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Bodunrin, Peter Oluwambe. The Question of African Philosophy
1981, Philosophy. 56 (216): 161-179.
Added by: Sara Peppe and Björn Freter
Abstract:
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

Comment: The article is focused on the theme of African philosophy giving a clear picture of the difficulties in defining what is African philosophy. This paper does not treat the theme of African philosophy and African language, but it provides a base for the above-mentioned debate giving an account picture of African philosophy. The paper indicates that the philosopher Oruka found four trends in African philosophy: Ethno-philosophy, Philosophy sagacity, Nationalist-ideological philosophy and Professional philosophy. The author highlights that the nature of African philosophy is understood differently by the various contemporary African thinkers. And, the article deeply considers the effects of contact with Western populations. Thus, the article links the philosophical problem of defining philosophy in Africa with colonialism. Moreover, Bodunrin examines the four categories of African philosophy proposed by Oruka in the light of the four challenges Africa faces after entering in contact with Western countries.

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