This article is a response to Bernard Matolino’s criticisms against IfeanyiMenkiti’s elucidations on the normative notion of personhood in African philosophy. This article argues that Menkiti’s article is best understood to be ultimately focused on articulating the normative notion of personhood; so understood, Menkiti’s analysis eschews many of the objections made against it by Matolino. We show that the confusion lies in a general failure in African philosophy to distinguish three distinct senses of the notion (...) of a person. We further show how the referent ‘it’ as used to pick out infants by Menkiti, contrary to Matolino’s analysis that suggests that it is an instance of ‘mal-function’ may be charitably construed to be capturing the idea that infants have moral status and/or that they are morally neutral. A defense of Menkiti’s idea of personhood is crucial in a search for a robust African perfectionist ethics. Keywords: ‘It’, Moral agency, Moral Perfectionism, Moral status, Personhood. (shrink)
This article is a response to Bernard Matolino’s criticisms against IfeanyiMenkiti’s elucidations on the normative notion of personhood in African philosophy. This article argues that Menkiti’s article is best understood to be ultimately focused on articulating the normative notion of personhood; so understood, Menkiti’s analysis eschews many of the objections made against it by Matolino. We show that the confusion lies in a general failure in African philosophy to distinguish three distinct senses of the notion (...) of a person. We further show how the referent ‘it’ as used to pick out infants by Menkiti, contrary to Matolino’s analysis that suggests that it is an instance of ‘mal-function’ may be charitably construed to be capturing the idea that infants have moral status and/or that they are morally neutral. A defense of Menkiti’s idea of personhood is crucial in a search for a robust African perfectionist ethics. (shrink)
In this paper I explore some ways in which Africa can contribute to the discourse on global justice. I first note the wide range in the circumstances in which judgements of justice continue to be made—from the domestic to the local and national, and from the national to the international. I conclude the paper with a look at the international human rights situation, suggesting areas where African wisdom and criteriology can be brought to bear on discussions of global justice. In (...) doing this, I call attention to John Rawls’s important distinction between a people and the state which the people call their own. The state does not constitute the people, but the people may constitute a state. (shrink)
Over the past four decades, I have been asked many questions regarding the substance and methodology of my essay “Person and Community in African Thought”. I cannot in the space of these pages retrieve or reframe the content and implications of these several questions and it would be fool-hardy to attempt an answer to all of them here. But that is no reason not to try to say a few things, by way of additional commentary, on the occasion of this (...) retrospective on the essay. It would be helpful to proceed by concentrating on a few issues which have been of some concern, or interest, to readers over the years, adding a response, however brief, as I go along. Keywords: Community, Personhood, Descriptive Metaphysics Africa Philosophy Human Person. (shrink)
This volume of newly commissioned essays provides comprehensive coverage of African philosophy, ranging across disciplines and throughout the ages. Offers a distinctive historical treatment of African philosophy. Covers all the main branches of philosophy as addressed in the African tradition. Includes accounts of pre-colonial African philosophy and contemporary political thought.
IfeanyiMenkiti’s “Person and Community in African Traditional Thought” is criticized from the standpoint that the author assumes a dichotomous framework taken over in his decision to articulate the African view of the person in the idiom of modern philosophy. Kwame Gyekye’s critique of Menkiti in “Person and Community in Akan Thought” is also scrutinized to see if it manages to break free from this framework. I conclude by calling for a departure from quasi-scientific approaches to human (...) nature and experience that attempt to apprehend culture from a position without culture. (shrink)
Menkiti’s Moral Man provides an original interpretation of IfeanyiMenkiti’s conception of person, and one that carries significant implications for his metaphysics and moral philosophy. It offers fresh insights on moral agency, moral status, and justice as well as the ontology of living and post-mortem persons in community.
