21st COE Program Seminar
Public Seminar on African Area Studies
Date: Thursday, April 27, 2006 15:00 - 17:00
Venue: Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University,
East Building, 2nd Floor, E207
Title: "African Philosophy: an Introduction"
Speaker: Professor Bekele Gutema
(Department of Philosophy, Addis Ababa University,
Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University)
The discussion on African philosophy in academic circles began over fifty years ago. The publication of a book titled "Bantu Philosophy" in 1945 by P. Temples is the starting point of this discussion. This was followed by a passionate discussion from both supporters and opponents of African philosophy as it was conceived by Temples. The debate which began by asking whether African philosophy exists or not has eventually led to a fruitful discussion which in the last analysis has been able to establish African philosophy, among other things, as a critical moral, practice that wants to have a say in how the socio-economic, political and moral issues of Africa are handled. Now this field is growing fast with a number of books and articles in journals being published yearly on it in the USA, Africa and Europe. The number of Universities offering courses on African philosophy in one form or the other is also increasing.
The range of issues raised by those dealing with African philosophy is very varied. Metaphysical, epistemological, moral, political, social and similar issues constitute the main concern. Apart from what is taking place at the professional academic level there are protracted efforts to discover philosophical insights from the culture and thoughts of the African peoples, sages and similar categories of people.
The presentation will focus on the main trends in African philosophy that have been the focus of research and instruction in institutions of higher learning concerned with this topic.
Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University