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Emergent Issues in African Philosophy: A Dialogue with Kwasi Wiredu

Eze, Michael Onyebuchi and Metz, Thaddeus (2016) Emergent Issues in African Philosophy: A Dialogue with Kwasi Wiredu. Philosophia Africana, 17 (2). pp. 75-87. ISSN 1539-8250

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These are major excerpts from an interview that was conducted with Professor Wiredu at Rhodes University during the thirteenth Annual Conference of The International Society for African Philosophy and Studies (April 3, 2007). He speaks on a wide range of issues, such as political and personal identity, racism and tribalism, moral foundations, the golden rule, African communalism, human rights, personhood, consensus, and meta-philosophy, among other critical themes. We are also offered what may be considered Wiredu’s definition of what constitutes “African Philosophy.” For Wiredu, African philosophy ought not necessarily be put in contrast to Western philosophy. African philosophy must be understood within the context of its emergence with its associative socio-cultural and political milieu. Philosophy has no borders, by which he encourages a wide breadth of investigation into different intellectual traditions and an openness to learn from other traditions. He emphasized, however, that there are basic human questions concerning a people that can only be answered by embedded knowledge within their indigenous thought systems. It is reductionist to conceive of African philosophy as merely “ethnophilosophy” because the body of knowledge of what constitutes African philosophy is a critical investigation that negotiates between a series of intellectual traditions evolving from Africa, including those discarded as mere myths and those considered as products of modernity. The authority of African philosophy is the ability to create meaning for a culturally differentiated society, meanings that are not anachronistic but relevant to the sociopolitical and economic condition of the people. African philosophy does indeed have critical resources in dealing with the challenges of democratization, party politics, and nation-building in Africa. With regards to moral judgment, Wiredu’s leitmotif is the golden rule—a procedural standard to judge what action is right or wrong that is an invitation to a subjective empathy. Here Wiredu argues for a subjective reciprocity when it comes to norms and other certain conventions, and he interestingly sides with Menkiti in the famous Gyekye versus Menkiti debate.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Law, Arts and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Mrs Patricia Nwokealisi
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2016 09:37
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2016 09:37

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