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Conversational thinking as a new methodological option for African philosophy

Aribiah David Attoe
Chukwueloka Simon Uduagwu


In response to the question about what the most attractive method for African philosophy is, we consider conversational thinking as an alternative to pre-existing methods in African philosophy, especially in contemporary times. We shall show in this essay that the heavy critique of the ethnophilosophical method–concerning its inadequacy–left a gap that both philosophic sagacity and hermeneutics have  failed to fill. In the contemporary period, Innocent Asouzu developed what he calls complementary reflection, which is a framework for  bridge-building between old and new, weak and strong, local and alien and in all aspects of reality, which he claims constitute missing  links of reality. Unfortunately, Asouzu’s method of complementary reflection appears to say little about resolving conflicts among  dissenting variables, and in this regard, his method, though promising, also remains inadequate. Our goal here is to demonstrate that  conversational thinking is a viable attempt at a systematised and well-developed methodology for doing African Philosophy – one which  proceeds from an African place and discovers its relevance in the global space. To properly articulate the relevance and viability of  conversational thinking, we begin by examining, in some detail, the various flaws of the pre-existing methodologies of African  philosophy. We go a step further to explicate the tenets of conversational thinking and present it as a viable method(ology) borne out of  the African experience for African philosophy. Furthermore, we introduce the up-down movement of thought as a novel description of  conversational thinking at the level of what we refer to as the sub-micro level of conversational thinking. We conclude by identifying the  ways in which conversational thinking situates African philosophy and can drive its discourses in contemporary time.

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eISSN: 2788-7928