African philosophy in globalising world: A particularist perspective

  • I Hesein


The quest for an authentic methodology for doing African philosophy has over the past thirty years culminated in two philosophical camps namely; universalist and particularist camps. The universalists contend that the concept of philosophy should in terms of methodology be the same in Western and African discourses. African philosophy in order to meet the conditions of modernization or globalization, the universalists ague, should be universal, systematic, analytic, rational, scientific and rigorous. The particularists, on the other hand, argue that different cultures have different explanatory framework concerning reality and that Africans have a philosophy that is essentially different from other philosophies. The universalitists on this score have attacked the works of the particularist African philosophers as relativist, prescientific, unsystematic, irrational, unanalytic and so on. In this essay, I try to show that the universalists argument is not only erroneous but also that it is motivated by cultural imperialism. I argue that a universalist approach to African philosophy will not succeed in whittling out a methodology that will serve as a universal recipe for doing African philosophy because there is no such a philosophy that transcends cultures. It is expected at the end of this essay that a particularist African philosophy, though culturally relative, will provide the best methodology for doing African philosophy.

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eISSN: 1119-443X