IfeanyiMenkiti’s “Person and Community in African Traditional Thought” is criticized from the standpoint that the author assumes a dichotomous framework taken over in his decision to articulate the African view of the person in the idiom of modern philosophy. Kwame Gyekye’s critique of Menkiti in “Person and Community in African Thought” is also scrutinized to see if it manages to break free from this framework. I conclude by calling for a departure from quasi-scientificapproaches to human nature (...) and experience that attempt to apprehend culture from a position without culture. (shrink)
Dennis Masaka argues that individuals have rights outside those conferred by the community. The argument is a critique to IfeanyiMenkiti’s view of personhood. He argues that Menkiti uses the word person and personhood as synonymous. Masaka makes a distinction between the two, where person is an ontological concept, and personhood is a normative concept. For Masaka, individuals have rights by virtue of being persons and not personhood. My approach to the paper is therapeutic. I argue that (...) Masaka misinterprets Menkiti’s views. I argue that Menkiti does not allocate rights in his idea of personhood and as something conferred by the community as proposed by Masaka. This implies that Masaka’s view is not radically different from Menkiti’s. (shrink)
What is the status and nature of the “it” and the ontological progression from an “it” to an “it” in IfeanyiMenkiti’s normative conception of a person? In this article, I attempt to preliminarily give some nuance content to the “it” of childhood and the “it” of the nameless dead. My motivation is straightforwardly simple: to defend Menkiti’s claim that both “its” have some depersonalised moral standing or existence. However, in doing so, I argue that a better (...) account of the ontological progression of personhood is from an “it” to an “it-it” 1 rather than from an “it” to an “it.” On this modified version of the double hyphenated “its”, which is underpinned by the idea of moral force, the prior moral worth of the nameless dead is taken into account as valuable members of our collective immortality, notwithstanding the fact that their names have been forgotten. Keywords: African Philosophy, Collective Immortality, Menkiti, It, It-it, Moral Force, Nameless Dead, Personhood. (shrink)
This essay provides an exposition and a plausible interpretation of IfeanyiMenkiti’s conception of personhood vis-a-vis this community. I do this, partly, to rebut some specific criticisms by Kwame Gyekye and Bernard Matolino. They construe Menkiti’s account, primarily, as a metaphysical thesis about the community that provides the essential ontological basis for the nature of personhood. They argue that this view of communitarianism is radical or extreme because the community diminishes individuality and prioritizes community’s interests over individuals’ (...) interests, freedom, and rights. I argue that Gyekye’s and Matolino’s interpretations of Menkiti’s view are mistaken, and that Menkiti’s account of the connection between the community and personhood is a social-moral thesis. This thesis argues that the community provides the norms and material conditions for individuals to live a meaningful life and achieve personhood, and achieving personhood involves being integrated into, and contributing positively to the harmony of, the community. Keywords: Menkiti, Gyekye, Matolino, Personhood, Community, Moderate Communitarianism, Radical Communitarianism. (shrink)
This essay provides an exposition and a plausible interpretation of IfeanyiMenkiti’s conception of personhood vis-a-vis this community. I do this, partly, to rebut some specific criticisms by Kwame Gyekye and Bernard Matolino. They construe Menkiti’s account, primarily, as a metaphysical thesis about the community that provides the essential ontological basis for the nature of personhood. They argue that this view of communitarianism is radical or extreme because the community diminishes individuality and prioritizes community’s interests over individuals’ (...) interests, freedom, and rights. I argue that Gyekye’s and Matolino’s interpretations of Menkiti’s view are mistaken, and that Menkiti’s account of the connection between the community and personhood is a social-moral thesis. This thesis argues that the community provides the norms and material conditions for individuals to live a meaningful life and achieve personhood, and achievingpersonhood involves being integrated into, and contributing positively to the harmony of, the community. (shrink)
For four decades IfeanyiMenkiti has addressed the question of which sort of community constitutes personhood from a characteristically African perspective. In this chapter, I critically discuss the conceptions of how one acquires personhood through community that Menkiti has advanced, in search of the one that would most enable him to avoid prominent moral objections made to his views over the years. In particular, his account of personhood has been criticized for insufficiently accommodating individual difference, most recently (...) in respect of gender and sexuality. I draw on the resources in Menkiti’s work for rebutting this line of criticism, but contend that, even if he can avoid that one, another, new objection looms large: because of Menkiti’s claim that reciprocity is central to community, he is committed to the view that human infants and mentally incapacitated adults lack moral standing, in the way he explicitly believes animals lack it. After showing that, according to Menkiti’s strongest conception of personhood, one counterintuitively cannot acquire it in the course of interacting with any non-persons, I articulate an alternative conception of how to understand the role of community in acquiring personhood that avoids this problem as well as the other ones discussed. (shrink)
