Tradition and Modernity: Philosophical Reflections on the African Experience

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Oxford University Press, 1997 - History - 338 pages
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This book offers a philosophical interpretation and critical analysis of the African cultural experience in modern times. In their attempt to evolve ways of life appropriate to our modern world culture, says Kwame Gyekye, African people face a number of unique societal challenges, some stemming from the values and practices of their traditional cultures, others representing the legacy of European colonialism. Defending the cross-cultural applicability of philosophical concepts developed in Western culture, Gyekye attempts to show the usefulness of such concepts in addressing a wide range of concrete and specifically African problems. Among the issues he considers are: economic development, nation-building, the evolution of viable and appropriate democratic political institutions, the development of appropriate and credible ideologies, political corruption, and the crumbling of traditional moral standards in the wake of rapid social change. Throughout, Gyekye challenges the notion that modernity for Africa must be equated with Western values and institutions, arguing instead that African modernity must be forged creatively within the furnace of Africa's many-sided cultural experience.
A timely and powerful addition to postcolonial theory, Tradition and Modernity will interest scholars and students working in philosophy, political science, sociology, and African studies.
 

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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)

Professor Gyekye was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania for the academic year 1995/96, where he completed this book. He left in August 1996 and has been based at the University of Ghana since then.

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