This paper contrasts biomedical and epidemiological approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of disease, and uses Collingwoods principle of the relativity of causes to show how different approaches focus on different causal factors reflecting different interests. By distinguishing between the etiology of a disease and an epidemic, the paper argues that, from an epidemiological perspective, poverty is an important causal factor in the African AIDS epidemic and that emphasizing this should not be considered incompatible with recognizing the causal necessity of (...) HIV for the AIDS disease. (shrink)
A collection of historical and contemporary writings that chronicle the development of the African critical response to attempts to ascribe a peculiar nature to the African character, and the debate in contemporary African philosophy on issues such as magic, witchcraft, aesthetics, and morality. Other topics include contemporary thought in French speaking Africa, and African traditional thought and Western science. Each selection is preceded by a synopsis. No index. Annotation copyright by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR.
: It is argued here that part of the attraction of African music in the Atlantic Diaspora is its roots in an oral tradition in which agency is often more important than words. This makes it possible for the music to have a moral significance, not merely with respect to the verbal content of the words of songs but also with respect to the manner in which it is composed and performed. As such, a performance may be liberating, even when (...) the words used in the performance are not. By reinforcing elements of the oral tradition in a culture based on notational literacy, the music of the Black Atlantic exemplifies an alternative to ideals embodied in a technological culture. (shrink)
This paper reviews the argument by Peter Singer that speciesism, the exploitation of other species without regard for their interests, is as morally objectionable as racism and sexism. Objections to this argument by philosophers such as Peter Carruthers, Mary Midgley, and Cora Diamond as well as conventional wisdom about notions of species differences are presented and critically examined. I conclude that Alaine Locke would have supported Singer's expansion of the moral circle.
Samuel Imbo has written a short, concise introduction to some of the major issues addressed over the last century by scholars and activists concerned with African philosophy. The book is divided into five chapters, the first of which surveys answers to the question "What is African philosophy?". Because of a legacy of intellectual denigration that portrays Africans as incapable of abstract thought, this question is often the first raised by those outside the field. This legacy is reinforced by the assumption (...) that philosophy requires a tradition of written communication. Imbo addresses both of these sources of skepticism, delineating three senses of African philosophy: ethnological, universalist, and hermeneutical. (shrink)
This paper reviews the major approaches taken to African philosophy during the 20th century: etnophilosophical, universalist, and hermeneutical. It elaborates and evaluates criticisms of ethnophilosophy by universalists (Hountoundji, Wiredu, Appiah) and hermeneuticists (Serequeberhan) and proposes an orientation for African philosophy in the new millennium that incorporates a revised version of the ethnophilosophical program. This paper also elucidates the connection between ethnophilosophy in African philosophy and similar developments in African-American and feminist philosophy.
This paper is a critical review of Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We’re Afraid to Talk About It by Jon Entine. It critically assesses the evidence that blacks do in fact dominate sports and attempts to show that this is an overgeneralization that perpetuates racist stereotypes. The tendency for both blacks and whites to accept such views creates expectations and beliefs that channel efforts in directions which reinforce historical stereotypes and limit opportunities for blacks to a limited (...) range of activities and careers. Commitment to equal opportunity requires that evidence for racial differences in intellectual and athletic activities be subjected to a level of special scrutiny that Entine has failed to meet. (shrink)
The complex problems facing developing countries have often been attributed to the tendency of their people to maintain traditional beliefs and practices. Many contemporary philosophers have criticized traditional thought for failing to match the levels of efficiency and effectiveness achieved by modern science. However, other contemporary philosophers have suggested that modern science embodies tendencies that are as likely to exacerbate as relieve the problems of the developing world. I conclude that philosophers must be as wary of modern practices and beliefs (...) as they are of traditional practices and beliefs. Modernity rather than tradition is undoubtably a principal source of Africa's problems. Philosophers discussed include Kwame Gyekye, Robin Horton, Godwin Sogolo, Charles Taylor, Karl Popper, Joseph Rouse, Justen Habermas, and Segun Gbadegesun.. (shrink)
Abstract This paper reviews the connection claimed to exist between magic, witchcraft, and parapsychology. Special attention is given to issues raised by the late Prof. Peter Bodunrin of Nigeria, including the demand that knowledge gained by psychic means be grounded in beliefs justified by good reasons and convincing experimental evidence. In contrast, I argue for a more inclusive view of both knowledge and the scientific enterprise that recognizes the importance of non-experimental evidence and the influence of social trends on the (...) choice of research orientations. (shrink)
Using the work of Richard Wright and personal interviews to portray racial interactions in the Jim Crow South, I illustrate how law enforcement used racial and sexual assaults to maintain black subordination. Jim Crow racism constituted a caste system in which one’s race was determined, not primarily by how one looked, but by one’s ancestry. I review and reject Oliver Cox’s thesis that caste did not exist in the Jim Crow South, and cite continuing examples of physical and sexual assaults (...) against individuals based on racial, gender, and caste differences. (shrink)
In this article, I review some of the arguments presented by Louis Pojman in “The Case Against Affirmative Action,” and attempt to show that Pojman’s main objections only hold against the strawmen Pojman has erected to represent the case for affirmative action. Affirmative action was designed to correct for state-enforced restrictions against blacks, and has been extended to protect a number of other groups, including women. Its principal justification has been that these groups have in the past been the target (...) of group exclusions that were state sanctioned, and such patterns persist into the present. In this regard, the over-representation of Jews or Asians in academia is little more suspect than the over-representation of blacks in the NBA. (shrink)
For Charles Mills, the "Racial Contract" is a set of meta-agreements between whites to categorize nonwhites as subpersons of inferior moral and legal status relative to whites. This "contract" gives whites the right to exploit non-whites and deny them opportunities provided to whites. It portrays non-whites as designated to serve whites much as non-humans were designated by God to serve the benefit of humans. Mills argument helps make clear how, for most of the modern era, whites have had as little (...) obligation to recognize the rights of non-whites as they have had to recognize the rights of non-humans. (shrink)
Wonders of The African World , narrated and hosted by Henry Louis Gates, was presented in three installments on October 25, 26, and 27. When I realized that the series would begin at exactly the time I had scheduled an audition, I frantically made arrangements to have the segment taped so I could view it later.
This paper explores the continued reliance of the music of the Black Atlantic on oral rather than literate forms, and elaborates the thesis that African music in modern culture exemplifies an alternative to the culture of modern industrial society. A critical reappraisal of the work of Alaine Locke, Paul Gilroy, and John Dewey is used to extend our appreciation of pragmatism from its usual focus on science and technology to a more inclusive focus on art and the social value of (...) music. (shrink)