What is the status and nature of the “it” and the ontological progression from an “it” to an “it” in IfeanyiMenkiti’s normative conception of a person? In this article, I attempt to preliminarily give some nuance content to the “it” of childhood and the “it” of the nameless dead. My motivation is straightforwardly simple: to defend Menkiti’s claim that both “its” have some depersonalised moral standing or existence. However, in doing so, I argue that a better (...) account of the ontological progression of personhood is from an “it” to an “it-it”5 rather than from an “it” to an “it.” On this modified version of the double hyphenated “its”, which isunderpinned by the idea of moral force, the prior moral worth of the nameless dead is taken into account as valuable members of our collective immortality, notwithstanding the fact that their names have been forgotten. (shrink)
In Menkiti’s Moral Man, Oritsegbubemi Oyowe aims to provide a sympathetic interpretation of the works of IfeanyiMenkiti as they address personhood, community, and other facets of morality. In my contribution I would maintain that, while Oyowe’s Menkiti is more plausible than the way Menkiti has often been read, there are still respects in which the account of personhood advanced invites criticism. One criticism that I would articulate is that it is implausible to think that (...) personhood, qua human excellence or moral virtue, is constituted by others recognizing one as a person. Instead, if community constitutes one’s personhood in some way, it is by virtue not of others recognizing one, but (roughly) of one acting for the sake of others. A second criticism I would advance is that there are some dimensions of personhood that are not constituted by the community or other-regarding action at all. In particular, I would argue that there are self-regarding virtues that plausibly exist, including courage, temperance, and self-love, that are not well captured by any sensible understanding of the view that community constitutes personhood. Part of what it is to be a complete or full person is to relate to oneself in certain ways, such that personhood, while admittedly social, is not as social as Oyowe’s Menkiti believes. (shrink)
“I am because we are, and since we are, therefore I am”, generally regarded as the guiding principle of African humanism, expresses the view that a person is a person through other persons and is closely associated but not identical with African communitarianism, or communalism. Against IfeanyiMenkiti’s “unrestricted or radical or excessive communitarianism” Kwame Gyekye has proposed a “restricted or moderate communitarianism”. Whereas personhood, for Menkiti, is acquired over time, with increasing moral maturation, seniority and agency, (...) Gyekye considers it to arise automatically with being born human. The problem with Menkiti’s account of personhood is that it is at once too wide and too narrow. On the other hand, it remains unclear to what extent Gyekye’s is a communitarian view – and to what extent it is distinctly ‘African’. I conclude with a critical reflection on the implications of African communalism and personhood for non-human animals. Keywords: IfeanyiMenkiti, Kwame Gyekye, African Communitarianism, Non-Human Animals, Personhood. (shrink)
This essay deals with the ideas of IfeanyiMenkiti and Kwame Gyekye on the individual-community relationship. I begin with a provocative statement: most African intellectuals struggle with abandoning Westernity and consequently remain at the Eshuean crossroads seeking to please both sides of the abyss. It is my argument that both Menkiti and Gyekye understood that teasing out our philosophical problems might lead us to an intellectual clarity about the concepts of community and individual in African cultures. I (...) am making no attempt to solve this problem of Eshuean crossroads in this essay; I simply want to establish the grounds upon which the combatants of philosophical ideas like Menkiti and Gyekye are fighting. Keywords: Westernity, IfeanyiMenkiti, Kwame Gyekye, Eshuean Crossroads, Africa. (shrink)
The ongoing debate among African philosophers on the relation of the individual and the community has spawned radical, moderate, and limited communitarian views. In this paper we will insert the question of interpersonal communication into the individual-community conundrum and raise the discourse to the level of cross-cultural engagement. We will highlight the dominant perspectives in Afro-communitarianism with particular emphasis on the Ghanaian philosopher Kwame Gyekye and the Nigerian philosopher IfeanyiMenkiti. Expanding the discourse into the domain of intercultural/comparative (...) philosophy, this paper will engage Gyekye and Menkiti’s Afro-communitarianism and Jean-Paul Sartre’s radical individualism and the resulting conflictual presentation of interpersonal relation. The paper adopts the conversational method. Keywords: IfeanyiMenkiti, Kwame Gyekye, Afro-communitarianism, community, individual, Jean-Paul Sartre. (shrink)
