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African philosophy

African philosophy

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African philosophy is used in different ways by different philosophers. Although Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

n philosophers spend their time doing work in many different areas, such as metaphysics
Metaphysics
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:...

, epistemology, moral philosophy
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

, and political philosophy
Political philosophy
Political philosophy is the study of such topics as liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it...

, a great deal of the literature is taken up with a debate concerning the nature of African philosophy itself and if it in fact exists.

Introduction


One of the most basic loci of disagreement concerns what exactly it is that the term ‘African’ qualifies: the content of the philosophy or the identities of the philosophers. On the former view, philosophy counts as African if it involves African themes (such as distinctively African perceptions of time, personhood, etc.) or uses methods that are distinctively African.

In the latter view, African philosophy is any philosophy done by Africans or by people of African descent, or others engaged in the realm of African philosophy.

Pre-modern African philosophy



Joseph I. Omoregbe's broadly defines a philosopher as, "one who devotes a good deal of his time reflecting on fundamental questions about human life or the physical universe and who frequently and habitually does this” and though no clearly articulated and documented philosophy exists, there is still a philosophical tradition. Put simply, even if there were no known African philosophers, there was African philosophy. This may be supported by observing from The Iliad and other Greek literature that philosophic concepts such as hubris, heroism, and the superiority of Greek culture were extant prior to the Late Classical period of Greek Antiquity. Thus, a form of natural philosophy, has been present in Africa since very ancient times.

If we take a philosophy to be a coherent set of beliefs, but not a system explaining the unity of its understanding of all the world's phenomena, the nature of the world and the place of human beings in that world, then few if any cultures lack a philosophy.

The standard view of the rise of philosophical (and of scientific) thought is that it probably required a certain sort of social structure (one in which, for example, a significant part of society had the leisure to think and debate), but that even given this necessary background condition, there's a further complex set of factors needed.

Philosophy in Africa has a rich and varied history, dating from pre-dynastic Egypt, continuing through the birth of Christianity and Islam. Arguably central to the ancients was the conception of "ma'at", which roughly translated refers to "justice", "truth", or simply "that which is right". One of the earliest works of political philosophy was the Maxims of Ptah-Hotep, which were taught to Egyptian schoolboys for centuries.

Ancient Egyptian philosophers made extremely important contributions to Hellenistic philosophy
Hellenistic philosophy
Hellenistic philosophy is the period of Western philosophy that was developed in the Hellenistic civilization following Aristotle and ending with the beginning of Neoplatonism.-Pythagoreanism:...

, Christian philosophy
Christian philosophy
Christian philosophy may refer to any development in philosophy that is characterised by coming from a Christian tradition.- Origins of Christian philosophy :...

, and Islamic philosophy
Islamic philosophy
Islamic philosophy is a branch of Islamic studies. It is the continuous search for Hekma in the light of Islamic view of life, universe, ethics, society, and so on...

.

In the Hellenistic tradition, the influential philosophical school of Neoplatonism
Neoplatonism
Neoplatonism , is the modern term for a school of religious and mystical philosophy that took shape in the 3rd century AD, based on the teachings of Plato and earlier Platonists, with its earliest contributor believed to be Plotinus, and his teacher Ammonius Saccas...

 was founded by the Egyptian
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

 philosopher Plotinus
Plotinus
Plotinus was a major philosopher of the ancient world. In his system of theory there are the three principles: the One, the Intellect, and the Soul. His teacher was Ammonius Saccas and he is of the Platonic tradition...

 in the 3rd century CE.

In the Christian tradition, Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

 was a cornerstone of Christian philosophy and theology. He lived from 354
354
Year 354 was a common year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Constantius and Constantius...

 to 430
430
Year 430 was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Theodosius and Valentinianus...

 CE, and wrote his best known work, The City of God, in Hippo Regius
Hippo Regius
Hippo Regius is the ancient name of the modern city of Annaba, in Algeria. Under this name, it was a major city in Roman Africa, hosting several early Christian councils, and was the home of the philosopher and theologian Augustine of Hippo...

