The first group of episodes on Africana philosophy really does begin at the very beginning, as we consider the hypothesis that philosophy is a universal human activity and was already present in prehistoric Africa. From there we move on to the philosophical texts of ancient Egypt, focusing on works of ethical instruction and dialogue, and then to precolonial philosophical texts from Ethiopia and Islamic intellectual traditions in sub-Saharan Africa. Our focus turns after that to attempts to delineate philosophical ideas in African oral traditions and the debate sparked by these attempts. What can we learn and what should we say about traditional African ideas concerning time, God, or the human person?
Look out for interviews with Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Samuel Imbo, Teodros Kiros, Kai Kresse, Nkiru Nzegwu, Richard Parkinson, and co-host Chike Jeffers!
• L. Apostel, African Philosophy: Myth or Reality? (Gent: 1981).
• M.K. Asante, The Egyptian Philosophers: Ancient African Voices from Imhotep to Akhenaten (Chicago: 2000).
• P.O. Bodunrin (ed.), Philosophy in Africa: Trends and Perspectives (Ife: 1995).
• L.M. Brown, African Philosophy. New and Traditional Perspectives (New York: 2004).
• G. Floistad (ed.), African Philosophy (Dordrecht: 1987).
• R. Finnegan, Oral Literature in Africa (Oxford: 1970).
• D. Forde (ed.), African Worlds: Studies in the Cosmological Ideas and Social Values of African Peoples (Oxford: 1954).
• S. Gbadegesin, African Philosophy: Traditional Yoruba Philosophy and Contemporary African Realities (New York: 1991).
• K. Gyekye, An Essay on African Philosophical Thought: The Akan Conceptual Scheme (Cambridge: 1987).
• B. Hallen, A Short History of African Philosophy (Bloomington: 2002).
• C.B. Hilliard (ed.), Intellectual Traditions of Pre-Colonial Africa (Boston: 1998).
• P.J. Hountondji, African Philosophy: Myth and Reality (London: 1983).
• S.O. Imbo, An Introduction to African Philosophy (Lanham: 1998).
• J. Jahn, Muntu: African Culture and the Western World, trans. M. Grene (New York: 1961).
• B.B. Janz, Philosophy in an African Place (Lanham: 2009).
• C. Jeffers (ed.), Listening to Ourselves: A Multilingual Anthology of African Philosophy (Albany: 2013).
• M. Kebede, Africa's Quest for a Philosophy of Decolonization (Amsterdam: 2004).
• S. Kwame (ed.), Readings in African Philosophy: An Akan Collection (Lanham: 1995).
• D.A. Masolo, African Philosophy in Search of Identity (Bloomington: 1994).
• J.S. Mbiti, African Religions and Philosophy (London: 1969).
• D.A. Masolo and I. Carp (eds), African Philosophy as Cultural Inquiry (Bloomington: 2000).
• F. Ochieng'-Odhiambo, Trends and Issues in African Philosophy (New York: 2010).
• H.O. Oruka, Sage Philosophy: Indigenous Thinkers and Modern Debate on African Philosophy (Leiden: 1990).
• T. Serequeberhan (ed.), African Philosophy: The Essential Readings (New York: 1991).
• T. Serequeberhan, The Hermeneutics of African Philosophy: Horizon and Discourse (London: 1994).
• C. Sumner, Classical Ethiopian Philosophy (Los Angeles: 1994).
• R.F. Thompson, Flash of the Spirit: African and Afro-American Art and Philosophy (New York: 1983).
• K. Wiredu, Philosophy and an African Culture (Cambridge: 1980).
• K. Wiredu, Cultural Universals and Particulars: An African Perspective (Bloomington: 1997).
• K. Wiredu (ed.) A Companion to African Philosophy (Malden: 2004).
• K. Wiredu and K. Gyekye, Person and Community: Ghanaian Philosophical Studies I (Washington DC: 1992).
• R.A. Wright (ed.), African Philosophy. An Introduction (Washington: 1977).
Posted on 15 April 2018
Might philosophy be as old as humankind as we know it? We investigate the implications of findings concerning the origins of humankind in Africa.24 comments
Posted on 13 May 2018
Ancient Egyptian figures and writings including the Pyramid Texts, Imhotep, and the "first monotheist" Akhenaten reflect on the nature of things and questions of morality.9 comments
Posted on 26 May 2018
Ethical reflection in ancient Egyptian grave inscriptions and in works of moral advice, such as the Maxims of Ptahhotep and the Instructions named for Amenemope, Ani, and Merikare.0 comments
Posted on 9 June 2018
Demands for ma’at (justice or truth) and a confrontation with the soul, in the Tale of the Eloquent Peasant and Dispute Between a Man and his Ba.3 comments
Posted on 24 June 2018
Egyptologist Richard Parkinson joins us to talk about the context and meaning of the Eloquent Peasant and other literary works of ancient Egypt.2 comments
Posted on 8 July 2018
Translations of religious and philosophical texts into Ge’ez, a national epic called the Kebra Nagast, and other developments in the story of philosophy in Ethiopia.5 comments
Posted on 2 September 2018
Walda Heywat’s reaction to the thought of his teacher Zera Yacob, and the dispute over the authenticity of these two Ethiopian philosophers.0 comments
Posted on 30 September 2018
The spread of Islamic scholarship in subsaharan Africa, focusing on intellectuals of the Songhay empire around the Niger River in the 15th-17th centuries.4 comments
Posted on 14 October 2018
Uthman Dan Fodio and his family were scholars, poets, and warriors whose jihad in 19th century Nigeria created the Sokoto Caliphate.0 comments
Posted on 11 November 2018
An introduction to the “ethnophilosophy” approach inaugurated by Placide Tempels, its promises and potential pitfalls.2 comments
Posted on 24 November 2018
A conversation with Sam Imbo on approaching oral traditions as philosophy and the Ugandan thinker and poet Okot p'Bitek.21 comments
Posted on 9 December 2018
John Mbiti’s influential and controversial claim that traditional Africans experience time as having “a long past, a present, and virtually no future.”3 comments
Posted on 6 January 2019
Traditional African ideas about personhood, which challenge assumptions about the relation between mind and body, self and other.8 comments
Posted on 17 February 2019
What archeology, ethnography, and philosophical interpretation tell us about the diverse and often ambiguous roles of men and women in traditional African societies.3 comments
Posted on 3 March 2019
An interview with Nkiru Nzegwu on matriarchy, sexuality, and gender fluidity in Africa (with a quick chat at the end about her work on African art).13 comments
Posted on 17 March 2019
Paulin Hountondji (pictured) and other African philosophers criticize ethnophilosophy and advocate a universalist approach.0 comments
Posted on 14 April 2019
An interview with Kai Kresse (pictured here with Ustadh Mahmoud Mau) who discusses his efforts to do "anthropology of philosophy" on the Swahili Coast.2 comments
Posted on 28 April 2019
As the twentieth century draws to a close, the critique of ethnophilosophy gives way to approaches that continue to privilege the study of precolonial traditions, including the approach promoted by Kwasi Wiredu (pictured).
Note: we dedicate this episode to the memory of Kwame Gyekye, who passed away earlier this month.2 comments