We notice a number of interesting overlaps between the views on personhood of IfeanyiMenkiti and Marya Schechtman. Both philosophers distance their views from the individualistic ones standard in western thought and foreground the importance of extrinsic or relational features to personhood. For Menkiti, it is ‘the community which defines the person as person’; for Schechtman, being a person is to have a place in person-space, which involves being seen as a person by others. But there are (...) also striking differences. Schechtman sees this aspect as expanding the scope of personhood to infants and those who are severely mentally disabled. Menkiti thinks that there is a line to be drawn at some point between those humans that are persons and those who are not. We consider the cases offered in questioning how the dispute between the two views should be resolved. (shrink)
I argue that individual autonomy and rights can be defended but only in African or qualified version of communitarianism. I posit that there are two possible versions of communitarianism: the qualified or the African and the unqualified or the version discussed mostly by Western scholars. I show that IfeanyiMenkiti, Kwame Gyekye, Michael Eze and Bernard Matolino have formulated communitarian theories of right in African philosophy. I explain that while Menkiti and Gyekye erroneously employed the unqualified version (...) in their proposals, Eze and Matolino who employed the qualified version failed to ground it in a non-Western or African logic. I argue that while the Western or Aristotelian logic grounds the unqualified version making it difficult to defend autonomy and rights within it, an African logic can be used to ground a qualified version of communitarianism in order to bring out an important African cultural value such as complementarity which affirms the identity of the individual first, so as to justify other communal values such as solidarity and common good, etc. I therefore contend that the qualified version is the correct specimen for analysing the individual-community relationship in African philosophy in which autonomy and rights can be defended. Keywords: individual autonomy, rights, African philosophy, Afro-communitarianism, Menkiti, Gyekye, Eze, Matolino. (shrink)
The communitarian conception of person is a widely accepted view in African thought. Kwame Gyekye thinks there is a distinction between what he calls radical communitarianism and his own version of moderate communitarianism. He is of the view that radical communitarianism is faced with insurmountable problems and ought to be jettisoned in favour of his moderate communitarianism. Gyekye’s strategy is twofold; he firstly seeks to show the shortcomings of radical communitarianism – particularly by attacking IfeanyiMenkiti’s position. Secondly, (...) he seeks to show the authenticity of his version as well as its serious regard for individual rights as representing a triumph over radical communitarianism. In this paper, I seek to contest both of Gyekye’s strategies. (shrink)
Theories regarding the nature and achievement of personhood in a communitarian context appear to differ in significant respects in the writings of several contemporary African philosophers. IfeanyiMenkiti seems to regard ethnic differences as sufficient to warrant a national accommodation of multiculturalism with respect to moralities and attendant beliefs. Kwasi Wiredu argues that there is a substantive universal moral principle that undercuts such apparent and relatively superficial diversity. Communitarianism also seems to provide a better framework for explaining how (...) a human being becomes a person than classical liberal theory as enunciated by someone like John Rawls. (shrink)
This paper explores the relationship between the African communitarian conception of personhood and gender. Defenders of this conception of personhood generally hold that an individual is defined in reference to the community, or that personhood is something that is acquired in community. Such characterisations often ignore the role, if any, that gender plays in that conception of personhood. Our aim in this paper is to critically explore the relationship between the two. In doing this we advance a number of claims. (...) First, we point out that the supposed gender-neutrality of the African communitarian idea of personhood is a more general feature of African philosophy that, for instance, evinces a general lack of attention to issues of gender violence and discrimination. Second, we briefly survey the literature on the communitarian idea of personhood in African thought, in particular the views of IfeanyiMenkiti and Kwasi Wiredu. Our aim is to demonstrate our hypothesis that this idea of personhood is often construed as a gender-neutral concept. Third, we argue that the relational and community-based nature of the communitarian idea of personhood indicates that it is in fact a gendered notion. We conclude that the assumed gender-neutrality is in conflict with the gendered nature of the communitarian idea of personhood. Fourth, we explore a probable objection to our claim that the communitarian idea of personhood is gendered and therefore vulnerable to gender inequality, by examining Ifi Amadiume’s position that the notion of gender in traditional African cultures was fluid and indicated complementarity rather than inequality between the sexes. We argue that Amadiume’s case is not convincing. (shrink)
