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Filosofia Theoretica

Volume 5, Issue 1, 2016

Aribiah David ATTOE
Pages 100-108

An Essay Concerning the Foundational Myth of Ethnophilosophy

Ethnophilosophy, although glorified by some African philosophers, remains a problem in our undertakings in African philosophy. In its infancy, the problem revolved around the call for a total decolonization of African thought and philosophy, which eventually led to the proliferation of a vast array of mostly descriptive literature about the cultural views and practices of the African, sold to us as not only philosophy but genuine African philosophy. In more recent times, due to the growing development of African philosophy, this drive towards descrciption is gradually waning and from its dying flames, a new and more subtle problem has arisen. This problem lays in the call by most African philosophers, to make philosophy done in Africa to be more African in nature, the methodology and/or logic of African philosophy becomes a narrow discourse which is based on the dogma of descriptive story telling of ethnophilosophy. This is the problem which this essay seeks to address. Thus I shall in this essay, expose the myth of ethnophilosophy and thereafter suggest that African philosophy builds its foundation on criticality rather than ethnophilosophy. As an addendum to this, it is also suggested here that the narrow nature of the false descriptive methodology of mainstream African philosophy (which is based on the more subtle implications of ethnophilosophy) be at the very least, de-emphasised. I shall employ conversationalism as the method of my inquiry.

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