n African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development - The eclectic paradigm of African philosophy, monoculturalism and the imperative of language in and for African development

Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2042-1338
  • E-ISSN: 2042-1346
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The objection to the existence of philosophy in Africa goes back at least to David Hume and Lucien Levy-Bruhl who deny African thought systems the status of philosophy. What seems like a first rebuttal to their position, which later metamorphosed into a full debate about on whether or not there is or is not a distinct discourse called African philosophy, was Placide Tempels' (1959). The debate got intense in the early 1970s and continued for nearly two decades. Is African philosophy, in the final analysis, about the source of the material for that philosophy? The eclectic nature of this debate is mainly highlighted by the divergent grids of the Universalists and the Traditionalists. Whereas the former consider African cultural practices and world views as unwelcome in philosophy, the latter endorse African belief systems as philosophical. However, Abiola Irele, in a position that mimics the Eurocentric objection of African thought as philosophical argues essentially that the diverse African languages too lack the vision of development and so are unsuitable for facilitating development. He suggests that the path to development in Africa lies in European culture, i.e., European languages. The main thesis of this paper is that Africa's diverse linguistic resources can be utilized in the African quest for development.

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