, (now Annaba
Annaba
Annaba is a city in the northeastern corner of Algeria near the river Seybouse. It is located in Annaba Province. With a population of 257,359 , it is the fourth largest city in Algeria. It is a leading industrial centre in eastern Algeria....

, Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

). He challenged a number of ideas of his age including Arianism
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

, and established the notions of original sin
Original sin
Original sin is, according to a Christian theological doctrine, humanity's state of sin resulting from the Fall of Man. This condition has been characterized in many ways, ranging from something as insignificant as a slight deficiency, or a tendency toward sin yet without collective guilt, referred...

 and divine grace
Divine grace
In Christian theology, grace is God’s gift of God’s self to humankind. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man - "generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved" - that takes the form of divine favour, love and clemency. It is an attribute of God that is most...

 in Christian philosophy and theology.

In the Islamic tradition, Ibn Bajjah
Ibn Bajjah
Abū-Bakr Muhammad ibn Yahya ibn al-Sāyigh , known as Ibn Bājjah , was an Andalusian polymath: an astronomer, logician, musician, philosopher, physician, physicist, psychologist, botanist, poet and scientist. He was known in the West by his Latinized name, Avempace...

 philosophized along neo-Platonist lines in the 12th century C.E. The purpose of human life, according to Bajja, was to gain true happiness, and true happiness is attained by grasping the universals
Universal (metaphysics)
In metaphysics, a universal is what particular things have in common, namely characteristics or qualities. In other words, universals are repeatable or recurrent entities that can be instantiated or exemplified by many particular things. For example, suppose there are two chairs in a room, each of...

 through reason and philosophy, often outside the framework of organized religion.

Ibn Rushd philosophised along more Aristotelian lines, establishing the philosophical school of Averroism
Averroism
Averroism is the term applied to either of two philosophical trends among scholastics in the late 13th century: the Arab philosopher Averroës or Ibn Rushd's interpretations of Aristotle and his reconciliation of Aristotelianism with Islamic faith; and the application of these ideas in the Latin...

. Notably, he argued that there was no conflict between religion and philosophy, and instead that there are a variety of routes to God, all equally valid, and that the philosopher was free to take the route of reason while the commoners were unable to take that route, and only able to take the route of teachings passed on to them.

Ibn Sab'in challenged the above view, arguing that Aristotelian methods of philosophy were useless in attempting to understand the universe, because those ideas failed to mirror the basic unity of the universe with itself and with God, so that true understanding required a different method of reasoning.

There is at least one example of a pre-modern sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

n philosopher: Anthony William Amo was taken as a slave from Awukenu in what is now Ghana
Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

, was brought up and educated in Europe (gaining doctorates in medicine and philosophy), and became a professor at the universities of Halle Halle and Jena.

In terms of political philosophy, the independence of Ethiopia and the exercise of native African nation expressing its independence in the face of European colonialism and oppression served as a rallying cry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and was one of the cornerstones of the Pan-African movement that would spur independence from European colonialism by the middle of the 20th century.

Modern African philosophy


Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

n philosopher Henry Odera Oruka
Henry Odera Oruka
Henry Odera Oruka was a Kenyan philosopher who is best known for Sage Philosophy, a project started in the 1970s in an attempt to preserve the knowledge of the indigenous thinkers in traditional African communities.- Life and thought :...

 has distinguished what he calls four trends in modern African philosophy: ethnophilosophy, philosophical sagacity, nationalistic–ideological philosophy, and professional philosophy. In fact it would be more realistic to call them candidates for the position of African philosophy, with the understanding that more than one of them might fit the bill. (Oruka later added two additional categories: literary/artistic philosophy, the work of literary figures such as Ngugi wa Thiongo, Wole Soyinka
Wole Soyinka
Akinwande Oluwole "Wole" Soyinka is a Nigerian writer, poet and playwright. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, where he was recognised as a man "who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence", and became the first African in Africa and...

, Chinua Achebe
Chinua Achebe
Albert Chinụalụmọgụ Achebe popularly known as Chinua Achebe is a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic...

