On Traditional African Consensual Rationality

Journal of Political Philosophy 22 (3):342-365 (2013)
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Wiredu’s call for democracy by consensus is illustrated by his description of traditional African consensual rationality. This description contains the attribution of immanence to African consensual rationality. This paper objects to this doctrine of immanence. More importantly, the doctrine of immanence has led to the attribution of pure rationality to traditional African consensual practices. With reference to Aristotle’s three components of persuasion, I object to deliberation as purely rational and impervious to extraneous factors. I further argue that it is because deliberation is not always perfectly rational that the process of consensus can suffer three forms of social conformity: conformity to dominant players, to numerical opinion majority, and to group-centrism. These forms of conformity mean that a consensus task order could lead to decisions of more inclusive value, but not necessarily decisions of more epistemic value. The concept of agonistic inquiry is employed to tackle what I see as the dangers of conformity and complacency in the project of inclusivity, and this is to strike a crucial balance between too-consensual and purely adversarial forms of deliberation.



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References found in this work

Inclusion and Democracy.Iris Marion Young - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Rhetoric. Aristotle & C. D. C. Reeve - 2018 - Hackett Publishing Company.
Cultural universals and particulars: an African perspective.Kwasi Wiredu - 1996 - Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Against Deliberation.Lynn Sanders - 1997 - Political Theory 25 (3):347-376.
Philosophy and an African culture.Kwasi Wiredu - 1980 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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