If contemporary African political philosophy is going to develop substantially in fresh directions, it probably will not be enough, say, to rehash the old personhood debate between Kwame Gyekye and IfeanyiMenkiti, or to nit-pick at Gyekye’s system, as much of the literature in the field has done. Instead, major advances are likely to emerge on the basis of new, principled interpretations of sub-Saharan moral thought. In recent work, I have fleshed out two types of moral theories that (...) have a clearly sub-Saharan basis, that differ from Gyekye’s moral perspective, and that also happen to constitute genuine rivals to dominant Western theories such as utilitarianism, Kantianism and contractualism. In catchwords, these African moral theories are constituted by ideals regarding community or friendliness, on the one hand, and vitality or liveliness, on the other. In this article I sketch these two under-explored ethical perspectives and then suggest several respects in which their implications for salient political controversies are novel and revealing. Sometimes the new African moral theories—and the community-based one in particular--entail different conclusions from Gyekye's position, while other times their conclusions are the same as Gyekye’s, but they provide different rationales for them that are more compelling than his. (shrink)
It is generally accepted that the normative idea of personhood is central to African moral thought, but what has not been done in the literature is to explicate its relationship to the Western idea of rights. In this article, I investigate this relationship between rights and an African normative conception of personhood. My aim, ultimately, is to give us a cursory sense why duties engendered by rights and those by the idea of personhood will tend to clash. To facilitate a (...) meaningful philosophical discussion, I locate this engagement in the context of a debate between IfeanyiMenkiti and Kwame Gyekye about the nature of Afro-communitarianism, whether it will ground rights as primary or secondary. I endorse Menkiti’s stance that duties are primary and rights secondary; and, I also problematize moderate communitarianism for taking a Western stance by employing a naturalist approach to rights. (shrink)
There has been significant work done in contemporary African philosophy on what it means to be a person. Moreover, there is significant consensus that a traditional African conception of person not only emphasises the social aspects but also entails that in political reasoning higher premium is placed on the duties individuals have to others and the community at large, as opposed to whatever rights they may have. In contrast, not much work has been done to unpack the precise relationship between (...) that conception of social person and the normativity of needs in political thought, although such a relationship is often assumed. I want to explore the idea of person behind the experience and practice of communalism in traditional African communities and by so doing suggest how the resulting understanding of person in traditional thought, particularly in the work of IfeanyiMenkiti and Kwasi Wiredu, might offer theoretical grounding for an African political philosophy that foregrounds needs. Beyond all these, however, I offer some perspective on the nature and normativity of needs. I finish off by suggesting how grounding needs in this traditional African idea of person provides us with ways of responding to some doubts about the normativity of needs in general. (shrink)
Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in religious conspiracy theories in Africa, ranging from outright denial, partial acceptance to spreading misinformation about the Coronavirus. This essay will argue that RCTs pose serious challenges to Covid-19 prevention by encouraging non-compliance to Covid-19 preventive measures and refusal to take Covid-19 vaccination. It will then formulate a personhood-based theory of right action. This new theory will be teased out of IfeanyiMenkiti's account of the normative (...) conception of personhood and deployed here as a veritable tool for overcoming the challenges posed by RCTs in the fight against the COVID-19 Pandemic in Africa. (shrink)
This book examines issues relating to Menkiti’s “Person and Community in African Traditional Thought,” which articulates an African notion of personhood. Contributors not only show that personhood is normative but also explore the implications this notion of personhood and citizenship holds for the nation-state in Africa.
