A Companion to African Philosophy by Kwasi Wiredu

By Kwasi Wiredu

This quantity of newly commissioned essays offers entire assurance of African philosophy, ranging throughout disciplines and in the course of the a while.

  • Offers a particular historic remedy of African philosophy.
  • Covers the entire major branches of philosophy as addressed within the African culture.
  • Includes bills of pre-colonial African philosophy and modern political thought.

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That Western input usually, though not always, came from the thought of Marx and Lenin. This combination was known as African socialism. Whether of a Marxist tendency or not, the African part of the intellectual construct always consisted of the construal of African communalism, of which mention was made above, as either an incipient or an idyllic 18 INTRODUCTION: AFRICAN PHILOSOPHY IN OUR TIME form of socialism. Those of a Marxist persuasion, such as Nkrumah and Sekou Toure, argued that the socialist potential of traditional African communalism could only be brought to fruition through an infusion of Marxist dialectics.

The question naturally arises as to what is the most suitable form of democracy for Africa. It is becoming increasingly clear that the multiparty system of politics that is currently being operated in Africa, though, of course, better than the accursed one-party dictatorships of a few years ago, does not necessarily ensure a suitable form of democracy. There are, therefore, currently, some attempts to think out possible alternative embodiments of democracy. It is being remembered that in many parts of traditional Africa, decision by consensus in the governing councils ensured a veritable democracy without any analogue of the present-day system of parties.

This is exactly what happened in the Western colonization of Africa. Accordingly, pointing out the lack of universality in certain modes of conceptualization in Western philosophy could be a first step in the clarification of an African mode of thought. Another step would, of course, still await being taken, and that is the comparative evaluation of both the African and the Western conceptions. Hallen and Sodipo (1997) have argued that the English word ‘‘know’’ does not translate unproblematically into Yoruba, since ‘‘mo,’’ the nearest Yoruba approximation, still requires eyewitness acquaintance.

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