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Filosofia Theoretica

Volume 10, Issue 3, September/December 2021

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Displaying: 1-8 of 8 documents


1. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
M. John Lamola Orcid-ID Introduction: The Crisis of African Studies and Philosophy in the Epoch of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
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The very claim of the historical instance of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is increasingly being subjected to critical interrogation from a variety of cultural and ideological perspectives. From an Afrocentric theory of history, this questioning of the ontology of the 4IR is sharpened by Africa’s experience of the claimed progressive mutation of global industrial progress from the “first” to this “fourth” revolution. Africa experienced the first industrial revolution as a European revolution in the exploitation of her natural and human resources, as well as the despoliation of her cultural-epistemic sovereignty. The challenge to fully engage in the theorisation of this 4IR, given the overwhelming and inexorable effects of its digital technologies on the personhood, sociality and geopolitical state of Africa has exposed the critical need for a set of rigorous Africanist analytical tools and epistemological approaches capable of guiding Africa’s appropriation of this techno-social revolution. This essay introduces the collection of research papers that have been selected for their endeavour to meet this challenge. It is highlighted that all of them move from a unique approach that asserts that technological progress is historical-cultural and socially embedded. Some of them address the question of the historico-ontological status of the 4IR innovatively with original African methodological tools, while others demonstrate how an African epistemology can be applied to issues such a digital virtual communities and robotics. This contribution to the bourgeoning field of African Philosophy of Technology is admired as work in progress.
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2. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Ferdinand Mutaawe Kasozi Orcid-ID Ntu’ologico-Agnostic Reflections on the Fourth Industrial Revolution Premise
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This paper proposes an ntu’ologically analytical questioning of the contentious Fourth Industrial Revolution phenomenon, as it suggests that an industrial revolution ought to be appreciated in causation or causality terms. The cause of an industrial revolution is required to comprise ‘adequacy quality causing interactions’ among entities of specific ntu categories. These interactions bring into being nine basic ntu’ological adequacy qualities or industrial revolution criteria. For that reason, nine selected modes of interaction, called in this paper, ntu’ological interactions forms, guide the analytical questioning of the possible existence of a Fourth Industrial Revolution. The aforementioned nine criteria are incontestable in respect of the First, Second and Third Industrial Revolutions. This paper, however, takes the agnostic position that: the Fourth Industrial Revolution may exist, but we cannot prove this with theoretical reason.
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3. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
A.A. Oyekunle Orcid-ID Ideating African Indigenous Knowledge Systems for Africa’s Participation in the 4IR: From Content Framework to Process Formation
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With its envisioned benefits of increased productivity, enhanced decision making with digital-based tools, qualitative and efficient processes, improved life expectancy rate, etc., the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is a desideratum for contemporary society. The need to prioritize skills and knowledge needed for the participation of Africa in the 4IR thus becomes imperative. This paper argues for indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) as a possible approach to enhance African participation in the 4IR. Consequently, the paper examines the methodical perspectives that would be appropriate for framing African Indigenous Knowledge Systems (AIKS) as a tool for advancing science and technology. It argues for the process form of ideating IKS against the content forms implicit in the various views on IKS. It is concluded that the process form of ideating IKS – which essentially focuses on the critical analysis of the systematic formations and development of IKS – unearths the epistemological basis for scientific postulations and technological advancement in Africa.
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4. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Uchenna A. Ezeogu Orcid-ID Fourth Industrial Revolution and Geopolitics of Knowledge Production: The Question of Africa’s Place in the Global Space
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Francis Fukuyama postulated that there are two powerful forces at work in human history. One, he calls, ‘the logic of modern science’ and the other, ‘the struggle for recognition’. I agree with Fukuyama that human developmental progression is propelled by these twin principles. It is my position that these principles have been the drivers of geopolitics. In this paper, I argue that, in addition, knowledge production is a major factor in geopolitics and that the Euro-American worldview has occupied the place of hegemony by reason of knowledge production. Africa has been denied having any form of epistemic tradition by the Euro-American world to sustain itself in the position of hegemony. In the era of Fourth Industrial Revolution, it will be antithetical for Africa to continue to adopt or consume technologies driven by Eurocentrism without projecting its contribution to the global space. Hence, using a critical hermeneutical approach, I contend that Africa needs to make a unique African contribution in the era of Fourth Industrial Revolution. It is Africa’s unique contribution that will guarantee Africa a place in geopolitics.
