Volume 4, Issue 1, 2015
Jonathan O. Chimakonam
Addressing Uduma’s Africanness of a Philosophy Question and Shifting the Paradigm from Metaphilosophy to Conversational Philosophy
This conversation is inspired by Uduma O. Uduma’s essay entitled “The Question of the ‘African’ in African Philosophy: In search of a Criterion for the Africanness of a Philosophy”. In this essay, Uduma coined what he calls “the Africanness of a Philosophy Question which consists in the ultimate criterion for African philosophy. He was not the first to dwell on the Africanness issue in African philosophy but he was the first, to my knowledge, to christen it as such. Before Uduma framed the question into a proper metaphilosophical concern in African philosophy, old campaigners like Paulin Hountondji, Odera Oruka, Peter Bodunrin, Kwasi Wiredu, Sophie Oluwole, Innocent Onyewuenyi, etc., have all dwelt on it with some going more in-depth than others. I have also dwelt partly on this question before in an essay entitled “The Criteria Question in African Philosop hy: Escape from the Horns of Jingoism and Afrocentrism”. Incidentally, my treatment of the issue was not digestive enough as I did not mention the likes of Bodunrin, Wiredu, Oluwole and even Uduma himself—a terrible short-sightedness—one that I wish to correct in this discussion. My first aim in this work is to attempt to settle this metaphilosophical vicious circle once and for all. On the basis of this, I wish also to orchestrate a shift from the vicious circle of metaphilosophical engagements to a more f ruitful conversational engagement in contemporary African philosophy. Our method shall consist in critical conversationalism.