Talk:African philosophy

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Classical era[edit]

Perhaps also deserves some mention of North African philosophers in the classical era? -- Jmabel | Talk 19:01, Feb 14, 2005 (UTC)

Yes — in fact it needs much more, in many respects. This was just meant to be a start. When I get time I'll start adding some of what's missing. As regards modern philosophy, I'm OK on the Anglo-American-influenced side, but I'm completely incomprehending when it comes to the Francophone stuff. I'll get going on the Classical philosophers though. Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 19:22, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)

OK, I've sketched an introduction (which needs more work), and prepared for an historical survey. That will doubtless have to mention the business of Black Athena (a brief mention, I hope), but should focus on actual philosophers, mainly from North Africa (there's a question, of course, as to whether Hellenic Egyptians should count, but I'd be inclined to err on the side of inclusion). The middle period is probably going to be quite thin, but perhaps some references to ethnophilosophy and philosophical sagacity will fill it out a bit. Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 21:56, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)

This is good. I'd probably take out "with some reason", unless you can attribute it, and any other similar commentary. I was interested to see Peter J. King had a Wikipedia article. He's written some nice poetry. SlimVirgin 09:57, Feb 15, 2005 (UTC)
The "with some reason" was based on a number of comments made by various philosophers (it's a common complaint among African philosophers); I'll have to track some down and give a direct quotation (they're all in the reading that I've added). (Oh, and looking at Peter J. King. I notice that you've made his "Early life" take him up to thirty-nine; there's hope for us all...) Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 13:15, 15 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Changed to Background. ;-) Do you happen to know whether this is him? [1] If so, I thought I might use it provided it enlarges without blurring. SlimVirgin 13:31, Feb 15, 2005 (UTC)
No — I know who all of those people are with exception of the woman on the left. Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 13:48, 15 Feb 2005 (UTC)
The guy in the pink shirt is quite attractive. I was looking forward to e-mailing him about his photograph. Pity . . . ;-) SlimVirgin 22:59, Feb 15, 2005 (UTC)
I should claim that it's me, but in all honesty I can't. In fact, when I looked closer I realised that I wasn't sure who he was after all. I've asked one or two people who might know; I'll get back to you (with his e-mail address?) if I find anything. Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 12:49, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)

POV question[edit]

The passage that begins, "The main objection raised to this sort of approach is that the actual philosophical work…": I agree, but in the article, who is raising this objection? As it reads, it seems like the narrative voice of the article is raising it, which is clearly POV. -- Jmabel | Talk 05:57, Apr 27, 2005 (UTC)

i agree. i attributed the text for now ... it would be nice to get a published philosopher expressing those ideas ... Ungtss 06:34, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Ungtss, is the redlinked Bantu Philosophy a book title? If so, it should be italicized (and probably added as a reference, with publication information. If not, the sentence where it appears is hard to parse. -- Jmabel | Talk 15:29, Apr 27, 2005 (UTC)
Yes -- it's a book -- i'll italicise it. Thanks. Ungtss 21:30, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The main source was the text acknowledged in the article (the King). Incidentally, first, the quotation marks were in keeping with Wikipedia style, and secondly, someone has changed the punctuation from Wikipedia style (commas, etc., outside quotation marks unless they're part of the quotation). It's a bit irritating to have to change them all back. Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 21:23, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

This article misses the point[edit]

I think a lot of confusion and stumbling over words could be saved on this page by simply mentioning the African Diaspora[1] as central topic of African philosophy and adding some context with regards to racism and colonialism. Right now it reads like the work of a bemused late 19th century anthropologist. It's high handed, contemptuous and totally unacceptable. futurebird 04:03, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

without a written language?[edit]

From the section on Sub-Saharan Africa:

We start with yet another distinction: that between philosophers and philosophy. Paulin J. Hountondji has argued that, without a written language: “thousands of Socrates could never have given birth to Greek philosophy... so thousands of philosophers without written works could never have given birth to an African philosophy”

I don't know if it makes sense to lead with this when Sub-Saharan Africa has had written language since at least 800 AD. We just don't know how to read it and much of it has been destroyed. Or, at least, this objection could be added. futurebird 06:04, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

one word Ge'ez or is this my imagaination how people speak around a script used by 60 million people.--Halaqah 02:53, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Daniel Montano - philosophy doesn't have to be written, it may be expressed in artifacts, dances, religion, beliefs, narratives, folklore, language, and lifestyle (e.g. nomadic) - See: "African Philosophy": —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Letranova (talkcontribs) 22:14, 6 April 2007 (UTC).

