On Defining African Wiredu – forthcoming – African Philosophy: The Essential Readings (New York: Paragon). Repr. In H. Nagl-Docekal and. Could there be a truly African philosophy that goes beyond traditional folk thought? Kwasi Wiredu tries in these essays to define and demonstrate a role for . Kwasi Wiredu is currently Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy at the Department of Philosophy in the University of South Florida, Tampa, where he.

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First, the article offers a close reading of the theory itself and then locates it within the broader movement of modern African thought. He remained at the University of Ghana for twenty-three years, during which time he became first Head of Department and then Professor.

Furthermore, he had precious little to say on the nature of the relationship between philosophy and morality. University of Ife Press. Wiredu was one of the scholars who has deep reservations about it.

First, and most intuitive to Western conceptions of persons, is the ontological dimension. Students are understandably preoccupied with getting their first job, but even from a narrow vocational point of view it would be short-sighted to concentrate on that at the expense of developing potential for success and advancement once hired.

Beyond Irredentism and Jingoism: Contemporary anthropological studies dealing with Africa have dwelt extensively on this phenomenon. Wiredu proposes that the African philosopher has a unique opportunity to re-examine many of the assumptions of Western philosophers by subjecting them to an interrogation based on African languages.

This differs from the Western conception of personhood in that people, in traditional Akan thought, are not born as willed beings. It is usually profitable to examine the contributions and limitations of African philosophers comparatively along with other African thinkers who are not professional philosophers in relation to the history of the debate on decolonization. The Text, Writing and Thought in Africa Undoubtedly, Wiredu discovered a challenging path in modern African thought in which he sometimes takes the meaning of the existence of African philosophy for granted.


Let’s say hypothetically an African was born and raised in China. According to Wiredu, will not come from the people at large, but must come from the thinkers; the creative minority of the society. The immediate effect is a radical diminishing of the entire concept of African philosophy, a term which under these circumstances would become even more problematic.

Most African intellectuals usually gloss over this difference, even though they may acknowledge it. In other words, his approach entails analyses of the canon of Western philosophy and also the manifestations of tribal cultures as a way of attaining a conceptual synthesis.

Undoubtedly, his best friend William Abraham, who went a year before him to Oxford University, must have also influenced the direction of his philosophical research towards African thought. He defends an universal human thought unlike does not deny on particularities and difference among various tribes of human kind by showing, african understanding and the understanding of Wiredu on african philosophy and thinking.

Kwasi Wiredu – – Mind 91 A Companion to African Philosophy.

A significant portion of post-colonial theory involves the entry of Third World scholars into the Western archive, as it were, with the intention of dislodging the erroneous epistemological assumptions and structures regarding their peoples. To be sure, the Other is always present, defacing all claims to full presence of the decolonizing subject.

A work of genius, a masterpiece in addition to giving rise to spectralities also generates legions of imitators and followers.

Kwasi Wiredu – Wikipedia

However, in the contemporary re-evaluations of Marxism a few discursive elements need to be clarified; the inclusion of the demarcation of Cold War and post Cold War assessments of Marxism ought to be employed as an analytical yardstick and also the necessity to sift through the various specters and legacies of Marx as distinct from those of Marxism. Wiredu, in his work, has enlightened many people on the philosophy and religion of Africa. African Philosophy and the Decolonisation of Education in Africa: An Introduction to African Legal Philosophy.

On some of the drawbacks of tradition Wiredu writes, it is as true in Africa as anywhere else that logical, mathematical, analytical, experimental procedures are essential in the quest for the knowledge of, and control over, nature and therefore, in any endeavour to improve the condition of man. Second, he intends to undermine the unhelpful Western epistemologies to be found in African philosophical traditions. Wiredu believes that pilosophy can be universal though it is culture relative in actuality through logical application.


One of the first texts of African philosophy that he read was J. Tangwa – – Bioethics 10 3: Decolonization as Epistemological Practice In all previously colonized regions of the world, decolonization remains a topic of considerable academic interest. Retrieved from ” https: Myth and RealityLondon: This entry has no external links. Studying Morality Within the African Context: Comments on Philosophy and Orality”. Janssens – – Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie One of Wiredu’s concerns when defining “African Philosophy” is keeping colonialised African philosophy in a separate category from precolonised Africa.

Kwasi Wiredu (1931— )

This term entailed, for Wiredu, a re-examination of current African epistemic foundations in order to accomplish two main objectives. Cambridge University Press, Perhaps the task at hand is simply too important and demanding to cater to such philosophical niceties.

In the following quotation, for example, Wiredu attempts to demonstrate the significance of some of those differences: One is not born a person but becomes one through events and experiences that lead one to act ethically.

Joad as his pen-name for a series of political articles he wrote for a national newspaper, The Ashanti Sentinel between and As a philosopher versed in analytic philosophy, truth is a primary concern of Wiredu and this concern is incorporated into his analysis of Marxist philosophy. In this light, it would appear that African philosophy has been, at certain moments, limited in defining the horizons of the debate when compared with the achievements of academic specialties such as literature, postcolonial theory and cultural studies.

Philosophers regularly build on both the successes and the failures of their predecessors.