done away with. In this paper, I show two things: first, I show that these two conflicting views arose due to both scholars’ failure to clarify their ideas of what makes a philosophy African. Second, I converse with Attoe on his critique of the foundational role of ethnophilosophy as a myth. Here, I contend that Attoe’s view is a misreading of Agada’s views and that Attoe’s position that critical rigor instead of ethnophilosophy should be the foundation of African philosophy is unfounded. My argument is that criticality is just one among other tools of philosophy; and a tool of philosophy cannot be its foundation. Keywords: Agada, African Philosophy, Attoe, criticality, ethnophilosophy, Ezin’ulo Ontology. (shrink)
One of the most debated issues in African philosophy concerns the question of ethnophilosophy. While most Particularists equate it to African philosophy, theUniversalists reject it as philosophy let alone being African philosophy. The rationale behind the second position is that ethnophilosophy is said to be descriptive and lacks argumentation, criticality, rigor and systematicity, which are the hallmarks of philosophy. What these two views revolve around is the question of the place of ethnophilosophy in African philosophy. Here, (...) I focus on two scholars who have sought to address this question. The first is Ada Agada, who opines that ethnophilosophy plays a foundational role to African philosophy. The other is Aribiah Attoe, who sees this view as a myth that must be done away with. In this paper, I show two things: first, I show that these two conflicting views arose due to both scholars’ failure to clarify their ideas of what makes a philosophy African. Second, I converse with Attoe on his critique of the foundational role of ethnophilosophy as a myth. Here, I contend that Attoe’s view is a misreading of Agada’s views and that Attoe’s position that critical rigor instead of ethnophilosophy should be the foundation of African philosophy is unfounded. My argument is that criticality is just one among other tools of philosophy; and a tool of philosophy cannot be its foundation. (shrink)
In our age of globalization, we need a theory of global management consistent with our common human nature. The place to begin in developing such a theory is the philosophy of traditional cultures. The article focuses on African philosophy and its fruitfulness for contributing to a theory of management consistent with African traditional cultures. It also looks briefly at the Confucian and Platonic-Aristotelian traditions and notes points of agreement with African traditions. It concludes that the needed theory (...) of global management should regard the firm as a community, not a collection of individuals, and should understand the purpose of management as promoting the common good. (shrink)
Bringing together canonical philosophical texts from African, African-American, Afro-Caribbean, and Black European thinkers, this major new anthology is designed to serve both as a textbook and as the authoritative reference volume in Africana philosophical and cultural studies.
In this article, I attempt to bridge the gap between partiality and impartiality in moral philosophy from an oft-neglected African perspective. I draw a solution for this moral-theoretical impasse between partialists and impartialists from Kwasi Wiredu's, one of the most influential African philosophers, distinction between an ethic and ethics. I show how an ethic accommodates partiality and ethics impartiality. Wiredu's insight is that partialism is not concerned with strict moral issues. -/- .
The Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ibadan addresses the controversial question as to whether or not there is something distinctive which can be described as African philosophy. He goes beyond this and lays out a foundation for an emerging indigenous African philosophy. Based on his belief that a modern African philosophical tradition can be nourished within the context of African culture, history and experience, he conducts a philosophical analysis of the conceptual implications of major (...) issues, beliefs and thought systems that are particular to Africa. His thesis illustrates the need for a new orientation of thinking amongst African scholars, both those in search of an African philosophical tradition and those in search of a new order. (shrink)
In this paper, I consider how the discourse on global epistemic justice might be approached differently if some contributions from the African philosophical place are taken seriously. To be specific, I argue that the debate on global justice broadly has not been global. I cite as an example, the exclusion or marginalisation of African philosophy, what it has contributed and what it may yet contribute to the global epistemic edifice. I point out that this exclusion is a case (...) of epistemic injustice. I observe that the absence of a philosophical technique that prevails on philosophers to engage with others from other traditions might be responsible for this epistemic lopsidedness and marginalisation. I go beyond the re-statement of this problem of marginalisation of African philosophy to point out relevant doctrines from the African place. I show how they are united under the methodological and ideological disposition of conversationalism. I argue that this ideology might be a better model for realising the goal of global epistemic justice which is the overcoming of all forms of exclusions and lopsidedness in global epistemic discourses through fair allocation of intellectual spaces. (shrink)
This book explores the salient ethical idea of personhood in African philosophy. It is a philosophical exposition that pursues the ethical and political consequences of the normative idea of personhood as a robust or even foundational ethical category. Personhood refers to the moral achievements of the moral agent usually captured in terms of a virtuous character, which have consequences for both morality and politics. The aim is not to argue for the plausibility of the ethical and political consequences of (...) the idea of personhood. Rather, the book showcases some of the moral-political content and consequences of the account it presents. (shrink)
If contemporary African political philosophy is going to develop substantially in fresh directions, it probably will not be enough, say, to rehash the old personhood debate between Kwame Gyekye and Ifeanyi Menkiti, or to nit-pick at Gyekye’s system, as much of the literature in the field has done. Instead, major advances are likely to emerge on the basis of new, principled interpretations of sub-Saharan moral thought. In recent work, I have fleshed out two types of moral theories that have (...) a clearly sub-Saharan basis, that differ from Gyekye’s moral perspective, and that also happen to constitute genuine rivals to dominant Western theories such as utilitarianism, Kantianism and contractualism. In catchwords, these African moral theories are constituted by ideals regarding community or friendliness, on the one hand, and vitality or liveliness, on the other. In this article I sketch these two under-explored ethical perspectives and then suggest several respects in which their implications for salient political controversies are novel and revealing. Sometimes the new African moral theories—and the community-based one in particular--entail different conclusions from Gyekye's position, while other times their conclusions are the same as Gyekye’s, but they provide different rationales for them that are more compelling than his. (shrink)
For over two centuries, Western scholars have discussed African philosophy and culture, often in disparaging, condescending terms, and always from an alien European perspective. Many Africans now share this perspective, having been trained in the western, empirical tradition. Makinde argues that, particularly in view of the costs and failings of western style culture, Africans must now mold their own modern culture by blending useful western practices with valuable indigenous African elements. Specifically, Makinde demonstrates the potential for the development (...) of African philosophy and even African traditional medicine. Following the lead of a number of countries with government policies of incorporating indigenous medicine with orthodox Western medicine, Makinde argues that traditional African practices should be taken seriously, both medically and scientifically. Further, he charges African scholars with the responsibility of investigating these and other elements of traditional African culture in order to dispel their mystery and secrecy through modern research and useful publications. (shrink)
Philosophy in an African Place shifts the central question of African philosophy from "Is there an African philosophy?" to "What is it to do philosophy in this place?" This book both opens up new questions within the field and also establishes "philosophy-in-place", a mode of philosophy which begins from the places in which concepts have currency and shows how a truly creative philosophy can emerge from focusing on questioning, listening, and attention to difference.
African Philosophy is a collection of previously unpublished essays that address epistemological and metaphysical concerns that have emerged from the sub-Saharan regions of Africa. The primary focus of the book is on traditional African conceptions of mind, person, personal identity, truth, knowledge, understanding, objectivity, and reality. The collection also discusses traditional African conceptions of causation, destiny, and free will.
Hermeneutics is a crucial but neglected perspective in African philosophy. Here, Tsenay Serequeberhan engages post-colonial African literature and the ideas of the African liberation struggle with critically-used insights from the European philosophical tradition. Continuing the work of Theophilus Okere and Okonda Okolo, this book attempts to overcome the debate between ethnophilosophy and professional philosophy, demonstrating that the promise of African philosophy lies with the critical development of the African hermeneutical perspective.
