Philosophy Today

Volume 67, Issue 3, Summer 2023

Special Topic: Hermann Levin Goldschmidt’s Contradiction Set Free

Aloysius N. EzeobaOrcid-ID
Pages 677-696

W. Norris Clarke’s “Substance-in-Relation”
A Viable Model for Reconstruction of African Personalism

W. Norris Clarke described his personalism as “substance-in-relation,” which emphasizes the equality of primordial modes of substance and relation as a solution to the dichotomy between substance and relation created in the history of metaphysics of the human person. African personalism seems to conceive the human person as essentially relational, which is mostly expressed in the saying: “I am because we are.” Though some contemporary African scholars, like Molefe, try to indicate the priority of the individual, the relational concept remains dominant, which makes it inclined toward collectivism, that most often seems to repress the individual (substance). This article aims to attempt a proposal of a reconstruction of African personalism using the model of Clarke’s personalism by laying equal emphasis on the primordial modes of substance and relation in order to guard against individualism on the one hand and collectivism on the other hand.