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Gyekye, Kwame. An Essay on African Philosophical Thought. The Akan Conceptual Scheme
1987, Temple University Press
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Added by: Sara Peppe and Björn Freter
Publisher’s Note: In this sustained and nuanced attempt to define a genuinely African philosophy, Kwame Gyekye rejects the idea that an African philosophy consists simply of the work of Africans writing on philosophy. It must, Gyekye argues, arise from African thought itself, relate to the culture out of which it grows, and provide the possibility of a continuation of a philosophy linked to culture. Offering a philosophical clarification and interpretation of the concepts in the ontology, philosophical psychology, theology, and ethics of the Akan of Ghana, Gyekye argues that critical analyses of specific traditional African modes of thought are necessary to develop a distinctively African philosophy as well as cultural values in the modern world.

Comment: A classical work of modern African philosophy and, because of its analysis of the conceptual scheme, highly relevant for the context of African philosophy and language.

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Tangwa, Godfrey. Revisiting the Language Question in African Philosophy
2017, Adeshina Afolayan, Toyin Falola (eds.): The Palgrave Handbook of African Philosophy, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 129-140
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Abstract: One of the multiple effects of colonialism in Africa was the suppression and marginalization of African indigenous languages and the imposition and valorization of colonial languages which thus became the exclusive vectors of modern education, religious proselytization, and international communication and dialogue. After independence, this language situation led to a series of debates centered on what should be the appropriate language of pedagogy, scholarship, and artistic expression in Africa. Having successfully struggled against colonialism, should Africans continue using the colonially imposed foreign languages for their teaching, knowledge production, artistic and literary expression, to the continued detriment of the colonially marginalized indigenous languages? In this chapter, Tangwa revisits the language problematic in Africa from the vantage position of one who had actively participated in the language debates in the early 1990s. Tangwa briefly considers the purpose, functions, and uses of language in general, the relationship between language and culture, and the polar positions in the language debate in Africa. The chapter ends with a brief examination of the contemporary situation in the evolution of the language problem and makes a recommendation on what appears to be the only way forward.

Comment: An up-to-date, concise and solid overview of the language problem in African philosophy.

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Wiredu, Kwasi. The Need for Conceptual Decolonization in African Philosophy
1995, Kwasi Wiredu: Conceptual Decolonization in African Philosophy. Four Essays, selected and introduced by Olusegun Oladipo. Ibadan: Hope Publications, 22-32
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Abstract:

Wiredu argues for a conceptual decolonization. This means, "[o]n the negative side, avoiding or reversing through a critical conceptual self-awareness the unexamined assimilation in our thought (that is, in the thought of contemporary African philosophers) of the conceptual frameworks embedded in the foreign philosophical traditions that have had an impact on African life and thought. And, on the positive side, I mean exploiting as much as is judicious the resources of our own indigenous conceptual schemes in our philosophical meditations on even the most technical problems of contemporary philosophy. But I cite it first because the necessity for decolonization was brought upon us in the first place by the historical superimposition of foreign categories of thought on African thought systems through colonialism.« (Wiredu 1992, 22) »This superimposition has come through three principal avenues. The first one is the avenue of language.« (Wiredu 1992, 22) The second one is religion and the third one politics."

Comment: One of the many seminal papers by one of the most influential African philosophers of Decolonisation. It addresses, in Wiredu's words, the problem of "historical superimposition of foreign categories of thought on African thought systems through colonialism".

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