African Philosophy and the Quest for Autonomy: A Philosophical Investigation (Google eBook)
As academic subject African philosophy is predominantly concerned with epistemology. It aims at re-presenting a lost body of authentic African thought. This apparently austere a-historical concern is framed by a grand narrative of liberation that cannot but politicise the quest for epistemological autonomy. By “politicise” I mean that the desire to re-cover an authentic African epistemology in order to establish African philosophy as autonomous subject, ironically re-iterates Western, enlightenment notions of the autonomous subject. Here, in the pursuit of an autonomous subject the terms of historical oppression are necessarily duplicated in the terms of liberation. In this study I use the termdisfigurement to refer to the double-bind - peculiar to post-coloniality - in which the African subject finds itself when it has to establish and affirm a sense ofapartheid (in order to confirm the assumption of difference) by inventing its own autonomy in a way that ironically conflicts with an African conception of the autonomous subject. The transcendental concern with epistemological authenticity and autonomy - indicative of an oppressive desire for Western style autonomy - necessary as it may be in a post-colonial context, is placed in an ethical framework that seeks to remain faithful to the African dictum of identity and autonomy “I ambecause we are”. Whereas the first three chapters are concerned with the transcendental question 'what is African philosophy?', the fourth and last chapter situates the ethical framework within which this question arises in the context of the recently “completed” South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
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African philosophy agreement aliunde analysis anthropology apartheid Asmal assumed attempt authentic autonomy Bantu Philosophy binary Boesak break-down chapter Christian civil society collapse colonialism conceived concerned condition confession constitutive constructed contemporary context contract narrative contract theory contractarian corpus delicti cultural desire difference differend discussion disfigurement Eboussi-Boulaga emphasis added epistemological ethical imperative ethnophilosophy existence fact function Glaucon historical Hobbes Hountondji human identify identity ideological individual interpretative invention of Africa investigation justice knowledge Krog language Leviathan liberation linguistic logic Lyotard Masolo meaning meta-narrative moral Mudimbe myth narration narrative of return nation nationalist nature narrative negritude nonetheless ontological origin past possible post-colonial pre-colonial pre-political present problematic realisation reason reconciliation referred relation represent representational contract sense signifier social bond social contract social contract theory South Africa sovereign specific speech acts statements stories structure teleology Tempels traditional transcendental truth ubuntu undecidability values victim Western words