A Detailed History Of African Philosophy


One of the challenges that have persisted in African philosophy through the centuries is the question, if there is an African philosophy at all. Thus, when one uses the term African, one is asked to contextualize the term: Does it (the term African) refer to the content of the philosophy or does it qualify the identity of the philosophers themselves? Whether resting with the former, or the latter, or making a synthesis of both perspectives, our Western counterparts in the field of philosophy, history, and anthropology have had it as a preoccupation to prove at all costs, that we are devoid of the concept of rationality. At least, that we posses no rational abilities at all, or at most, that every rational process we engage in is passive and unreflective.  Basically, the need to portray Africans in the right light gave birth to an African concept of rationality—to show that African philosophy is not in any way inferior to Western or Eastern philosophy became a task for African scholars. This paper relates the meaning, problems, and perspectives in African philosophy. Such exposition is appropriate in understanding the process of African rationality as it engages us in its history—the myths; the facts, and how it has been able to cope with the numerous challenges it has always been faced with.