Race card needed and valid here[edit]

Once again a bunch or racist reassertions. Am What happened to Ethiopia? And Songhai and Sokoto thinkers, Uthman Dan fodio ? The thing about racist assumptions is they are so locked in themselves that they miss facts staring them in the face, lame runarounds skipping all kinds of tradition and written works because still they say "no script in Africa" what the h"ll is Ge'ez then?--Halaqah 01:58, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

I wish I had a background on this topic, and I wish I had time, but I will be back---Halaqah 01:58, 30 October 2006 (UTC)


Why is monism listed in the "see also" section? The only mention of Africa in the monism article is a mutula "see also" back to this article. So some editor apparently thinks they are related, but neither article gives any indication of the nature of that relation. - Jmabel | Talk 04:13, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

It has been removed as you are correct.--Halaqah 02:52, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Is this page a JOKE![edit]

There is at least one example of a pre-modern sub-Saharan philosopher in Omoregbe's sense What does that mean? U searched the whole world and found a "pre-modern Sub-Saharan philips.." Wow but does he speaks goodie English too, and can he say his name? wow! like i said i am watching this page and when i return it gun git cleanz up. Yes masa i am gonna clean it up.--Halaqah 02:41, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

If that was intended to communicate anything other than that you don't like the article (I don't think much of it either), it went by me without registering. - Jmabel | Talk 20:20, 1 November 2006 (UTC)
I have added some references. I have also added a link to a site with a large bibliography showing that there is a lot of stuff missing here. Also, there might be a lot of pre-modern philosophical writing from Ethiopia (Ge'ez). Ány expert around here? There is definitely a lot of philosophical work in African Islamic philosophy from the time of the university of Timbuktu etc. But instead of lamenting about the article, let us just work on improving it. Nannus 20:31, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

There seems to be this notion that sub-saharan Africa did not have written language and thereby could not have produce philosophy, Eurocentrism at its crudest. People need to be reminded that although writing was not widespread, sub-saharan Africa did have written language and literate societies while most of Europe was backwards and primitive. Sub-saharan Africa had literature before Europe with the exception of Greece(Nubia case in point). The Mali empire, Songhay empire, Nubia, Axum, and the Swahili states were all literate sub-saharan societies. Omniposcent (talk) 09:46, 13 December 2007 (UTC)


Is Kawaida really African philosophy? (Just a question) Please discuss. Nannus 20:31, 7 February 2007 (UTC) yes it is karenga wrote a massive book Maat the moral something, which shows the philophocal synth of kawaida. it basically draws from African tradition a philosophy for liberation,--HalaTruth(ሐላቃህ) 21:14, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

From the Ron Karenga article, it does not become clear that Kawaida is African philosophy. It should be elaborated. From that article, on gets the impression that Karenga just mad up his own philophy and then translated some of the terms into Kiswahili. If not only the words but actually the ideas are derived from Africa, then this should be explained either in the Karenga article or better in a separate Kawaida article. I find the redirection of the term Kawaida to the African Philosophy article questionable. More work should be done on this subject. Nannus 17:32, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't know whether Kawaida is African philosophy or not, but I agree with Nannus that it should have its own page and not just redirect to African philosophy since it has been quite influential. There is a long page on Kwanzaa which is good but Kawaida, from what I understand, is very much the philosophical and spiritual underpinning of this holiday.
Incidentally I don't know what to do with this page, but it does seem to be a bit of a disaster and maybe should not even exist given that there is no page for European philosophy (it redirects to "continental philosophy" which is far more specific) or Asian philosophy (which redirects to "Eastern philosophy" and largely deals with traditions from China, India, and Japan). I would think the philosophical traditions of Africa (and presumably Egypt should be mentioned here!) are too diverse to be folded under one article. It might make more sense, assuming this gets developed more, to have a portal page on "African philosophies" instead. But now I'll cop out and say that I am completely unqualified to do anything like that or to even put in any work on this article! Sorry. I do hope someone steps up and creates a Kawaida article though.--Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 19:53, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
This "Kawaida" is definitely not an African philosophy. It is something authored by an American in America. Would this not be a subpage for "American Philosophy" or "Philosophy in America"? Besides the whole text of this paragraph is just a literal copy of the first paragraph of [Mr. Karengas "US" organization Website]. --Kipala (talk) 16:58, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

