The prefix “African” and its implication for philosophy in Africa

  • ST Segun
Keywords: Affirmative, Denialist, Philosophy, African, African Philosophy, Ethnophilosophy, Systematic African Philosophy, Complementarity, Unanimity.


Philosophy today is often regionalized unlike science and other disciplines. Thus we talk of Western, Eastern, American and African Philosophy. To speak or write philosophy within the ambit of the prefix “African” would elicit two major responses. First is the affirmative response which believes that indeed there exists some form of philosophy in Africa although distinct from Western philosophy in approach, procedure and methods but not in kind. The second is the denialist response which rejects vehemently the position of the former; in that they deny the existence of African philosophy independent of Western colouration. In other words, they do not believe that there exists any form of philosophy distinct from the Western idea of philosophy be it in approach or method. Within this frame certain problems arise such as the problem of interpretation or definition, the myth of unanimity and the problem of ethnophilosophy. The aim of this work thus is to understand the implications of the prefix “African” for philosophy in Africa. In this attempt, we uncover the subject of African Philosophy, its many possibilities, nature and interpretations. In understanding the implications of the prefix “African” for philosophy in Africa, the work avers that the affirmative response in modern times is an advocacy for what Chimakonam refers to as systematic African philosophy; and the denialist response to the subject is an outright rejection of the universal character of philosophy. For the laws of logic, the burden of axiology, the questions of metaphysics, the problems of sociopolitical philosophy and the concerns of epistemology all transcend geographical boundaries.

Keywords: Affirmative, Denialist, Philosophy, African, African Philosophy, Ethnophilosophy, Systematic African Philosophy, Complementarity, Unanimity.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2408-5987
print ISSN: 2276-8386