Article

Contemporary African Philosophy

Thaddeus Metz

in Philosophy

ISBN: 9780195396577
Published online June 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0164
Contemporary African Philosophy

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Given a broad sense of “philosophy” as systematic rational reflection on fundamental issues beyond the sciences, precolonial sub-Saharan societies with oral cultures certainly engaged in it. However, African philosophy in a much narrower sense, as a field with a body of literature that is studied by scholars in sub-Saharan Africa, is new, having been properly established only in the 1960s with the advent of literacy and the decline of colonialism. It was only following independence from colonial powers after World War II that substantial numbers of sub-Saharans became university lecturers who began writing about their cultures with sympathy and erudition. This article focuses on this “academic” African philosophy, which, despite its recent creation, is large, admitting of a wide variety of issues and subdisciplines, of styles and methods, and of languages and traditions. To obtain focus in a way that will most interest the audience of this encyclopedia, this article analyzes recently published English-language texts that are informed by perspectives salient in discussions among sub-Saharan professional philosophers. Such a concentration implies, for example, that this article does not refer much to the following: oral engagements with community elders (“sages”), French- or indigenous-language manuscripts, works in Arabic philosophy from North Africa, and sub-Saharan texts appearing before the 1980s. Concentrating on contemporary Anglophone writings of interest to academic philosophers in black Africa will make this article tractable and should enable readers to make cutting-edge contributions to the field.

Article.  11134 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; Epistemology ; Feminist Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Moral Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language ; Philosophy of Law ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Religion ; Philosophy of Science ; Social and Political Philosophy

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