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Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya

Volume 1, Issue 1, June 2009

D.A. Masolo
Pages 43-68

Narrative and Experience of Community as Philosophy of Culture
(Community as Method and Principle of Thought)

This paper argues that the distinctive feature of African philosophising is a communitarian outlook expressed through various forms of narrative. The paper first illustrates the close relationship between narrative and community in the African cultural milieu. It then goes on to examine the way in which African academics in various fields have employed the narrative technique in their works. Next, the paper urges that through migration to European and American institutions of higher learning, African philosophers have had a significant impact on Western philosophy. Thereafter, the paper argues that while a communalistic outlook is part and parcel of African philosophising, it does not imply an insular approach to identity, but rather accommodates the fact of the dynamism of the sources of identity. Finally, the paper points out that one implication of the communalistic and narrativistic approach of African philosophy is that the dichotomy between “analytic” and “continental” philosophy, so common in the West, is not applicable to it.