, Okot p'Bitek
Okot p'Bitek
Okot p'Bitek was a Ugandan poet, who achieved wide international recognition for Song of Lawino, a long poem dealing with the tribulations of a rural African wife whose husband has taken up urban life and wishes everything to be westernised...

, and Taban Lo Liyong
Taban Lo Liyong
Taban Lo Liyong is one of Africa's well-known poets and writers of fiction and literary criticism. His political views, as well as his on-going denigration of the post-colonial system of education in East Africa, have inspired criticism and controversy since the late 1960s.His real name is...

, and hermeneutic philosophy the analysis of African languages in order to find philosophical content.) Maulana Karenga is one of the key philosophers in African-American circles, he produced a 803 page book titled Maat, The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt.

Ethnophilosophy & philosophical sagacity


Ethnophilosophy has been used to record the beliefs found in African cultures. Such an approach treats African philosophy as consisting in a set of shared beliefs, values, categories, and assumptions that are implicit in the language, practices, and beliefs of African cultures; in short, the uniquely African world view
World view
A comprehensive world view is the fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual or society encompassing the entirety of the individual or society's knowledge and point-of-view, including natural philosophy; fundamental, existential, and normative postulates; or themes, values, emotions, and...

. As such, it is seen as an item of communal property rather than an activity for the individual.

One proponent of this form, Placide Tempels
Placide Tempels
Placide Frans Tempels was a Belgian missionary who became famous for his book Bantu Philosophy.-Life:...

, argued in Bantu Philosophy
Bantu Philosophy
Bantu Philosophy is a 1945 book written by Placide Tempels which argues that the people of Sub-Saharan Africa have a distinctive philosophy, and attempts to describe the underpinnings of that philosophy.In his book, Tempels argues that the African philosophical...

that the metaphysical categories of the Bantu people are reflected in their linguistic categories. According to this view, African philosophy can be best understood as springing from the fundamental assumptions about reality reflected in the languages of Africa.

An example of this sort of approach is the work of E. J. Algoa of the University of Port Harcourt
University of Port Harcourt
The University of Port Harcourt is a university in the Nigerian city of Port Harcourt. It was established in 1975 as University College, Port Harcourt, and was given university status in 1977.-Faculties:...

 in Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

, who argues for the existence of an African philosophy of history
Philosophy of history
The term philosophy of history refers to the theoretical aspect of history, in two senses. It is customary to distinguish critical philosophy of history from speculative philosophy of history...

 stemming from traditional proverbs from the Niger Delta
Niger Delta
The Niger Delta, the delta of the Niger River in Nigeria, is a densely populated region sometimes called the Oil Rivers because it was once a major producer of palm oil...

 in his paper "An African Philosophy of History in the Oral Tradition". Algoa argues that in African philosophy, age is seen as an important factor in gaining wisdom and interpreting the past. In support of this view, he cites proverbs such as "More days, more wisdom", and "What an old man sees seated, a youth does not see standing". Truth is seen as eternal and unchanging ("Truth never rots"), but people are subject to error ("Even a four-legged horse stumbles and falls"). It is dangerous to judge by appearances ("A large eye does not mean keen vision"), but first-hand observation can be trusted ("He who sees does not err"). The past is not seen as fundamentally different from the present, but all history is contemporary history ("A storyteller does not tell of a different season"). The future remains beyond knowledge ("Even a bird with a long neck cannot see the future"). Nevertheless, it is said, "God will outlive eternity". History is seen as vitally important ("One ignorant of his origin is nonhuman"), and historians (known as "sons of the soil") are highly revered ("The son of the soil has the python's keen eyes"). These arguments must be taken with a grain of cultural relativism, as the span of culture in Africa is incredibly vast, with patriarchies, matriarchies, monotheists and animists among the population. The attitudes of groups of the Niger Delta should be no more construed to the whole of Africa than that of Norse Vikings to the inclinations of the Spanish conquistadors.

Another more controversial application of this approach is embodied in the concept of Negritude
Négritude
Négritude is a literary and ideological movement, developed by francophone black intellectuals, writers, and politiciansin France in the 1930s by a group that included the future Senegalese President Léopold Sédar Senghor, Martinican poet Aimé Césaire, and the Guianan Léon Damas.The Négritude...