African Diaspora?[edit]

Do you think this page should be a part of WP:AFRO, the wikiproject for the African Diaspora? futurebird 21:26, 7 February 2007 (UTC)


The article contains the Template:PanAfrican. I had changed this template because it is very badly designed. On the template's talk page, I had written the following:

This Template is very badly designed. I came here from the page on African Philosophy, on which the template is included. The template contains some links relevant to African philosophy, like, e.g. a link to Cheikh Anta Diop. Since the main contains a link to the article about him already, ther is no need to have a second reference in the template. On the other hand, the template contains links to articles irrelevant to the topic of African Philosophy. There should not be, for example, a link from the African Philosophy article to the Kwanzaa article since Kwanzaa is neither an African thing (it is a part of Afroamerican culture, not of African culture) nor is it a philosophical topic. So why should this link be there. The informativeness of Wikipedia depends to a great deal on the relevance of the links. So for each article containing this template, the links are either redundant because they should be in the main article already or they are irrelevant. As a result, all of these links should be removed from the template. If these things are relevant for panafricanism, the should be referenced from the panafricanism artilce and that would be enough. Therefore, I have removed all of these links from the template. This template in its current form is a prime example of what a template should not be. Please note that this is a structural argument, saying nothing about the value of panafricanism. It would apply as well to any other template of this type.

I had than deleted those links from the template. However, somebody reverted my change, so all those links are back. I suppose that most of these links do not belong in the African Philosophy article. Consequently, I am going to delete this template from the article. I think such templates destroy the structore of wikipedia by creating irrelevant links. Nannus 17:19, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Comment: On African Philosophy[edit]

The first modern Course on African Philosophy was taught in Canada by Marcus Garvey in 1937. In 2001, students of African philosophy updated this course by adding a timeline of African philosophy: through antiquity, the classical period, and the contemporary period. Each of these three periods list the philosopher, the school of thought they're associated with, the language that they wrote their original philosophies in,as well as and the philosophical problems of that given era. These results were published in an academic journal called Imhotep Magazine in a special issue entitled 'On African Philosophy", edited by Theophile Obenga. To say the least, African Philosophy is a highly active field of research around the world, older documents are often recovered and new philosophers and ideas are added to the time line.

There's also a book in English: "African Philosophy: The Pharoanic Period. 2800BC-330AD" So for those adept Wikipedians interested in writing an accurate statement on African Philosophy on Wikipedia, let us correspond, as I am a bit new to Wikipedia but I do have access to vital resources on african philosophy, primary and secondary, useful to this project. Otherwise, what is gathered so far on Wikipedia in regards to African Philosophy is a crude attempt at best.~~ Seqoyah bey 10:49, 8 September 2007 (UTC)


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

Is it really meaningful to say that "African philosophy is any philosophy done by [people] engaged in the realm of African philosophy"? seems pretty circular to me. (talk) 18:10, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

Very true, the article is sub-standard. --Halqh حَلَقَة הלכהሐላቃህ (talk) 09:05, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

Very poor, poor did I say poor standard[edit]

This article needs an expert, it isnt even an article. I dont know this topic but I know it is poor.--Halqh حَلَقَة הלכהሐላቃህ (talk) 09:05, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

And it's a mass of copyright violations as well. EEng (talk) 23:22, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

Pre-Modern Section[edit]

The section on pre-modern African philosophy needs to be entirely re-written, if not deleted. Someone attempts to demonstrate that there were "philosophers" (in the hopelessly broad definition being used) by appealing to the fact that honour and hubris were discussed in the Iliad. It's a blatant non-sequitur. Furthermore, the philosophers who are mentioned in this section are either Islamic philosophers or (bizarrely) Augustine of Hippo. Islamic philosophy is an area unto itself which doesn't need to be discussed here, and the only mentioned link between Augustine and Africa is that he happened to write something while in (North) Africa. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:26, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

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