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- Volume 4, Issue 1, 2015
Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions - Volume 4, Issue 1, 2015
Volume 4, Issue 1, 2015
Source: Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 4, pp V –VIII (2015)More Less
One of the most intrusive mistakes of classical philosophy is the supposition that philosophy of any color and taste that is worth the honor of philosophy must be done through the eye and vantage point of Western philosophy. This systemic idea-funneling has to a very large extent silenced the African voice and where there is a little succor, it has led to transliteration, copycatism and philosophy of commentary. Members of the Universalist school in particular are guilty of spreading this Western agenda for some decades now. They police other African philosophers and cajole them to the path they must follow without as little as producing a specimen of what they recommend. We nonetheless acknowledge their contributions to the debate but insist at the same time that the moment has arrived when we must summon courage to say that "A" has not been good enough hence, "B". We, therefore, present Volume 4 Number 1 of Filosofia Theoretica, a journal dedicated to the promotion of conversational orientation in African philosophy. Conversational philosophizing breaks away from the perverse orientation introduced by the Universalist school in African philosophy. Papers published in the journal have phenomenological basis and thrive on productive conversations among actors. We believe that conversational philosophy represents one of the modes through which the episteme of African philosophy could grow.
Author Fainos MangenaSource: Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 4, pp 1 –16 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/ft.v4i1.1More Less
In this paper, I outlined and discussed the idea of deep ecology as defended by Arne Næss (1973) as well as Bill Devall and George Sessions (1985). I especially looked at how deep ecology has responded to the dominant view in ecological ethics, especially its attendant theory - anthropocentrism or homo-centrism or simply the reason-based account - which I outlined and explained in the first section of this paper. In the final analysis, I looked at the feasibility (or lack thereof) of applying deep ecology in Sub-Saharan African ecological contexts focusing particularly on the Shona ecological matrix of Zimbabwe. My intention was to answer the question: How applicable is the idea of deep ecology in the African context? Having reviewed Zimbabwean literature, I came to the conclusion that the Shona environment had a different form of deep ecology that was not only anchored on spirituality but that it also interpreted cosmology and ecology from a communitarian viewpoint.
Neo-colonialism, postcolonialism and the bane of neo-essentialist theorising in current African literatureAuthor Idom T. InyabriSource: Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 4, pp 17 –32 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/ft.v4i1.2More Less
This paper is a response to Joseph Ushie's argument for Neo-colonialism rather than Postcolonialism as the most appropriate theory for the criticism of what he calls Current African Literature. His proposition is based on the premise that Postcolonialism as a theory runs counter to the neo-colonial situation of Africa since the attainment of flag independence by different African nations. Hence, neo-colonialism answers directly to the socio-political and economic condition of most African countries and should be utilised in the appreciation of most literatures from the continent. In this meta-criticism we proceed by making bare the crux of Ushie's argument, then identify obvious contradictions in his logic and critically present the merit of Postcolonialism as a cultural theory fit enough for the critical engagement of Current African Literature.
Addressing Uduma's Africanness of a philosophy question and shifting the paradigm from metaphilosophy to conversational philosophyAuthor Jonathan O. ChimakonamSource: Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 4, pp 33 –50 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/ft.v4i1.3More Less
This conversation is inspired by Uduma O. Uduma's essay entitled "The Question of the 'African' in African Philosophy: In search of a Criterion for the Africanness of a Philosophy". In this essay, Uduma coined what he calls "the Africanness of a Philosophy Question which consists in the ultimate criterion for African philosophy. He was not the first to dwell on the Africanness issue in African philosophy but he was the first, to my knowledge, to christen it as such. Before Uduma framed the question into a proper metaphilosophical concern in African philosophy, old campaigners like Paulin Hountondji, Odera Oruka, Peter Bodunrin, Kwasi Wiredu, Sophie Oluwole, Innocent Onyewuenyi, etc., have all dwelt on it with some going more in-depth than others. I have also dwelt partly on this question before in an essay entitled "The Criteria Question in African Philosophy: Escape from the Horns of Jingoism and Afrocentrism". Incidentally, my treatment of the issue was not digestive enough as I did not mention the likes of Bodunrin, Wiredu, Oluwole and even Uduma himself - a terrible short-sightedness - one that I wish to correct in this discussion. My first aim in this work is to attempt to settle this metaphilosophical vicious circle once and for all. On the basis of this, I wish also to orchestrate a shift from the vicious circle of metaphilosophical engagements to a more fruitful conversational engagement in contemporary African philosophy. Our method shall consist in critical conversationalism.