. Leopold Senghor, a proponent of negritude, argued that the distinctly African approach to reality is based on emotion rather than logic, works itself out in participation rather than analysis, and manifests itself through the arts rather than the sciences. Cheikh Anta Diop
Cheikh Anta Diop
Cheikh Anta Diop was a historian, anthropologist, physicist, and politician who studied the human race's origins and pre-colonial African culture. He is regarded as an important figure in the development of the Afrocentric viewpoint, in particular for his theory that the ancient Egyptians were...

 and Mubabinge Bilolo, on the other hand, while agreeing that African culture is unique, challenged the view of Africans as essentially emotional and artistic, pointing out that Egypt was an African culture whose achievements in science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

, mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

, architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

, and philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 provided a basis for Greek civilization. This philosophy may also be maligned as overly reductionist due to the obvious scientific and scholarly triumphs of ancient Egypt, Nubia, Axum, as well as the great library of Timbuktu and extensive trade networks of northern and Western Africa. Great Zimbabwe is another example of monumental construction in Southern Africa.

Critics of this approach argue that the actual philosophical work in producing a coherent philosophical position is being done by the academic philosopher (such as Algoa), and that the sayings of the same culture can be selected from and organised in many different ways in order to produce very different, often contradictory systems of thought. One can imagine trying to develop an English theory of mind by collecting proverbs and idioms such as "I'm in two minds about that", "He's out of his mind with worry", "She has a mind like a sieve", etc.

Philosophical sagacity is a sort of individualist version of ethnophilosophy, in which one records the beliefs of certain special members of a community. The premise here is that, although most societies demand some degree of conformity of belief and behaviour from their members, a certain few of those members reach a particularly high level of knowledge and under­standing of their cultures' world-view; such people are sages. In some cases, the sage goes beyond mere knowledge and understanding to reflection and questioning — these become the targets of philosophical sagacity.

Critics of this approach note that not all reflection and questioning is philosophical; besides, if African philosophy were to be defined purely in terms of philosophic sagacity, then the thoughts of the sages could not be African philosophy, for they did not record them from other sages. Also, on this view the only difference between non-African anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

 or ethnology
Ethnology
Ethnology is the branch of anthropology that compares and analyzes the origins, distribution, technology, religion, language, and social structure of the ethnic, racial, and/or national divisions of humanity.-Scientific discipline:Compared to ethnography, the study of single groups through direct...

 and African philosophy seems to be the nationality of the researcher.

Critics argue further that the problem with both ethnophilosophy and philosophical sagacity is that there is surely an important distinction between philosophy and the history of ideas, although other philosophers consider the two topics to be remarkably similar. No matter how interesting the beliefs of a people such as the Akan or the Yoruba
Yoruba people
The Yoruba people are one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa. The majority of the Yoruba speak the Yoruba language...

 may be to the philosopher, they remain beliefs, not philosophy. To call them philosophy is to use a secondary sense of that term, as in “my philosophy is live and let live”.

Professional philosophy


Professional philosophy is the view that philosophy is a particularly European way of thinking, reflecting, and reasoning, that such a way is relatively new to (most of) Africa, and that African philosophy must grow in terms of the philosophical work carried out by Africans and applied to (perhaps not exclusively) African concerns. This view would be the most common answer of most Western philos­ophers (whether of continental or analytic persuasion) to the question ‘what is African philosophy?’

Critics of this view note the ethnocentricity within this statement. The question to them is "What is philosophy?" Those who hold the viewpoint of the Professional Philosopher would likely answer, "European, Middle Eastern and Asian philosophy alone shall be called philosophy". Professional Philosophers therefore must either provide more detail regarding their views or accept that their views are simply ethnocentric.

