AFRICAN PHILOSOPHY
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AFRICAN PHILOSOPHY
An Anthology
Edited by Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze
   
Contents
Chap
Title
Excerpt
Part I
What is African Philosophy?
1
African Philosophy: Yesterday
and Today
Joseph I. Omoregbe
Philosophy is essentially a reflective activity.  To philosophize is to
reflect on human experience in search of answers to some
fundamental questions. (pg. 3)
2
Philosophy and Post-Colonial
Africa
Tsenay Serequeberhan
In contrast to the recent past (i.e., the period of armed anti-colonial
liberation struggles), today it is in these very terms that
post-colonial "independent" Africa misunderstands itself.  What
seemed to be clear and unambiguous has become obscure and
opaque.  Thus the lethargic inertness of neocolonialism passes for
the actuality of "freedom" and "liberation."  To explore and decipher
the source of this vexing "misunderstanding" is the proper task of
contemporary African philosophy.  For it is only by challenging and
contesting this situation at its source that Africa can put behind it
the subordinate status imposed on it by European colonialism and
perpetuated by neocolonialism. (pg. 10)
3
African, African American,
Africana Philosophy
Lucius Outlaw
Gathering together various traditions and practices, various
literatures, identified as "philosophy," is just an initial, though
important, step.  Then real labor begins: interrogating works,
learning from them, comparing and contrasting them (with
endeavors by African and other peoples) as part of a larger, ongoing
effort to catalog and study the many creations of African peoples,
the contributions of African peoples to the treasure houses of
human civilization. (pg. 39)
4
The African Foundations of
Greek Philosophy
Henry Olela
Any philosophy must be evaluated from the context of its history.  
Contemporary Black Philosophy is moribund if it does not take as its
starting point an African World-view -- which is the basis of the
Black experience.  Similarly, the contemporary African philosophy is
moribund if it does not take into account the "history of African
philosophy" which takes us back to ancient Africa (Ancient Egypt,
Ethiopia, etc).  Once the Black scholars have done this, their
admiration of the Western philosophy will take a new dimension;
the monopoly of philosophy by the Greeks will have a turn. (pg. 49)
5
Contemporary Moslem
Philosophies in North Africa
Mourad Wahba
Osman Amin is the advocator of the "Philosophy of Inwardness"
(al-Gouwaniya).  It is a philosophy which tries to see people and
things from a spiritual angle.  In other words, it tries to see the
invisible world by not being limited to the visible.  It seeks the
inward being, not stopping at the outward.  Many traditions,
attributed to the Prophet, emphasize this opposition between the
invisible and the visible.  For example: "God does not look at your
faces and wealth, but He looks at your hearts and your actions."...
For freedom must not be sought in the possession of objects, like
wealth and honours, but in our soul, that is, in something of
absolute autonomy, namely, faith in God and attachment to dignity
of man. (pg. 51)
Part II
Human Nature: Mind, Body, and Self-Identity
6
The Relation of Okra (Soul) and
Honam (Body): An Akan
Conception
Kwame Gyekye
 
7
"Chi" in Igbo Cosmology
Chinua Achebe
 
8
The Sociality of Self
Okot p'Bitek
 
Part III
Philosophy, Politics, and Society
9
Leaders must not be Masters
Julius Nyerere
 
10
Consciencism
Kwame Nkrumah
 
11
Two Traditions in African
American Political Philosophy
Bernard Boxill
 
12
Universal Dimensions of Black
Struggle I: Black Revolution
Universal Dimensions of Black
Struggle II: Human Rights, Civil
Rights
Malcolm X
 
13
Philosophy, Politics, and
Power:  An Afro-American
Perspective
Cornel West
 
Part IV
Ethics
14
"Mutumin Kirki": The Concept
of the Good Man in Hausa
Anthony H. M. Kirk-Greene
 
15
Yourba Philosophy:
Individuality, Community, and
the Moral Order
Segun Gbadegesin
 
16
Concerning Violence
Frantz Fanon
 
17
Morals and the Value of Human
Life
M.M. Agrawal
 
18
Moral Reasoning versus Racial
Reasoning
Cornel West
 
Part V
On Knowledge and Science
19
Elements of Physics in Yoruba
Culture I
Elements of Physics in Yoruba
Culture II
Supo Ogunbunmi and Henry M.
Olaitan
 