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5. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Reginald M.J. Oduor Orcid-ID The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Inclusiveness, Affordability, Cultural Identity, and Ethical Orientation
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Discussions on the impact and future directions of technology often proceed from an empirical point of view that seems to presume that the ebb and flow of technological developments is beyond the control of humankind, so that all that humanity can do is adjust to it. However, such an approach easily neglects several crucial normative considerations that could enhance the standing of individual human beings and whole communities as rational users of technology rather than its slaves. Besides, more often than not, technological products are designed in ways that neglect the needs of persons with disabilities, thereby perpetuating their exclusion from society. Consequently, this article proposes four normative considerations to guide the initiatives of African societies in their deployment of the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, namely, inclusiveness to meet the needs of all human beings, affordability to bridge the digital divide, respect for cultural identity to guard against cultural imperialism, and an ethical orientation as the overarching guide to building a truly human society.
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6. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Irina Turner, Orcid-ID Siri Lamoureaux, Orcid-ID James L. Z. Merron Orcid-ID Indiscipline as Method: From Telescopes to Ventilators in Times of Covid
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There is no unproblematic way to study things as “African”, yet an epistemologically situated approach based on concrete technological projects situated in Africa and their social and political implications offers an important account of the intersection of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and African Studies. We explore this perspective through the notion of “indiscipline” using the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope project (SKA) based in South Africa as a case study through which to observe “indiscipline” as a methodological approach to technoscience at work. Indiscipline helps frame the socio-technical (by)products of astrophysics and engineering, and we present the production of ventilators for COVID-19 patients as an example of how the design of mega-science projects can become entangled with the dynamic concerns of society. Our conclusion elaborates on the politics of large technological systems, opening up a conversation on the intersection of science and society in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in African settings, using the template of experiences with the SKA and the National Ventilator Project in South Africa.
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7. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Stephen Nkansah Morgan, Orcid-ID Beatrice Okyere-Manu Orcid-ID African Ethics and Online Communities: An Argument for a Virtual Communitarianism
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A virtual community is generally described as a group of people with shared interests, ideas, and goals in a particular digital group or virtual platform. Virtual communities have become ubiquitous in recent times, and almost everyone belongs to one or multiple virtual communities. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with its associated national lockdowns, has made virtual communities more essential and a necessary part of our daily lives, whether for work and business, educational purposes or keeping in touch with friends and family. Given these facts, how do we ensure that virtual communities become a true community qua community? We address this question by proposing and arguing for a ‘virtual communitarianism’—an online community that integrates essential features of traditional African communitarianism in its outlook and practice. The paper’s position is that virtual communitarianism can make for a strong ethical virtual community where members can demonstrate a strong sense of group solidarity, care and compassion towards each other. The inclusion of these virtues can bring members who often are farapart and help create a stronger community bond. This will ensure that the evolution of virtual communities does not happen without the integration of progressive African communitarian values.
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8. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Catherine F Botha Orcid-ID Gender and Humanoid Robots: A Somaesthetic Analysis
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I discuss in this paper how robotic scientists tend to produce replicas of human bodies that are consistent with their own cultural norms by exploring how gender is embodied in humanoid robots. My focus is specifically on care robots, and their reception in the African context. I argue that since the bodies of the robotic scientists are the reference points according to which they design and manufacture robots, a somaesthetics of robotics can best reveal and challenge how gendered norms are materialised in these machines.
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