In South Africa, the notion of an African Philosophy of Education emerged with the advent of post-apartheid education and the call for an educational philosophy that would reflect this renewal, a focus on Africa and its cultures, identities and values, and the new imperatives for education in a postcolonial and post-apartheid era. The idea of an African Philosophy of Education has been much debated in South Africa. Not only its content and purpose but also its very possibility have (...) been, and continue to be, the subject of understandably passionate exchanges. In this paper, after discussing some of the constitutive features of African Philosophy of Education, we indicate aspects with which we are sympathetic. Our central question is whether African Philosophy of Education is the revisioned, ‘typically African’ philosophy of education that it is claimed to be. We argue that it has revealed certain tendencies that are remarkably similar to characteristics of Fundamental Pedagogics, the repressive doctrine complicit in apartheid education that it claims to replace. More substantially still, African Philosophy of Education, by labeling itself uniquely and distinctly ‘African’, runs the risk of insulating itself not only from interaction with the wider world but also from any critical interrogation. (shrink)
Le;opold Se;dar Senghor (1906–2001) was a Senegalese poet and philosopher who in 1960 also became the first president of the Republic of Senegal. In African Art as Philosophy , Souleymane Bachir Diagne takes a unique approach to reading Senghor’s influential works, taking as the starting point for his analysis Henri Bergson’s idea that in order to understand philosophers one must find the initial intuition from which every aspect of their work develops. In the case of Senghor, Diagne argues that (...) his primordial intuition is that African art is a philosophy. _ To further this point, Diagne looks at what Senghor called the “1889 Revolution,” and the influential writers and publications of that time—specifically, Nietzsche and Rimbaud, as well as Bergson’s Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness. The 1889 Revolution, Senghor claims, is what led him to the understanding of the “Vitalism” at the core of African religions and beliefs that found expression in the arts. _ This book offers a distinct, incisive look at an important figure in African literature and politics that will be welcomed by scholars in African Studies and philosophy. (shrink)
The liberation of Africa and its peoples from centuries of racially discriminatory colonial rule and domination has far-reaching implications for educational thought and practice. The transformation of educational discourse in Africa requires a philosophical framework that respects diversity, acknowledges lived experience and challenges the hegemony of Western forms of universal knowledge. In this article I reflect critically on whether African philosophy, as a system of African knowledge(s), can provide a useful philosophical framework for the construction of empowering knowledge (...) that will enable communities in Africa to participate in their own educational development. (shrink)
In this article, I offer concrete suggestions about which topics, texts, positions, arguments and authors from the African philosophical tradition one could usefully put into conversation with ones from the Western, especially the Anglo-American. In particular, I focus on materials that would make for revealing and productive contrasts between the two traditions. My aim is not to argue that one should teach by creating critical dialogue between African and Western philosophers, but rather is to provide strategic advice, supposing (...) that is a sensible goal to adopt. (shrink)
I critically discuss contemporary work in African, i.e., sub-Saharan, political philosophy that has been written in English. I begin by providing an overview of the profession and discussing the aptness of focusing on African political philosophy as a distinct topic. Next, I highlight discussions that should be of interest to a political philosopher working anywhere in the world, focusing on ideas characteristic of the sub-Saharan region that are under-appreciated not merely for the purpose of comparative ethics, but also (...) for substantive ethical argumentation. In particular, I take up fascinating and underexplored approaches to political power, civil liberties and economic goods that are characteristic of this tradition. (shrink)
"African philosophy," when conceived of as ethnophilosophy, is based on the idea that all thought is social, culture-bound, or based in natural language. But ethnophilosophy, whatever its sociological status, makes no contribution to philosophy, which is necessarily invulnerable to the sociological thesis. The sociological thesis must be limited in application to its own proper domain. The conflation of sociological and philosophical discourse arises from the fallacy of misplaced concreteness. This fallacy is responsible, among other things, for the sociological misinterpretation (...) of Wittgenstein. African philosophy, to be thought philosophical, must conceive of itself as addressing universal problems instead of pursuing intellectual apartheid. (shrink)