Kwanzaa


Created by Maulana Karenga the philosophy of Kwanza is an ongoing synthesis of African thought and practice in constant exchange with the world. One of its central tenets is that culture is the fundamental source of a people's identity, purpose and direction. Thus, Kwanzaa is, in fact, a continuous dialog with African cultures, asking questions and seeking answers to central and enduring concerns of the African and human community. Due to the great variety of African cultures, and the vast genetic diversity of the continent, it could be construed that Kwanzaa is actually a humanistic form of philosophy, due to evidence that all humans originally arose in Africa. At the heart of this project is the continuing quest to define and become the best of what it means to be both African and human in the fullest sense. This involves an ongoing search for models of excellence and paradigms of possibilities in every area of human life, but especially in the seven core areas of culture: history; spirituality and ethics; social organization; political organization; economic organization; creative production (art, music, literature, dance, etc.) and ethos. It also involves creating a language and logic of liberation, one of opposition and affirmation, and a corresponding liberational practice to create a just and good society and pose an effective paradigm of mutually beneficial human relations and human possibility.

Nationalist–ideological philosophy


Nationalist–ideological philosophy might be seen as a special case of philosophic sagacity, in which not sages but ideologues are the subjects. Alternatively, we might see it as a case of profes­sional political philosophy. In either case, the same sort of problem arises: we have to retain a distinction between ideology and philosophy, between sets of ideas and a special way of reasoning.

Ethnophilosophers attempt to show that African philosophy is distinctive by treading heavily on the 'African' and almost losing the 'philosophy'. Their main rivals, the professional philosophers, adopt the view that philosophy is a particular way of thinking, reflecting, reasoning, that such a way is relatively new to (most of) Africa, and that African philosophy must grow in terms of the philosophical work carried out by Africans and applied to (perhaps not exclusively) African concerns. Thus they tread heavily on the 'philosophy', but risk losing the 'African'; this risk, however, is by no means unavoidable, and many African philosophers have successfully avoided it, including Kwame Anthony Appiah
Kwame Anthony Appiah
Kwame Anthony Appiah is a Ghanaian-British-American philosopher, cultural theorist, and novelist whose interests include political and moral theory, the philosophy of language and mind, and African intellectual history. Kwame Anthony Appiah grew up in Ghana and earned a Ph.D. at Cambridge...

, Kwame Gyekye
Kwame Gyekye
Kwame Gyekye is a Ghanaian philosopher, and an important figure in the development of modern African philosophy.Gyekye studied first at the University of Ghana, then at Harvard University, where he obtained his Ph.D. with a thesis on Græco–Arabic philosophy...

, Kwasi Wiredu
Kwasi Wiredu
Kwasi Wiredu is one of the foremost African philosophers working today.Wiredu was born in Kumasi, Ghana in 1931, and attended Adisadel College from 1948 to 1952. It was during this period that he discovered philosophy, through Plato and Bertrand Russell, and he gained a place at the University...

, Oshita O. Oshita, Lansana Keita, Peter Bodunrin, and Chukwudum B. Okolo.

(part of this article is based upon Peter J. King's introduction to African philosophy (see link below), used with permission)

See also


African philosophers
  • Ethiopian philosophy
    Ethiopian philosophy
    By “Ethiopian philosophy” is generally understood the philosophy written in Ge'ez on the territory of present-day Ethiopia and Eritrea. Because of its written character and of its developing during Ethiopian Middle-Ages, Ethiopian philosophy occupies a unique position within African...

  • Monism
    Monism
    Monism is any philosophical view which holds that there is unity in a given field of inquiry. Accordingly, some philosophers may hold that the universe is one rather than dualistic or pluralistic...


Further reading

  • Peter O. Bodunrin Philosophy in Africa: Trends and Perspectives (1985: University of Ife Press)
  • Paulin J. Hountondji African Philosophy: Myth and Reality (1983: Bloomington, Indiana University Press)
  • Samuel Oluoch Imbo An Introduction to African Philosophy (1998: Rowman & Littlefield) ISBN 0-8476-8841-0
  • Bruce B. Janz "African Philosophy" PDF
  • Safro Kwame Reading in African Philosophy: An Akan Collection (1995: University Press of America) ISBN 0-8191-9911-7
  • H. Odera Oruka [ed.] Sage Philosophy [Volume 4 in Philosophy of History and Culture] (1990: E.J. Brill) ISBN 90-04-09283-8, ISSN 0922-6001
  • Tsenay Serequeberhan [ed.] African Philosophy: The Essential Readings (1991: Paragon House) ISBN 1-55778-309-8
  • Placide Tempels
    Placide Tempels
    Placide Frans Tempels was a Belgian missionary who became famous for his book Bantu Philosophy.-Life:...

