Tradition and Modernity: Philosophical Reflections on the African Experience

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Oxford University Press, Aug 28, 1997 - Philosophy - 360 pages
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In this important and pioneering book, Kwame Gyekye examines postcolonial African experience from a viewpoint receptive to aspects of both traditional African cultures and Western political and moral theory. African people, in their attempt to evolve ways of life compatible with an increasingly globalized world cultural, intellectual, and political scene, face a number of unique societal challenges, some stemming, Gyekye argues, from traditional African values and practices, others representing the legacy of European colonialism. Enlisting Western political and philosophic concepts to clear, comparative advantage, Gyekye addresses a wide range of concrete problems afflicting postcolonial African states, such as ethnicity and nation- building, the relationship of tradition to modernity, the relationship of the nation-state to community, the nature of political authority and political legitimation, political corruption, and the threat to traditional moral and social values, practices, and institutions in the wake of rapid social change. With striking flexibility and rare insight, Gyekye assesses the value of both traditional and non-African cultural components for the future of African societies and proposes alternative social and political models capable of forging a modernity appropriate for Africa. The resulting book, Tradition and Modernity: Philosophical Reflections on the African Experience, is a brilliant new contribution to postcolonial theory and will be of deep interest to scholars of political and moral philosophy, cultural studies, and African philosophy and politics, and to anyone else concerned with the efforts of non-Western societies to properly modernize.
 

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Contents

CHAPTER 1 Philosophy and Human Affairs
3
In Defense of Moderate Communitarianism
35
CHAPTER 3 Ethnicity Identity and Nationhood
77
Their Status in the Modern Setting
115
CHAPTER 5 The Socialist Interlude
144
CHAPTER 6 Quandaries in the Legitimation of Political Power
171
A Moral Pollution
192
CHAPTER 8 Tradition and Modernity
217
Which Modernity? Whose Tradition?
273
Notes
299
Bibliography
317
Index of Names
327
Index of Subjects
330
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About the author (1997)

Kwame Gyekye is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ghana. He received a Ph.D. from Harvard University, specializing in Greco-Arabic philosophy, and has been a Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at the Smithsonian Institution as well as a Visiting Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. His books include Arabic Logic: Ibn al-Tayyib's Commentary on Porphry's Eisagoge,An Essay on African Philosophical Thought: The Akan Conceptual Scheme, and African Cultural Values: An Introduction.

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