Volume 28, 2008
Philosophy in Africa
Oladele Abiodun Balogun
Rethinking the Tasks of African Philosophy in the 21st Century
The flurry of debate that trailed the existence of African philosophy in the 1960s and 70s and the consequent demise of the controversies in the late 1990s have occasioned a periodiszation shift from traditional African philosophy to contemporary African philosophy. While the scope and nature of predominant issues in
these periods differ considerably, what ought to constitute the basis and shape the direction of discourse in contemporary African philosophy remain controversial. In this regard, this paper argues that rethinking African philosophy should be high on the agenda. It harps that more fundamental to contemporary African philosophy, is the critical need for self-assessment and re-evaluation, which would involve rethinking the nature, direction, scope, method and place of African philosophy. Rethinking African philosophy is a cognitive process of charting a new course of pragmatic reflection on metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, aesthetical, social and political themes in contemporary African philosophy, in order to make relevant philosophical abstraction to practical human problems in
the continent. The case is justifiably made that those African philosophers should make the influence of their speculations spill beyond the confine of academic citadel to the outside world such that will influence the lives of contemporary Africans.