    , La philosophie bantoue (Bantu Philosophy), Elisabethville, 1945, Full text in French here.
  • Kwasi Wiredu
    Kwasi Wiredu
    Kwasi Wiredu is one of the foremost African philosophers working today.Wiredu was born in Kumasi, Ghana in 1931, and attended Adisadel College from 1948 to 1952. It was during this period that he discovered philosophy, through Plato and Bertrand Russell, and he gained a place at the University...

     Philosophy and an African (1980: Cambridge University Press)
  • Kwasi Wiredu [ed.] A Companion to African Philosophy (2004: Blackwell)
  • Kwasi Wiredu Toward Decolonizing African Philosophy And Religion In: African Studies Quarterly, The Online Journal for African Studies, Volume 1, Issue 4, 1998
  • Olabiyi Babalola Yai, Guest Editor: African Studies Quarterly, Volume 1, Issue 4 (1998): Religion and Philosophy in Africa
  • Mubabinge Bilolo, Contribution à l’histoire de la reconnaissance de Philosophie en Afrique Noire Traditionnelle, (1978: Kinshasa, Facultés Catholiques de Kinshasa, Licence en Philosophie et Religions Africaines)
  • Mubabinge Bilolo, Les cosmo-théologies philosophiques de l'Égypte Antique. Problématiques, Prémisses herméneutiques et problèmes majeurs. Academy of African Thought, Sect. I, vol. 1, (1986: Kinshasa-Munich-Libreville, African University Studies)
  • Peter O. Bodunrin Philosophy in Africa: Trends and Perspectives (1985: University of Ife Press)
  • Kwame Gyekye An Essay of African Philosophical Thought: The Akan Conceptual Scheme (1995: Temple University Press) ISBN 1-56639-380-9
  • Paulin J. Hountondji African Philosophy: Myth and Reality (1983: Bloomington, Indiana University Press)
  • Samuel Oluoch Imbo An Introduction to African Philosophy (1998: Rowman & Littlefield) ISBN 0-8476-8841-0
  • Bruce B. Janz "African Philosophy" PDF
  • Safro Kwame Reading in African Philosophy: An Akan Collection (1995: University Press of America) ISBN 0-8191-9911-7
  • Joseph I. Omoregbe “African philosophy: yesterday and today” (in Bodunrin; references to reprint in [E. C. Eze] [ed.] African Philosophy: An Anthology (1998: Oxford, Blackwell))
  • H. Odera Oruka [ed.] Sage Philosophy [Volume 4 in Philosophy of History and Culture] (1990: E.J. Brill) ISBN 90-04-09283-8, ISSN 0922-6001
  • Tsenay Serequeberhan [ed.] African Philosophy: The Essential Readings (1991: Paragon House) ISBN 1-55778-309-8
  • Placide Tempels
    Placide Tempels
    Placide Frans Tempels was a Belgian missionary who became famous for his book Bantu Philosophy.-Life:...

    , La philosophie bantoue (Bantu Philosophy), Elisabethville, 1945, Full text in French here.
  • Kwasi Wiredu
    Kwasi Wiredu
    Kwasi Wiredu is one of the foremost African philosophers working today.Wiredu was born in Kumasi, Ghana in 1931, and attended Adisadel College from 1948 to 1952. It was during this period that he discovered philosophy, through Plato and Bertrand Russell, and he gained a place at the University...

     Philosophy and an African (1980: Cambridge University Press)
  • Kwasi Wiredu [ed.] A Companion to African Philosophy (2004: Blackwell)
  • Kwasi Wiredu Toward Decolonizing African Philosophy And Religion In: African Studies Quarterly, The Online Journal for African Studies, Volume 1, Issue 4, 1998
  • Olabiyi Babalola Yai, Guest Editor: African Studies Quarterly, Volume 1, Issue 4 (1998): Religion and Philosophy in Africa

External links