In African countries there has been a surge of intellectual interest in foregrounding ideas and thinkers of African origin—in philosophy as in other disciplines—that have been unjustly ignored or marginalized. African scholars have demonstrated that precolonial African cultures generated ideas and arguments which were at once truly philosophical and distinctively African, and several contemporary African thinkers are now established figures in the philosophical mainstream.

Yet, despite the universality of its themes, relevant contributions from African philosophy have rarely permeated global philosophical debates. Critical intellectual excavation has also tended to prioritize precolonial thought, overlooking more recent sources of home-grown philosophical thinking such as Africa’s intellectually rich liberation movements.

This book demonstrates the potential for constructive interchange between currents of thought from African philosophy and other intellectual currents within philosophy. Chapters authored by leading and emerging scholars:

  • recover philosophical thinkers and currents of ideas within Africa and about Africa, bringing them into dialogue with contemporary mainstream philosophy;
  • foreground the relevance of African theorizing to contemporary debates in epistemology, philosophy of language, moral/political philosophy, philosophy of race, environmental ethics and the metaphysics of disability;
  • make new interventions within on-going debates in African philosophy;
  • consider ways in which philosophy can become epistemically inclusive, interrogating the contemporary call for ‘decolonization’ of philosophy.

Showing how foregrounding Africa—its ideas, thinkers and problems—can help with the project of renewing and improving the discipline of philosophy worldwide, this book will stimulate and challenge everyone with an interest in philosophy, and is essential reading for upper-level undergraduate students, postgraduate students and scholars of African and Africana philosophy.

chapter |18 pages


ByGeorge Hull

part I|1 pages

Decolonising philosophy

chapter 1|18 pages

Ottobah Cugoano’s place in the history of political philosophy

Slavery and the philosophical canon
ByRobert Bernasconi

chapter 2|15 pages

Decolonizing bioethics via African philosophy

Moral neocolonialism as a bioethical problem
ByRebecca Bamford

chapter 3|15 pages

A philosophy without memory cannot abolish slavery

On epistemic justice in South Africa
ByMogobe Ramose

part II|1 pages

Race, justice, identity

chapter 4|20 pages

Neville Alexander and the non-racialism of the Unity Movement

ByGeorge Hull

chapter 5|20 pages

Biko on non-white and black

Improving social reality
ByBrian Epstein

chapter 6|10 pages

Black autarchy/white domination

Fractured language and racial politics during Apartheid and beyond via Biko and Lyotard
BySergio Alloggio, Mbongisi Dyantyi

chapter |2 pages

Postscript to Chapter 6

ByBarney Pityana

chapter 7|18 pages

Impartiality, partiality and privilege

The view from South Africa
BySamantha Vice

part III|1 pages

Moral debates

chapter 8|16 pages

Making sense of survivor’s guilt

Why it is justified by an African ethic
ByThaddeus Metz

chapter 9|18 pages

African philosophy and nonhuman nature

ByEdwin Etieyibo

chapter 10|13 pages

On cultural universals and particulars

ByUchenna Okeja

chapter 11|14 pages

The Metz method and ‘African ethics’

ByTom P. S. Angier

part IV|1 pages


chapter 12|15 pages

The edges of (African) philosophy

ByBruce B. Janz

chapter 13|20 pages

Is philosophy bound by language?

Some case studies from African philosophy
ByBernhard Weiss

chapter 14|21 pages

African philosophy in the context of a university

ByOritsegbubemi A. Oyowe

part 267|1 pages

Comparative perspectives

chapter 15|20 pages

Relational normative thought in Ubuntu and Neo-republicanism

ByDorothea Gädeke

chapter 16|14 pages

African philosophy, disability, and the social conception of the self

ByJulie E. Maybee