Eurocentric Pitfalls in the Practice of African Philosophy: Reflections on African Universities

Authors

  • Ephraim Gwaravanda Great Zimbabwe University
  • Dr Amasa Ndofirepi University of Johannesburg

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.25159/2413-3086/6678

Keywords:

African philosophy, Eurocentrism, Universalism, Culture, Language, Decolonisation

Abstract

We argue that African philosophy scholars are sometimes blinded by Eurocentric tendencies in the practice of African philosophy, and that it is important to identify and overcome these problems. The research gap we intend to fill is that the route of self-examination, self-criticism and self-evaluation has been underexplored in the practice of African philosophy at universities in Africa. The self-understanding of African philosophy is necessary for the reconstruction of indigenous elements for the purpose of African development. Firstly, African philosophy is divided along Eurocentric lines of analytic and continental philosophy. We argue that such a dualism closes other approaches to African philosophy. Secondly, the practice of African philosophy is done in the language of the colonisers; however, concepts from indigenous African languages remain largely unexplored. Thirdly, the Eurocentric approach of making philosophy “universal” and “transcultural,” results in African scholars seeking a general African philosophy that fails to accommodate the diversity and richness of African cultures. Fourthly, African philosophy, as practised in African universities, tends to disregard African culture as the basis of philosophical thought in trying to make philosophy scientific and objective. We argue for decolonial thinking as a means of making African philosophy more genuine.

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Author Biography

Dr Amasa Ndofirepi, University of Johannesburg

Lecturer, Faculty of Education

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Published

2020-11-27 — Updated on 2021-03-05

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How to Cite

Gwaravanda, Ephraim, and Amasa Ndofirepi. (2020) 2021. “Eurocentric Pitfalls in the Practice of African Philosophy: Reflections on African Universities”. Phronimon 21 (March):21 pages. https://doi.org/10.25159/2413-3086/6678.

Issue

Section

Research Articles
Received 2019-08-06
Accepted 2020-08-24
Published 2021-03-05