Problems with Wiredu’s Empiricalism
AbstractIn his “Empiricalism: The Empirical Character of an African Philosophy”, Kwasi Wiredu sets out to reject some logical and epistemological categorial distinctions that can be deployed as instruments for misunderstanding and denigrating African modes of thought. Towards this end, he enunciates a doctrine he calls ‘empiricalism’, which he considers is conclusively characteristic of Akan philosophy. In doing so, Wiredu ascribes some ideas to Akan metaphysics that I consider disputable. This paper aims at contesting those ascriptions. I begin with Wiredu’s thesis and arguments in favour of empiricalism, and proceed to formulate and discuss what I perceive to be the major problems with the doctrine. The paper ends by offering suggestions on how the problems engendered by Wiredu’s empiricalism may be resolved, and by surveying the prospects of the doctrine for African philosophy.
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