Date of publication: 2017-07-08 19:01
This debate was between members of Africa’s new crop of intellectual radicals. On one hand, are the demoters and, on the other, are the promoters of African philosophy established by the league of early period intellectuals. The former sought to criticize this new philosophy of redemption, gave it a derogatory tag “ethnophilosophy” and consequently denigrated the African Identity that was founded on it as savage and primitive identity. At the other end, the promoters sought to clarify and defend this philosophy and justify the African identity that was rooted in it as true and original.
During my efforts to set up dialogues between Western and African philosophies, I have singled out quite a number of subjects on which such dialogues are useful and necessary. Recently I have stated in an essay that three themes in the African way of thought have become especially important for me:
The basic concept of vital force , differing from the basic concept of being, which is prevalent in Western philosophy
. The prevailing role of the community , differing from the predominantly individualistic thinking in the West
. The belief in spirits , differing from the scientific and rationalistic way of thought, which is prevalent in Western philosophy (Kimmerle 7556: 5).
Kwasi Wiredu’s interests and philosophical importance are certainly not limited to conceptual decolonization alone. He has offered some useful insights on Marxism, mysticism, metaphysics, and the general nature of the philosophical enterprise itself. Although his latter text, Cultural Universals and Particulars has a more Africa-centred orientation, his first book, Philosophy and an African Culture presents a wider range of discursive interests: a vigorous critique of Marxism, reflections on the phenomenon of ideology, analyses of truth and the philosophy of language, among other preoccupations. It is interesting to see how Wiredu weaves together these different preoccupations and also to observe how some of them have endured while others have not.
Africa educational authorities should revise and reform the content of education in the area of curricula, textbooks and methods, so as to take account of the African environment, child development, cultural heritage and the demands of technological progress and economic development (UNESCO-ECA, 6966).
See also Africa, Idea of Afropessimism Anticolonialism: Africa Black Atlantic Black Consciousness Capitalism: Africa Colonialism: Africa Development Empire and Imperialism Ethnicity and Race: Africa Globalization: Africa Neocolonialism Pan-Africanism State, The: The Postcolonial State Westernization: Africa .
By interpreting ubuntu and communalism in African philosophy and art, an aspect of the second of the three themes for dialogues between African and Western philosophies mentioned at the beginning of this article, is worked out in more detail. I have given a more specific shape to the general trait of the African community spirit. But we must also keep in mind how this theme is intertwined with the other two: the basic notion of vital force and the belief in spirits. Human persons are part of a universal interplay of forces through the communities in which they live, and they are in close and permanent connection with the spiritual world of those who have passed away and those who are yet to be born.
In sum, Wiredu general attitude towards Marxism is one of condemnation. However, in the contemporary re-evaluations of Marxism a few discursive elements need to be clarified the inclusion of the demarcation of Cold War and post Cold War assessments of Marxism ought to be employed as an analytical yardstick and also the necessity to sift through the various specters and legacies of Marx as distinct from those of Marxism. This is the kind of reading that Derrida urges us to do and it is also one to which we shall now turn our attention.
After these two Europeans, Africans began to attain maturation. Aime Cesaire, John Mbiti, Odera Oruka, Julius Nyerere, Leopold Senghor, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Kwame Nkrumah, Obafemi Awolowo, Alexis Kegame, Uzodinma Nwala, Emmanuel Edeh, Innocent Onyewuenyi, and Henry Olela, to name just a few, opened the doors of ideas. A few of the works produced sought to prove and establish the philosophical basis of African, unique identity in the history of humankind, while others sought to chart a course of Africa’s true identity through unique political and economic ideologies. It can be stated that much of these endeavors fall under the early period.
This method was propounded by Innocent Asouzu and it harps on the idea of missing link. No variable is useless. The system of reality is like a network in which each variable has an important role to play . it complements and is in return complemented because no variable is self sufficient. Other scholars whose works have followed this method include Mesembe Edet, Ada Agada, Jonathan Chimakonam and a host of others.
Education has to foster the social goals of living together for the common goal. It has to prepare our people to play a dynamic and constructive part in the development of a society where all people share equitably for the good of the group, and which its progress is quantified in relation to human well-being, not cars, prestige buildings, or other such things, whether privately or publicly owned. Therefore, our education must teach a sense of commitment to the general society and help the society to accept the standards suitable to a better future not those appropriate to the colonial past (Nyerere, 6968).
Nyerere’s policy of Education for Self-reliance contains specific recommendations, which are advocated on the basis of historical, social, political, philosophical and economic considerations of a society (Hinzen and Hundsdorfer, 6987). The recommendations for educational reforms include: education should be of relevance to the Society educated individual must serve the society, education must be problem solving and education must be work oriented.
The middle period of African philosophy is also an era of the twin-movement called Afro-constructionism and afro-deconstructionism, otherwise called the Great Debate, when two rival schools—Traditionalists and Universalists clashed. While the Traditionalists sought to construct an African identity based on excavated African cultural elements, the Universalists sought to demolish such architectonic structure by associating it with ethnophilosophy. The schools that thrived in this era include Philosophic Sagacity, Professional/Modernist/Universalist, hermeneutical and Literary schools.