20
"Divination":  A Way of
Knowing?
Philip M. Peek
 
21
The Problem of Knowledge in
"Divination":  The Example of
Ifa
E. Chukwudi Eze
 
22
The Concept of Truth in the
Akan Language
Kwasi Wiredu
 
23
African Traditional Thought
and Western Science
Robin Horton
 
24
How Not to Compare African
Thought with Western Thought
Kwasi Wiredu
 
25
Literacy, Criticism, and the
Growth of Knowledge
Jack Goody
 
Part VI
Philosophy and Colonial Encounter
26
Modern Western Philosophy
and African Colonialism
E. Chukwudi Eze
 
27
Discourse on Colonialism
Aime' Ce'saire
 
28
The Wretched of the Earth
Frantz Fanon
 
29
Colonialism and the Colonized:  
Violence and Counter-Violence
Tsenay Serequeberhan
 
30
Cultural Nationalism in th
Colonial Period
R.L. Okonkwo
 
31
National Liberation and
Culture (Return to the Source)
Amilcar Cabral
 
Part VII
Philosophy and Race
32
The Conservation of Races
W.E.B. Du Bois
 
33
The Illusions of Race
Kwame Anthony Appiah
 
34
Du Bois on the Invention of
Race
Tommy L. Lott
 
35
Racism and Culture
Frantz Fanon
 
36
Racism and Feminism
bell hooks
 
Part
VIII
Philosophy and Gender
37
The Woman Question:  African
and Western Perspectives
Marie Pauline Eboh
 
38
Black Women:  Shaping
Feminist Theory
bell hooks
 
39
Mammies, Matriarchs, and
Other Controlling Images
Patricia Hill Collins
 
40
The Erasure of Black Women
Elizabeth V. Spelman
 
41
The Curious Coincidence of
Feminine and African
Moralities
Sandra Harding
 
Part IX
Philosophy and Transatlantic African Slavery
42
The Nature of Slavery
Fredrick Douglass
 
43
The Concept of Slavery
Winthrop D. Jordan
 
44
The Origin of Negro Slavery
Eric Williams
 
45
The Interesting Narrative...
Olaudah Equiano
 
46
Thoughts and Sentiments on
the Evil of Slavery
Ottobah Cugoano, a Native of
Africa
 
47
Autobiographical Acts and the
Voice of the Southern Slave
Houston A. Baker, Jr.
 
Part X
Ontology and the Nature of Art
48
Breath
Birago Diop
 
49
Bantu Ontology
Placide Tempels
 
50
The Igbo World and Its Art
Chinua Achebe
 
51
The Forth Stage:  Through the
Mysteries of Ogun to the Origin
of Yoruba Tragedy
Wole Soyinka
 
52
The Duke's Blues
Stanley Crouch
 
Part XI
Philosophy of Religion
53
God, Faith, and the Nature of
Knowledge
Zera Yacob
... "I understand there is a creator, greater than all creatures; since
from his overabundant greatness, he created things that are so
great.  He is intelligent who understands all, for he created us as
intelligent from the abundance of his intelligence; and we ought to
worship him, for he is the master of all things.  If we pray to him, he
will listen to us; for his is almighty."  (pg 457)
... But God created man to be the master of his own actions, so that
he will be what he wills to be, good or bad.  If a man chooses to be
wicked he can satisfy his carnal desire.  God did not create man to
be evil, but to choose what he would like to be, so that he may
receive his reward if he is good or his condemnation if he is bad.  
(pg 458)
...Hence if it is truth we want,let us seek it with our reason which
God has given us so that with it we may see that which is needed for
us from among all the necessities of nature.  We cannot, however,
reach truth through the doctrine of man, for all men are liars.    If on
the contrary we prefer falsehood, the order of the creator and the
natural law imposed on the whole of nature do not perish thereby,
but we ourselves perish by our own error.  God sustains the world
by his order which he himself has established and which man
cannot destroy, because the order of God is stronger than the order
of men.  (Pg. 460)
...It is clear that our soul lives after the death of our flesh; for in this
world our desire for happiness is not fulfilled; those in need desire
to possess, those who possess desire more, and though man owned
the whole world, he is not satisfied and craves for more.  This
inclination of our nature shows us that we are created not only for
this life, but also for the coming world; there the souls which have
fulfilled the will of the creator will be perpetually satisfied and will
not look for other things.  (Pg 460)
...God does not create us perfect but creates us with such a reason as
to know that we are to strive for perfection as long as we live in this
world, and to be worthy for the reward that our creator has
prepared for us in his wisdom. (Pg 461).
54
Must God Remain Greek?
Robert E. Hood
 
55
The Problem of Evil:  An Akan
Perspective
Kwame Gyekye
 
56
Black Women and Men:  
Partnership in the 1990s
bell hooks and Cornel West