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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Has Africa Produced 'World Class' Philosophers?

Ozodi Thomas Osuji's INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSPHY is an interesting initiative, albeit heavily laden with intellectual arrogance. I find this line from that 'Free' "Philosophy 101" particularly problematic: "Africa has not produced world class philosophers, at any rate, I do not know of any to review". Not knowing them is not an excuse. Unless 'world = west'. If this is not so and if that is not the truncated Africa of Hegel then one can start with Ibn Khaldun at http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ik/klf.htm. Then you can move to Hegel's so-called 'Africa' proper by looking at Anton-Wilhelm Almo. This is how he is described by two renowned (African) philosophers:

"Antony Wilhelm was originally a black Ghanaian. But he lived in and studied in Germany from the age of 4 until the age of about 50 where he lectured and wrote his philosophical texts some years before Emmanuel Kant was known." - H. Odera Oruka on 'Claude Sumner as an African Philosopher' in Claude Sumner's 'Living Springs of Wisdom and Philosophy - Volume 1: Problematics of an African Philosophy'

"Amo's philosophical career took place principally in Germany, where he received a training that he in turn was destined to dispense as a teacher in the universities of Halle, Wittenberg and Jena between the years 1730 and 1740, before returning to his home country where he died. His work is almost entirely written in Latin. These are the main titles: Dissertatio inauguralis de jure Maurorum in Europa (The Rights of Africans in Europe), 1729 (this text is lost) [Ask yourself why?]; Dissertatio de humanae mentis apatheia (On the impassivity of the Human Mind), 1734, Tractatus de arte sobrie et accurate philosophandi (On the Art of Philosophizing with Sobriety and Accuracy), 1738 (this is Amo's most important text and runs to 208 pages). An English translation of these works was published in 1968 by the English Department of the Martin Luther University of Halle, under the title Antonius Gulielmus Amo Afer of Axim in Ghana, Translation of his Works " - Paulin J. Hountondji on 'African Philosophy: Myth and Reality'

When you are done with Amo you can move to Cheick Anta Diop at http://africawithin.com/diop/diop_bio1.htm. Of course one may not agree that he is 'world class' if to him/her the 'world' is defined by Western/Euro-American standards. Indeed those are the very standards that questioned his doctoral thesis, nay, theses. Now I know one might argue that these were historians, not philosophers. But, then, isn't Hegel's 'Philosophy of History' philosophy?

1 comments:

Masangu Matondo Nzuzullima August 27, 2009 at 9:36 PM  

Nimeipenda hii post. Nitaisoma baadaye kwa kituo na nitatoa mchango wangu. Kazi nzuri!

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