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African Philosophy

An Overview and a Critique of the Philosophical Significance of African Oral Literature

Victor Anoka

Philosophy as a discipline has not only been distinct and crucial but also consistent in the enduring search for practical solutions to human problems. This study discusses the role philosophical enquiries and postulations can play in the practical reconstruction of Africa. It identifies the continent’s peculiar and diverse challenges as arising mostly from effects of Western intervention in African history and argues for a restoration of the heritage immanent in Africa’s oral tradition. The author prefers an African philosophy rooted in a critical reappraisal and appropriation of Africa’s oral literature which not only possesses a treasure of philosophical ideas and principles but can also be employed in meeting the challenges confronting Africa and in sustaining development there. He, consequently, defends the theory of intracultural dialogue as the best possible option towards a practical reconstruction of Africa in an African manner. This dialogue can be initiated and sustained with the help of philosophical hermeneutics and through the method of ordinary-language philosophy. The intracultural dialogue is seen as the necessary foundation for a meaningful, productive, and realistic intercultural dialogue.

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Aberladus, P., 113 Abiola, F., 32 abstract thought, 42 – 43 Achebe, C., 20, 26, 27, 64, 178, 181 Afigbo, A., 70 African cultural values, 11, 18, 46, 80 – 81, 177, 180, 184 – 189, 190 – 193 cultures, 25 – 27, 32, 53, 80 – 81, 84, 177 – 179 customs/symbols/expressions, 84, 179, 199 intelligentsia, 15 oral literature, see Oral literature Philosopher, 26, 30 – 32, 39, 79, 174, 177, 179 philosophy, 25, 26, 27, 30 – 32, 73, 79 – 82; approaches in, 17, 83 – 109 traditions/traditional thought, 23, 27, 28, 52, 82, 85, 91 – 92, 100 – 101, 179, 180 – 181 world/continent, 14, 185, 186 Agovi, K., 48, 50 Amuta, C., 64 ancestor, 16, 51, 52, 187 Appiah, K. A., 13 Aristotle, 73, 86 Artist, see oral artists audience, 40 – 41 Austin, J. L., 98, 159, 160, 170 – 171 Ayer, A. J., 165 Bascom, W. R., 60 beliefs, 49 – 50, 62, 84 – 85, 88, 174 Bell, R. H., 45 – 47, 101 Berry, J., 66 Betti, E., 140 Bodunrin, P. O., 89, 101, 198 Carnap, R., 162 character, 27, 29 chi symbolism, 25 – 29 Christian, 25, 30, 178 Chukwukere, 25, 29 colonialism, 11, 31, 180, 200 concept of human person, 18, 190 – 195 contextualism, 13 – 14, 132, 136 cosmology, 25 – 26, 30, 193 Craig, E., 73, 77 culture traditional, 31 – 32 Western, 15, 32 Currents, 15, 17 critical-universalistic, 17, 101 – 109 critical-dialectical, 17, 102 – 103, 109 customs, 18, 84, 88 Darwin, C., 55 deity, 51 Derrida, J., 104 – 105 Descartes, R., 168 destiny, 27, 29, 30, 45, 48...

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