Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions

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African studies through language-based techniques

Ndubuisi Osuagwu


In this article, we argue that language-based techniques have the capacity to generate original ideas and thus account for progress in any discipline. We claim that language-based techniques used by some African scholars such as hermeneutics (critical interpretation of cultural corpus) and related ones such as transliteration (adaptation of alien intellectual legacy) are creatively inadequate to inspire progress because they do not lead to the creation of new concepts and original ideas in African thought. We claim also that the technique of intellectual decolonisation with its foremost expression in Kwasi Wiredu’s ‘conceptual decolonisation’ and Kwesi Tsri’s ‘conceptual liberation’, are two recent language-based strategies aimed at overcoming the creative problem inherent in the techniques of  hermeneutics and transliteration. We argue that these two techniques are equally inadequate because they are tantamount to what can be called
‘conceptual manipulation’, which is not a creative strategy for progress in African thought. The goal of this paper therefore is to expose the creative weaknesses in these techniques in order to show that there is a dearth of creative language-based techniques in African studies and make a call for the formulation of one.

Keywords: African philosophy, hermeneutics, transliteration, conceptual manipulation, conceptual decolonisation, conceptual liberation.

AJOL African Journals Online