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Beginning African Philosophy

The Case for African Philosophy- Past to Present

Elliott Wreh-Wilson

Beginning African Philosophy explores the nature and central features of African philosophy from the perspective of African philosophers, analyzing and assessing the importance of African philosophy, its subject matter, its major themes and concerns, and how those themes and concerns compare to those of Western philosophy. Beginning African Philosophy surveys the best-known responses to the questions: What is African philosophy? What are its central themes and concerns? What does it have in common with Western philosophy?
This book is ideal for philosophy students and those who care about the social, moral, religious, and philosophical implications of African wisdom traditions, particularly those of the sub-Saharan region.

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2 The Case against African Philosophy 27

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 2  the Case agaInst afrICan PhIlosoPhy This chapter addresses the problem of the relation between Western philosophy and African philosophy. The aim is two-fold: first to illuminate the challenges to African philosophy, especially the problem of identifying the method(s) by which African philosophers inquire about the subject matter of philosophy and second, to see whether African philosophy is critical enough to count as philosophy. To help students/readers follow the discussion, this chapter offers various accounts of the aims of philosophy, including what both Western and African philosophers have to say about this matter. The discussion questions at the end of the chapter provide opportunities for students/readers to determine the extent to which African philosophers may have failed or succeeded in developing a theory of African traditional beliefs that is critical enough to count as philosophy. What to look for: 1. An overview of African philosophy 2. Defining Philosophy: What Masolo, Searle, Wiredu and others say. 3. Discussion on the subject matter and methodology of African Philosophy 4. African philosophy: Is it philosophy or folk philosophy? interior_WrehWilson 27 1/30/12 9:43 PM 28 Beginning African Philosophy: The Case for African Philosophy Past to Present 2.1 Questions of Method and Content A big, if not the biggest, case against African philosophy comes from those who view critical thinking or rational reflection as the proper or sole method of phi- losophy. The case has been made in many different ways. But, overall, those who support it tend to be influenced by...

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