Africa's Quest for a Philosophy of Decolonization (Value by Messay Kebede

By Messay Kebede

This publication discovers freedom within the colonial inspiration of African primitiveness. As human transcendence, freedom escapes the drawbacks of otherness, as defended via ethnophilosophy, whereas exposing the idiosyncratic suggestion of Eurocentric universalism. Decolonization demands the reconnection with freedom, that's, with myth-making understood because the inaugural act of cultural pluralism. The cultural situation of modernization emerges whilst the go back to the earlier deploys the long run.

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Extra resources for Africa's Quest for a Philosophy of Decolonization (Value Inquiry Book Series, Volume 153)

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5 However, the fact of failure does not incite Tempels to call for upgraded efforts of conversion. He prefers to reflect on the real cause of the failure. His diagnosis is as simple and direct as it is perplexing: the denial of the existence of a native philosophy is the main reason for the failure of missionary work in Africa. True, Tempels is not alone in making this assessment. Between Evolutionism and Pluralism 25 Nor is he the last one to put the blame for the failure of evangelization on the repudiation of African philosophy.

In view of this forceful assertion of the independence of the spiritual, is the classification of the Bantu as exclusively mystical and of Plato as wholly rational really legitimate? And what should we say about George Berkeley? According to Lévy-Bruhl’s criterion, Berkeley’s statement that things being ideas, “the absolute existence of unthinking things without any relation to their being perceived . . 39 Yet even this complete dissolution of the physical into the spiritual is not enough to deny the rationality of Berkeley’s process of thinking.

We must yield to the facts: Tempels’s target is less the otherness of Africans than their sameness. What he wants to establish is the universalism of mysticism, not the African speciality in mystical beliefs. ”40 This language in terms of universality and human common sense little supports the idea of African otherness. 41 In the previous chapter, we saw how, in his effort to refute Lévy-Bruhl’s thesis on the prelogical stage of primitive mentality, Bergson came to conceive of mysticism and intelligence as complementary functions, and not as different stages of the evolution of the mind.

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