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Displaying: 1-11 of 11 documents

1. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Michael Onyebuchi Eze Menkiti, Gyekye and Beyond: Toward a Decolonization of African Political Philosophy
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2. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Molefi Kete Asante The African Struggle to Abandon Westernity: African Philosophy at Eshuean Crossroads
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This essay deals with the ideas of Ifeanyi Menkiti and Kwame Gyekye on the individual-community relationship. I begin with a provocative statement: most African intellectuals struggle with abandoning Westernity and consequently remain at the Eshuean crossroads seeking to please both sides of the abyss. It is my argument that both Menkiti and Gyekye understood that teasing out our philosophical problems might lead us to an intellectual clarity about the concepts of community and individual in African cultures. I am making no attempt to solve this problem of Eshuean crossroads in this essay; I simply want to establishthe grounds upon which the combatants of philosophical ideas like Menkiti and Gyekye are fighting.
3. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Peter Amato The Menkiti-Gyekye Conversation: Framing Persons
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Ifeanyi Menkiti’s “Person and Community in African Traditional Thought” is criticized from the standpoint that the author assumes a dichotomous framework taken over in his decision to articulate the African view of the person in the idiom of modern philosophy. Kwame Gyekye’s critique of Menkiti in “Person and Community in African Thought” is also scrutinized to see if it manages to break free from this framework. I conclude by calling for a departure from quasi-scientificapproaches to human nature and experience that attempt to apprehend culture from a position without culture.
4. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Edwin Etieyibo Moral Force and the “It-It” in Menkiti’s Normative Conception of Personhood
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What is the status and nature of the “it” and the ontological progression from an “it” to an “it” in Ifeanyi Menkiti’s normative conception of a person? In this article, I attempt to preliminarily give some nuance content to the “it” of childhood and the “it” of the nameless dead. My motivation is straightforwardly simple: to defend Menkiti’s claim that both “its” have some depersonalised moral standing or existence. However, in doing so, I argue that a better account of the ontological progression of personhood is from an “it” to an “it-it”5 rather than from an “it” to an “it.” On this modified version of the double hyphenated “its”, which isunderpinned by the idea of moral force, the prior moral worth of the nameless dead is taken into account as valuable members of our collective immortality, notwithstanding the fact that their names have been forgotten.
5. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Kai Horsthempke African Communalism, Persons, and the case of Non- Human Animals
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“I am because we are, and since we are, therefore I am”, generally regarded as the guiding principle of African humanism, expresses the view that a person is a person through other persons and is closely associated but not identical with African communitarianism, or communalism. Against Ifeanyi Menkiti’s “unrestricted or radical or excessive communitarianism” Kwame Gyekye has proposed a “restricted or moderate communitarianism”. Whereas personhood, for Menkiti, is acquired over time, with increasing moral maturation, seniority and agency, Gyekye considers it to arise automatically with being born human. The problem with Menkiti’s account of personhood is that it is at once too wide and too narrow. On the other hand, it remains unclear to what extent Gyekye’s is a communitarian view – and to what extent it is distinctly ‘African’. I conclude with a critical reflection on the implications of African communalism and personhood for non-human animals.
6. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Polycarp Ikuenobe Radical versus Moderate Communitarianism: Gyekye’s and Matolino’s Misinterpretations of Menkiti
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This essay provides an exposition and a plausible interpretation of Ifeanyi Menkiti’s conception of personhood vis-a-vis this community. I do this, partly, to rebut some specific criticisms by Kwame Gyekye and Bernard Matolino. They construe Menkiti’s account, primarily, as a metaphysical thesis about the community that provides the essential ontological basis for the nature of personhood. They argue that this view of communitarianism is radical or extreme because the community diminishes individuality and prioritizes community’s interests over individuals’ interests, freedom, and rights. I argue that Gyekye’s and Matolino’s interpretations of Menkiti’s view are mistaken, and that Menkiti’s account of the connection between the community and personhood is a social-moral thesis. This thesis argues that the community provides the norms and material conditions for individuals to live a meaningful life and achieve personhood, and achievingpersonhood involves being integrated into, and contributing positively to the harmony of, the community.
7. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Bernard Matolino The Politics of Limited Communitarianism
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The debate on the communitarian notion of personhood as initiated by Gyekye, in response to Menkiti, is both exhaustive and exhausted. Its exhaustiveness and exhaustion lies in the fact that, in all probability whatever can be said around it has been said, with truly nothing new likely ever being added. What is possibly left, is the potential for further additions to be more strident in their picking of sides or repeating that Gyekye and Menkiti are not sufficiently different or insisting on the authenticity of either approach to African thought. What is needed is to transcend the constraints of this debate by opening up new vistas of interpreting communitarian thought in personhood. Whatever merit there is in showing whether radical or moderate communitarianism is real, or in showing which of these two is better than the other, this discussion can be furthered by looking at implications of communitarianism to other facets of philosophy. The most plausibleavenue that could be implicated in communitarian considerations is the sphere of politics. Theorising about the communitarian notion of persons, I suggest, is partly to theorise about the political. If the commitments on which the doctrine of communitarianism is founded, are used to capture the sort of relations that exist between individuals, and between individuals and the community, then this relationship has an effect on how we conceive of the political theory we thinkappropriate. It is suggested here that contemplating on the communitarian polity will show the shortcomings of communitarianism as conceived by Gyekye and Menkiti.
8. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Jonathan O. Chimakonam Can Individual Autonomy and Rights be Defended in Afro-Communitarianism?
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I argue that individual autonomy and rights can be defended but only in African or qualified version of communitarianism. I posit that there are two possible versions of communitarianism: the qualified or the African and the unqualified or the version discussed mostly by Western scholars. I show that Ifeanyi Menkiti, Kwame Gyekye, Michael Eze and Bernard Matolino have formulated communitarian theories of right in African philosophy. I explain that while Menkiti and Gyekye erroneously employed the unqualified version in their proposals, Eze and Matolino who employed the qualified version failed to ground it in a non-Western or African logic. I argue that while the Western or Aristotelian logic grounds the unqualified version making it difficult to defend autonomy and rights within it, an African logic can be used to ground a qualified version of communitarianism in order to bring out an important African cultural value such as complementarity which affirms the identity of the individual first, so as to justify other communal values such as solidarity and common good, etc. I therefore contend that the qualified version is the correct specimen for analysing the individual-community relationship in African philosophy in which autonomy and rights can be defended.
9. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Ada Agada, Uti Ojahi Egba Language, Thought, and Interpersonal Communication: A Cross-Cultural Conversation on the Question of Individuality and Community
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The ongoing debate among African philosophers on the relation of the individual and the community has spawned radical, moderate, and limited communitarian views. In this paper we will insert the question of interpersonal communication into the individual-community conundrum and raise the discourse to the level of cross-cultural engagement. We will highlight the dominant perspectives in Afro-communitarianism with particular emphasis on the Ghanaian philosopher Kwame Gyekye and the Nigerian philosopher Ifeanyi Menkiti. Expanding the discourse into the domain of intercultural/comparative philosophy, this paper will engage Gyekye and Menkiti’s Afro-communitarianism and Jean-Paul Sartre’s radical individualism and the resulting conflictual presentation of interpersonal relation. The paper adopts the conversational method.
10. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Ifeanyi Menkiti Person and Community—A Retrospective Statement
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Over the past four decades, I have been asked many questions regarding the substance and methodology of my essay “Person and Community in African Thought”. I cannot in the space of these pages retrieve or reframe the content and implications of these several questions and it would be fool-hardy to attempt an answer to all of them here. But that is no reason not to try to say a few things, by way of additional commentary, on the occasion of this retrospective on the essay. It would be helpful to proceed by concentrating on a few issues which have been of some concern, or interest, to readers over the years, adding a response, however brief, as I go along.
book review
11. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Ada Agada Reincarnation: A Question in the African Philosophy of Mind
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