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A Companion to African Philosophy

A Companion to African Philosophy

Kwasi Wiredu (Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-470-99737-6

Apr 2008, Wiley-Blackwell

608 pages



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.
Part I: Introduction:.

African Philosophy In Our Time.

Part II. History:.

1. Egypt: The Ancient History Of African Philosophy: Theophile Obenga, San Francisco State University.

2. African Philosophers In The Greco-Roman Era: D. A. Masolo, University Of Louisville, Kentucky.

3. Pre-Colonial African Philosophy In Arabic: Souleymane Bachir Diagne, University Of Dakar And Northwestern University, Chicago.

4. Some Nineteenth Century African Political Thinkers: Pieter Boele Van Hensbroek, University Of Groningen, The Netherlands.

5. Africana Philosophy: Origins And Prospects: Lucius Outlaw, Vanderbilt.

6. Contemporary Anglophone African Philosophy: A Survey: Barry Hallen, Harvard And Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia.

7. Philosophy In South Africa Under And After Apartheid: Percy More, University Of Durban-Westville, South Africa.

8. Philosophy In North Africa: Mourad Wahba, Ain Shams University, Cairo.

9. The Light And The Shadow: Zera Yacob And Walda Heywat: Two Ethiopian Philosophers Of The 17th Century:.

Claude Sumner, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia.

10. Zara Yacob And Traditional Ethiopian Philosophy: Teodros Kiros, Dubois Institute, Harvard.

11. Wilhelm Anton Amo: 1703-1758: W. E. Abraham, University Of California, Santa Cruz.

12. Amo’s Critique Of Descartes’ Philosophy Of Mind: Kwasi Wiredu, University Of South Florida, Tampa.

13. Albert Luthuli, Steve Biko And Nelson Mandela: The Philosophical Basis Of Their Thought And Practice: Mabogo P. More, University Of Durban-Westville, South Africa.

14. Franz Fanon: 1925-1961: Teodros Kiros, Dubois Institute, Harvard.

15. Theory And The Actuality Of Existence: Fanon And Cabral: Tsenay Serequeberhan.

16. Alexis Kagame 1912 –1981: Life And Thought: Liboire Kagabo, University Of Burundi.

17. Post-Independence African Political Philosophy: Olufemi Taiwo, University Of Washington, Seattle.

Part III: Methodological Issues:.

18. Some Methodological Controversies In African Philosophy: A. G. Bello, University Of Ibadan, Nigeria.

19. Sage Philosophy: Its Methodology, Results, Significance And Future: Kibuji M. Kalumba, Ball State University, Indiana.

Part IV: Logic, Epistemology And Metapysics:.

20. Logic In The Acholi Language: Victor Ocaya, University Of Botswana.

21. Yoruba Moral Epistemology: Barry Hallen, Morehouse College.

22. Ifa: An Account Of A Divination System And Some Concluding Epistemological Questions: Olufemi Taiwo, Seattle University, Washington.

23. Toward A Theory Of Destiny: Segun Gbadegesin, Howard University, Washington D.C.

24. On The Normative Conception Of A Person: Ifeanyi Menkiti, Wellesley College, Ma.

25. Concepts Of A Person In Africa: A Critical Survey: Didier Kaphagawani, Chancellor College, Malawi.

26. Quasi-Materialism: A Contemporary African Philosophy Of Mind: Safro Kwame, Lincoln University, Pennsylvania.

Part V: The Philosophy Of Religion:.

27. Religion In African Culture: Some Conceptual Issues: Olusegun Oladipo, University Of Ibadan, Nigeria.

28. Okot P'bitek's Critique Of Western Scholarship On African Religion: Samuel O. Imbo, Hamline University, Minnesota.

29. Islam In Africa: Examining The Notion Of An African Identity Within The Islamic World: Souleymane Bachir Diagne, University Of Dakar, And Northwestern University, Chicago.

Part VI: Ethics And Aesthetics:.

30. Some African Reflections On Biomedical And Environmental Ethics: Banyuy Tangwa, University Of Cameroon.

31. Ethics And Morality In Yoruba Culture: John Bewaji, University Of West Indies.

32. Aesthetic Inquiry And The Music Of Africa: Kofi Agawu, Yale.

33. Art And Community: A Social Conception Of Beauty And Individuality: Nkiru Nzegwu, University Of New York, Binghamton.

34. The Many-Layered Aesthetics Of African Art: Ajume Wingo, University Of Massachusetts.

Part VII: Politics:.

35. Government By Consensus: Analysis Of A Traditional Democracy: Wamala, Makerere University, Uganda.

36. Democracy, Kingship And Consensus: A South African Perspective: Joe Teffo, University Of The North, South Africa.

37. Fellowship Associations As Foundation Of Social Democracy In Africa: Ajume Wingo, University Of Massachusetts.

38. Economic Globalism, Deliberative Democracy And The State In Africa: George Carew.

39. Nationalism, Ethnicity And Violence: Ali Mazrui, University Of New York, Binghamton.

40. African Communalism And Western Communitarianism: A Comparison: Dismas Masolo, University Of Kentucky.

41. Human Rights In The African Context: Francis M. Deng, Brookings Institution Washington D.C.

42. The Politics Of Memory And Forgetting After Apartheid: Pieter Duvenage, University Of The North, South Africa.

43. The Question Of An African Jurisprudence: Some Hermeneutic Reflections: John Murungi, Towson State University.

Part VIII: Special Topics:.

44. Knowledge As A Development Issue: Paulin Hountondji, University Of Benin.

45. African Philosophy And African Literature: Kwame Appiah, Harvard.

46. Philosophy And Literature In Francophone Africa: Jean Godefroy Bidima, Paris, Translated By Nicholas De Warren, Wellesley College, Massachusetts.

47. Feminism And Africa: Impact And Limits Of The Metaphysics Of Gender: Nkiru Nzegwu, University Of New York, Binghamton.


"This collection is destined to become the classic guide to the distinctive issues of concern to African philosophers today and in the past. The essays also reveal critical challenges African philosophies raise for ‘exceptionalist’ and ‘triumphalist’ tendencies in Western philosophy. This is a lively and intriguing text for undergraduates, graduate students, and scholars in many disciplines." Sandra Harding, University of California, Los Angeles

"Professor Wiredu has brought together the leading scholars of African philosophy, and provided us with up-to-date assessments of such vital topics as the history of African philosophy, African philosophy and postcolonial studies, and the relationship between world view and critical thinking. This is a balanced and judicious collection that exposes the student to all the major issues and schools." Ivan Karp, Emory University

"The extensive bibliography confirms the existence of African philosophy and supports the argument for its rightful place alongside other philosophies. . . The essays in this book are informative and compelling. The book is a product of commendable effort and provides its readers with much enlightenment." African Studies Review

“…this Companion goes beyond evaluating African philosophy spoken, written, sung, danced, sculpted, or painted prior to itself; it becomes itself the most complete and thoughtful anthology of African thought, the area’s most valuable work published as yet.” Heythrop Journal

  • Provides a comprehensive collection of new essays on African philosophy throughout ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary times.

  • 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.