African philosophy and the search for an African philosopher : the demise of a conflictual discourseAuthor David A. OyedolaSource: Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 4, pp 51 –74 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/ft.v4i1.4More Less
There are contending reasons why the rationale, qualification and justification for becoming an African philosopher are still facing the problem of ontology. One reason, as Didier Kaphagawani posits, is premised on the challenges by anthropology and colonialism (1986, 86). Given Oruka, Makinde, Oladipo, Oke, and Hallen's perception of these challenges, they concede that these challenges gave birth to the postcolonial search for a distinct African identity. On the one hand, D. A. Masolo's submission that because "Africa cannot be re-subjectivised; hence, an identity which is peculiarly African is impossible" (1997, 283-285) downplays the concession of Kaphagawani, Oruka, et al. Moreover, there tends to be agreement among certain philosophers who have devoted their time promoting Africana philosophy and culture-oriented discourse in Africa like Outlaw, Cabral, Fanon, Makinde, Oladipo, Oke, Hallen, Horton, etc., that "the Western discourse on Africa and the response to such discourse" (MASOLO 1994, 1) led many African philosophers like Nazombe, Okpewho, Tempels, Nkrumah, Nyerere, Senghor, Cesaire, Awolowo, Mandela, etc., to react using socio-political and academic means to establish a distinct African philosophical paradigm which craves for the re-subjectivisation of Africa. By implication, the response to the Western discourse on Africa, as Outlaw, et al, opine, lend credence to (a) the rationale for the qualification and justification to be an African philosopher; (b) the existence of African philosophy, and (c) the modality of doing philosophy in Africa. Nevertheless, the problem with Outlaw, et al, on one hand, and D. A. Masolo, on the other, is the failure to recognize that any philosopher need not be of African descent or blood before he can make a meaningful contribution to address the problems facing the development of Africa in all spheres of life. This is possible in as much as there is an adequate understanding of the subject under discussion or what it means to do African philosophy. It is this failure or weakness that we shall explore in this essay.
Source: Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 4 (2015)More Less
Conversational philosophy is articulated by Jonathan O. Chimakonam as the new wave of philosophical practice both in "place" and in "space". This journal adopts and promotes this approach to philosophizing for African philosophy. Readers are encouraged to submit their conversational piece (maximum of 2000 words) on any essay previously published in this journal or on any controversial topics, thoughts or authors for publication. It is recommended that conversations be on substantive issues in African philosophy rather than on metaphilosophical issues. The aim is to enhance the evolution of new epistemes in African philosophy. The subject column for the email submissions should read "Manuscript for Conversations".
Author Aribiah David AttoeSource: Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 4, pp 76 –78 (2015)More Less
The question of what constitutes the personal identity of an individual has been pondered upon by many philosophers and Jonathan Chimakonam is one of such philosophers. His paper entitled "Mental Surgery: Another look at the Identity Problem" addresses this issue headlong and his conclusions are fascinating to say the least. Chimakonam in his essay adopts a sociological approach to the identity problem. For him, personal identity is basically a social property and a sociological concept (2011, 201). He also goes on to suggest that personal identity lies in the physical body and not in any metaphysical entity, soul or mind. Indeed, Chimakonam goes further to deny the existence of an independent spiritual mind or soul, which is the basis of the Cartesian mind-body dualism. What is implied here is that without the body, personal identity is inconceivable. It also implies that although personal identity is resident in the physical body of an individual, it must also be perceived and recognised by other individuals within the society such a body finds itself. To fortify this line of thought, Chimakonam articulates a thought experiment which describes a mental surgery in which the "minds" of two individuals (a dying Professor C. S. Momoh and Jonathan Chimakonam) are interchanged and with no short term memory, the mind of the professor, now inhabiting the body of Chimakonam, though bemused by the change in his bodily appearance, begins to gradually accept a new identity (that of Chimakonam) based on the insistence of those around him, which invariably alludes to the view that personal identity is determined by the opinions of others and thus, a sociological property (2011, 197 - 200). Peter Bisong, in a response to Chimakonam's paper, argues that the spiritual soul/consciousness is the primary criterion of personal identity. He disputes Chimakonam's sociological stance by making us aware of the fact that a change of society by a subject may present differing views on the personal identity of that subject and as such, the individual's identity becomes contradictory (2014, 60-63).
