“Complex Question” and the African Youth Expression Evhien’ida Compared

Keywords: logic, fallacy, Isua-Akoko, evhien’ida, complex question


The question has been asked whether Africans are capable of critical and logical reasoning. This question has come in different forms ranging from whether Africans are rational to whether there is any such thing as “African philosophy.” Unfortunately many African scholars have become fixated on reacting to the debate in defence of Africa rather than showing how in reality certain philosophies are indigenous to Africa. Even when some attempt to show this, they simply tell stories of traditional beliefs that have long since been abandoned even in communities where they were once in vogue, and the scholars defend primitivism by advocating a return to those practices under different guises. Using comparative examples of the fallacy of the “complex question” and the concept of evhien’ida in an African language, this article attempts to cast doubt on some previous assumptions about African societies by both Afro-apologists and Afro-pessimists. It demonstrates on the one hand that the traditional attribution of the status of objectivity to logic may after all be epistemologically inaccurate as the Western logic is not significantly different from that guiding folk concepts and reason, and on the other hand that the view that African societies are pre-philosophic is arrogant and theoretically unacceptable.

Author Biography

Cyril-Mary Pius Olatunji, University of South Africa
Cyril-Mary Pius Olatunji is also affiliated with the Department of Philosophy at the Adekunle Ajasin University in Nigeria.