Philosophical Papers

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African Tradition, Philosophy, and Modernization

Polycarp Ikuenobe


I examine Wiredu's views that (1) ethnophilosophy cannot be considered a legitimate philosophy because it has the feature of authoritarianism, and that (2) this feature of African tradition will not allow modern philosophy to flourish because it prevents individuals from rationally and critically examining beliefs. The ability to rationally acquire and examine beliefs, he insists, is critical for modernization in Africa. I argue that authoritarianism per se in Africa is not necessarily bad because its rational variant, which is justifiable, does not prevent philosophical practice and the critical examination of beliefs, and that ethnophilosophy can provide a foundation for modern African philosophy and modernization.
AJOL African Journals Online