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Afro-Centrism and African Philosophy

Is there or has there been an African philosophy?

There is a millennially long tradition of oral African philosophy, as well as many active twentieth century African philosophers. Once this thought is presented in established Western philosophical terms, however, it does not so much support Afro-centrism as a perspective of racial uplift as it evinces a philosophy by asking questions about its own philosophical enterprise. That is, a great deal of contemporary African philosophy is itself concerned with the question of whether it is philosophy and what that means in an African, although not Afro-centrist, context.

The context is not Afro-centrist because Africans who remained in Africa and were not brought to Europe or the Americas had no need for the distinctive uplift of Afrocentrism. Instead, the focus on Africa from an African perspective turns on the question of what the multiplicity of countries and cultures in Africa, each with distinct languages and traditions, have in common so that they can view themselves as African. They share a colonized past and poverty in the present world; they have been designated by biological race, though this is an illusion.



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