Volume 8, Issue 2, May/August 2019
Oladele Abiodun Balogun
Between Theory and Praxis
Reply to Thaddeus Metz
In a Guest Lecture delivered by Professor Thaddeus Metz at a Colloquium organized in honour of my 50th birthday, he critically interrogated various aspects of my African philosophical scholarship with a particular focus on what I consider as the task of an African philosopher in the twenty-first century. Drawing on the existential and social problems in contemporary Africa (such as poverty, corruption, leadership problem, ethno-religious crisis, terrorism, refugee crisis, women’s right, amongst others), I have argued that African philosophy should be tailored towards ameliorating these problems as a way of making life meaningful. Metz’s striking criticism is that doing philosophy that does not necessary address existential and socio-political problems in Africa is worth taking seriously in African philosophy. He adds that the very idea of “meaningfulness constitutes a strong, competing reason,” to do philosophy for its own sake. In this article, I reply Metz, contending that his critique only differs in degree from the position I earlier defended but not in kind regarding the connection between theory and praxis. While we both agree on the imperativeness of theorizing in African philosophy, I argue further that African philosophy should go beyond this to solve the practical issues relevant to the advancement of humanity and the society.