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- Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Björn Freter
Abstract: It is the tradition of philosophy as a rational and critical human activity across borders to isolate specific human ideas both as syntax and as real and lived human experiences, bring them to the foreground, and make them occupy a crucial and specialized place in philosophical discourse. This is apparent in the many delimited branches of philosophy such as metaphysics – an inquiry into the fundamental principles underlying reality; epistemology – an inquiry concerning the nature, scope, and theories of human knowledge; axiology – an inquiry into the theories of human values; and philosophy of science – a critical examination of the nature, methods, and assumptions of science. African philosophy has thrived and flourished in the last six decades beginning as a reactionary scholarship to prior denial of the possibility of its existence, to becoming an established academic discipline. However, African philosophy although succeeding in establishing its general nature, themes, and problems, is still at the elementary stage of discussing specifics and delimiting its areas of inquiry into specialized fragments. Thus, beyond the general commentaries on African philosophy in existing literature, it is only recently that we find a few scholars writing and laying the groundwork on specialized themes in African philosophy such as African ethics, African epistemology, and African ontology. My goal in this chapter is to bring one essential human experience to the foreground in African philosophy as a specialized area of inquiry. The human experience that interests me here is the ubiquitous concept of difference and the peculiarities of its experience by Africans in Africa and beyond. My intention is to attempt a preliminary sketch of the meaning, nature, scope, and primary tasks of African philosophy of difference. I show, for instance, how African philosophy of difference can shift the discourse of difference from empirical manifestations of difference to an exploration of the theories that stands under such manifestations. I conclude that African philosophy of difference is crucial in understanding and dealing with the complex issues of identity, difference, and the other experienced in Africa in areas such as albinism, xenophobia, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, and politics. The possibility of such an inquiry also indicates the prospect of delimiting African philosophy to more specialized spheres of discourse.Export citation in BibTeX formatExport text citationView this text on PhilPapersExport citation in Reference Manager formatExport citation in EndNote formatExport citation in Zotero format
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- Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Clotilde Torregrossa
Abstract: In this paper I have attempted to open a window on an African approach to Bioethics – that of the Nso’ of the Bamenda Highlands of Kamerun – from the vantage position of someone who has familiarity with both African and Western cultures. Because of its scientific-cum-technological sophistication and its proselytising character, Western culture, as well as Western systems of thought and practice, have greatly affected and influenced other cultures, particularly African culture. But Western culture, systems of thought and practice, have been highly impervious and immune to influences from other cultures, philosophies, systems of thought and practice, even where these might have been salutary and enriching to Western culture and systems. What I have here termed Nso’ eco-bio-cummunitarianism clearly indicates a viable alternative world-view within which some of the bioethical perplexities and controversies of today might be more satisfactorily resolved than within a Western framework. I have further attempted to show, by way of example, how within such a world-view, abortion and suicide, for instance, would be disapproved of while euthanasia, in its etymological purity, is approved ofExport citation in BibTeX formatExport text citationView this text on PhilPapersExport citation in Reference Manager formatExport citation in EndNote formatExport citation in Zotero format
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- Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Jonathan Wolff
Abstract: For millennia, Africans have lived on the African continent, in close contact with the diversities of nature: floral, faunal and human; and in so doing they have developed cultures, values, attitudes and perspectives to the problems, ethical and otherwise, that have arisen from the existential pressures of their situation. The problem, however, is that such values and perspectives do not necessarily form coherent ethical theories. Theory-making is a second order activity requiring a certain amount of leisure and comfort which the existential conditions of life on the African continent have not easily permitted in the retrospect-able past. The elements of African bioethics are to be found in its cultural values, traditions, customs and practices. These are research-able, highlight-able and usable by those who would. The bioethical problems of our current global existential situation are such that all possible solutions, no matter their provenance, ought to be tried. Western culture has far too loud a voice combined with deaf ears in contemporary ethical discourse. But it should never be forgotten that other cultures have their own word to say and that alternative values, ways of thinking and practices exist, and attempt should always be made to bring these out and to highlight them, if they could possibly contribute to the satisfactory solution of a global problem. This book brings together various papers on bioethical issues and problems, written at different times, some previously published, each of which attempts to bring out some African elements, perspective or concern. The African narrative style predominates through these essays but their framing conforms, more or less, to the Western paradigm for presenting academic issues.
Comment: Could be used in ‘global bioethics’ classes.
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