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. (shrink)
The basic argument is that the consensus debate has not been very meaningful until now because consensus has not been closely studied as a concept, and deliberation has not been studied precisely in terms of the propensity to reach common agreement. In particular, deliberation—as well as issues for deliberation—has not been categorized into different levels with a view to exposing the varying challenges of reaching common agreement and the kinds of deliberative approaches entailed in each category. In this research, I (...) attempt to provide this categorization in order to clarify the debate.L’argument de base de cet article est que le débat consensuel n’a pas été une notion très significative jusqu’à présent parce que le consensus n’a pas été étudié de manière approfondie en tant que concept et que la délibération n’a pas été étudiée précisément en termes de sa propension à parvenir à un accord commun. En particulier, la délibération et les problèmes qui en découlent n’ont pas été classées en plusieurs niveaux afin d’exposer les différents défis qui se posent lorsque l’on tente de parvenir à un accord et les types d’approches délibératives impliquées dans chaque catégorie. La présente recherche propose une telle catégorisation dans le but de clarifier davantage le débat. (shrink)
Prevailing literature argues that arguing is the only appropriate mode of deliberation. The literature acknowledges bargaining, story telling, and other forms of communication, but is unwilling to describe these as deliberation, properly speaking. The claim is that describing them as such would amount to concept stretching. In this article I argue that arguing exhausts neither the legitimate modes of deliberation nor the modes for effective deliberation. To do this I delineate two basic categories of issues we normally deliberate upon, and (...) demonstrate that arguing is more appropriate for one category, not so appropriate for the other. (shrink)
Coblending of seismic attributes is used in the interpretation of channel geometries in the Rence Field of Niger Delta, Nigeria. We aimed at seismically defining the geometries of hydrocarbon reservoirs with particular emphasis on channels in the shallow marine Niger Delta. The coblending application enhanced the ease of detection and the continuity of the channels, leaving the channel environs unchanged. The result of the seismic facies analysis revealed that the Rence Field can be distinguished into two seismic facies, namely, layered (...) complexes and chaotic complexes. The result of well to seismic ties revealed high- and low-amplitude reflection events for sand and shale units, respectively. Seismic structural interpretation of the Rence Field revealed 4 major regional faults and 12 minor faults. Seven of the faults were antithetic, and the rest were synthetic faults. One mega-channel feature that trends east–west was identified in the attribute maps generated. It was characterized by sinuosity of 1.3, with a length of 22,500 m, and a distance of 17,500 m. The average depth of the channel was approximately 170 m with amplitude of 1670 m and the wavelength as high as 7640 m. A depositional model generated from the attribute maps indicated a prograding fluvial environment of deposition. The attribute map also determined that there was shifting in the location of barrier bars within the area. This shifting could be attributed to the growth fault mechanism. At the stoss side of the sinusoidal channel, there were prominent sand point bar sequences. The petrophysical analysis of the well data revealed 90% net-to-gross, 28% porosity, 27% volume of shale, and 24% water saturation indicating that the reservoir was of pay quality. Based on the petrophysical analysis, results, and identification of channel deposits, the study area proved highly promising for hydrocarbon exploration. (shrink)
In his plea for consensual democracy in Africa, Kwasi Wiredu recommends unanimity about what is to be done, not what ought to be done, or unanimity on action rather than unanimity of values, beliefs and opinion. I caution the use of this procedural instrument by showing that some issues are so value-laden that a group decision cannot be value-neutral. It may sometimes be more productive to entertain value differences to keep them from going underground and becoming dangerous. However, the ability (...) to locate some common interest or ground seems to be crucial for such value confrontation. (shrink)
