Critique of Nkrumah’s Philosophical Materialism

Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya 7 (1):1-30 (2015)
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Abstract

Kwame Nkrumah invokes the doctrine of emergentism in the hope of reconciling theism - a tenacious part of the African worldview - with materialism. However, in this article I seek to show that this reconciliation is not only ultimately unsuccessful, but is actually impossible. Towards this end, I identify weaknesses in what I call the six argumentative pillars of Nkrumah’s theory of emergentism (which he calls “philosophical materialism”), namely, his arguments regarding the origin of the cosmic material, the primary reality of matter, idealism, categorial convertibility, dialectic change, and the self-motion of matter. The article should provide not only alternative perspectives to Nkrumah’s metaphysics, but also highlight some broader metaphysical implications for both strong and weak emergentism.

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