Postmodernism and the objectivity of the social sciences : an interrogative conversation with Augustine AtaborAuthor Victor C.A. NwekeSource: Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 4, pp 79 –81 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/ft.v4i1.7More Less
This very short piece is a succinct interrogative conversation of a thesis canvassed by Augustine A. Atabor in his article, "The Question of Objectivity, its Implications for the Social Sciences in the Era of Postmodernism: Africa in Perspective", published in the Special Issue of this journal on Postmodernism and African Philosophy (Volume 3, Number 2, July-December 2014, pp.50-61).
The article argues that postmodernism repudiates the objectivity of the social sciences or to use the author's words: "The paper accentuates the difficulty with postmodernism which tries to deny the possibility of objective truth in the social sciences" (2014, 50). By objectivity or objective truth, the author refers to "the state or quality of being true even outside of a subject's individual feelings, imaginations or interpretations... the ability to judge fairly without bias or external influence that occurs in a phenomenological way" (2014, 53). Necessarily, postmodernism has a lot to do with objectivity. As Atabor rightly underscores, postmodernism ultimately calls for "a philosophical and ontological intellectual practice that is non-dogmatic, tentative, and non-ideological" (2014, 54) and as such subjects all standpoints and conceptual schemes that claim to be the sole universal standard, validator or possessor of objectivity/objective truth to incessant questioning.
Finding a place for interrogatory theory : a critique of Chimakonam's patterns of social deconstruction, reconstruction and the conversational order in African PhilosophyAuthor Segun T. SamuelSource: Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 4, pp 82 –84 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/ft.v4i1.8More Less
Chimakonam's brilliantly pieced article on Interrogatory Theory is his idea of a viable social philosophy for postcolonial Africa. The article is structured into two broad aspects namely: (i) Interrogatory Theory and (ii) Conversational order in African philosophy. Our attention in this critique will be on the first.
Interrogatory Theory (IT) is a social philosophy that seeks a revitalization of institutions in modern Africa. Its purpose is a "reflective assessment or interrogation of social structures (tradition and modernity) in order to deconstruct, construct/reconstruct or synthesize where necessary in pursuit of the future which contains the ideal" (CHIMAKONAM 2014, 2). In its introduction, Interrogatory theory makes what I think is a specious and audacious claim that "No society would ever develop if its inhabitants are free to live the way they please" ( CHIMAKONAM 2014, 3). Ideas such as this are unmistakably dangerous for any society and a danger to civilization. Chimakonam believes that as a developing continent, Africa needs to hobble, the freedom of citizens to a certain extent, in what he calls "positive repression of treacherous human freedom in Africa" (3). It appears that he mistook the true philosophical import of what liberty or freedom entails, which is a knowledge that "where my freedom stops, another's begins". Furthermore, insisting that the purpose of the constitution is to dominate and repress human freedom is a limpid example of a misconstrued notion of the principles of "reward and sanctions". Laws are put in place to reward the diligent compliant and punish or sanction the rebellious. Thereupon, it is not done with the intention to shackle freedom but rather as an attempt to secure it.
Arguments and Clarifications: A Philosophical Encounter between J.O. Chimakonam and M.I. Edet on the Ibuanyidandaness of Complementary Ontology, Mesembe I. Edet and Jonathan O. Chimakonam : book reviewAuthor Moses Ogah IremSource: Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 4, pp 85 –88 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/ft.v4i1.9More Less
This piece is a review of [Arguments and Clarifications: A Philosophical Encounter between J. O. Chimakonam and M. I. Edet on the Ibuanyidandaness of Complementary Ontology] by Mesembe I. Edet and Jonathan O. Chimakonam both members of the fast rising Calabar School of Philosophy (CSP). One of the main goals of the CSP we are told is to promote what is called conversa tional philosophy in African thought. My focus in this review shall be to assess the academic merit of the work and analyze the nature and strength of the new conversational tool as appropriated in the work.