Preoccupation with multiparty aggregative democracy in Africa has produced superficial forms of political/electoral choice-making by subjects that deepen pre-existing ethnic and primordial cleavages. This is because the principles of the multiparty system presuppose that decision-making through voting should be the result of a mere aggregation of pre-existing, fixed preferences. To this kind of decision-making, I propose deliberative democracy as a supplementary approach. My reason is that deliberation, beyond mere voting, should be central to decisionmaking and that, for a decision to (...) be legitimate, it must be preceded by deliberation, not merely the aggregation of pre-existing fixed preferences. I agree with arguments that when adequate justifications are made for claims/demands/conclusions, deliberation has the potential to have a salutary effect on people’s opinions, transform/evolve preferences, better inform judgments/voting, lead to increasingly ‘common good’ decisions, have moral educative power, place more burden of account-giving on public officers, and furnish subjects/losers/outvoted with justifications for collectively binding decisions. I argue that a deliberative turn in politics in Africa will have a mitigating effect on tribal and money politics. (shrink)
Critical thinking plays a role in African judgement. Here, factors that influence judgement are: culture, communalism, wisdom of elders, revelation from the gods, and observation. Factors that obstruct judgement include: colonialism, modernization, and new religions. However, thanks to Kant's critical philosophy, only objectively valid knowledge is actually knowledge in African traditional thought.
In most African cultures, there is a definite and clear quest for truth through a critical method. Truth is a key value. It has moral, philosophical and social significance. One can subject an interlocutor's statements to methodic doubt and questioning. However, in some African cultures, the human intellect alone is not capable of understanding certain truth data thereby permitting the practice of divination. Nevertheless, most African cultures distinguish opinion (doxa) from (alatheia); emphasis is on objectivity rather than subjectivity. The methods (...) of arriving at the truth by most African cultures correspond basically to the correspondence and pragmatic theories of truth. (shrink)
Epiphenomenalism has had a long historical tradition. It is the view that mental properties are causally inert with respect to the physical world. In this paper, I argue that this tradition faces enormous challenges and needs better arguments to defend its position, and to demonstrate this, I interrogate the strands including computationalism, the idea of the illusion of conscious will, and causal exclusionism.
This paper dwells on the debate on the question of what is/are responsible for African underdevelopment and, by extension, what will influence African development. The debate currently dwells on how much of development is human and how much is environmental, extraneous and beyond human control. Joseph Agbakoba thinks that development involves both nature and human agency, acknowledges the effect of nature, equally sees philosophy as a critique of worldview and ideology, and African philosophy as saddled with the critique of the (...) African worldview and ideology, which he sees as malfunctioning in the context of the modern African civic society imported from Europe and needs certain adjustments. In other words, he sees development in Africa as not beyond human control. J. Obi Oguejiofor attempts to refute Agbakoba’s claim that worldview has anything to do with the African predicament, and concludes that the African predicament is as a result of geography, biogeography and history, but his advancement of these factors as being solely responsible for the African predicament completely ignores the human agency in development and lands him in determinism raising the question of the very relevance of African philosophy to African development. Conceptual analysis informs the dominant method of the paper. (shrink)