Philosophy in Africa has for more than a decade now been dominated by the discussion of one compound question, namely, is there an African philosophy, and if there is, what is it? The first part of the question has generally been unhesitatingly answered in the affirmative. Dispute has been primarily over the second part of the question as various specimens of African philosophy presented do not seem to pass muster. Those of us who refuse to accept certain specimens (...) as philosophy have generally been rather illogically said also to deny an affirmative answer to the first part of the question. In a paper presented at the International Symposium in Memory of Dr William Amo, the Ghanaian philosopher who taught in German universities in the early part of the eighteenth century, Professor Odera Oruka identified four trends, perhaps more appropriately approaches, in current African philosophy. (shrink)
Philosophy is often labelled the ‘Queen of the Sciences’, meaning that it not merely gave birth to most other disciplines, but also has continued to influence their course. This chapter proceeds on these assumptions as well as the idea that post-independence, academic African philosophy ought to shape the development of other disciplines. It addresses the clusters of Law/Politics, Business/Management, Economics/Development Studies, Sociology/Anthropology, Psychology/Medicine, Education, Religious Studies/Theology, and Ecology, pointing out how these fields have been enriched by engaging with ideas (...) salient in the African philosophical tradition, and making suggestions about additional ways in which it promises to be revealing with respect to them. (shrink)
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.
Divided into eight sections, each with introductory essays, the selections offer rich and detailed insights into a diverse multinational philosophical landscape. Revealed in this pathbreaking work is the way in which traditional philosophical issues related to ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology, for instance, take on specific forms in Africa's postcolonial struggles. Much of its moral, political, and social philosophy is concerned with the turbulent processes of embracing modern identities while protecting ancient cultures.
In this accessible book, Barry Hallen discusses the major ideas, figures, and schools of thought in African philosophy. While drawing out critical issues in the formation of African philosophy, Hallen focuses on the recent scholarship, current issues, and relevant debates that have made African philosophy an important key to understanding the rich and complex cultural heritage of Africa. Hallen builds upon Africa's connections with Western philosophical traditions and explores African contributions to cultural universalism, cultural relativism, phenomenology, (...) hermeneutics, and Marxism. Hallen also examines African challenges to Western conceptions of philosophy by taking on questions such as whether philosophy can exist in cultures that are significantly based in oral traditions and what may or may not constitute philosophical texts. Among the figures whose work is discussed are Ptah-hotep, Zar'a Ya'aqob, Anton Wilhelm Amo, Paulin Hountondji, V. Y. Mudimbe, Oyeronke Oyewumi, Kwame Anthony Appiah, and Kwasi Wiredu. This clearly written, highly readable, and concise work will be essential for students and scholars of African philosophy as well as readers with a wide range of interests in African studies. (shrink)
Concept of African social and political philosophy -- Faces of African freedom -- African socialism and Nyerere -- African personality : a social portrait -- Negritude : a philosophy of social action -- African tribalism : social and political implications -- Apartheid and African social experience -- The African and neo-colonial predicament -- Social self in African philosophy -- Crisis of common good and political instability -- Pan-Africanism as a concept and social (...) philosophy -- African philosophy and social reconstruction. (shrink)
An article by F. Ochieng'-Odhiambo asserted that Prof. H. Odera Oruka's work on "philosophic sagacity" in Kenya could be divided into three periods, beginning with an early period denouncing ethnophilosophy and ending with a later period which embraced and engaged in ethnophilosophy. This article says that such a characterization is inaccurate, because Odera Oruka continued to distinguish sage philosophy from ethnophilosophy in several key ways, even in his later work. While pointing out Odera Oruka's changing positions is a service to (...) scholars, Ochieng'-Odhiambo implicitly champions the early work at the expense of the latter. This article argues that folk sages were added to the later stages of the sage philosophy project with good reason, and that the project as it developed provided insights on ethical and socio-political issues as well as identity issues facing Kenyans. (shrink)