"The author builds an impressive case for an indigenous African philosophy which is different from but not inferior to European philosophy. This text is valuable because [of its] insights into the relationship between life and thought, philosophy and experience."
James H. Evans, Jr. , Religious Studies Review "[A] wonderful starting point for understanding black peoples on all sides of the Atlantic."
Colors Magazine "...anyone interested in questions in the philosophy of cultureespecially, though by no means only, in Africashould profit from Gyekye's work... This book is rewarding reading."
Kwame Anthony Appiah , Times Literary Supplement
Contents Preface to the Revised Edition
Acknowledgments to the Revised Edition
Preface to the First Edition
Acknowledgments to the First Edition
Guide to the Pronunciation of Akan Words Part I: The Question of Philosophy in African Culture
1. On the Denial of Traditional Thought as Philosophy
2. Philosophy and Culture
Sources of African Philosophical Thought Collective and Individual Thought Language and Philosophical Thought On Defining African Philosophy: Some Proposals
3. Methodological Problems
False Impressions about the Unwritten Character of African Traditional Philosophy Difficulties Besetting the Study of African Traditional Philosophy Part II: The Akan Conceptual Scheme
4. The Akan Conception of Philosophy
5. Concepts of Being and Causality
God and the Other Categories of Being Causality
6. The Concept of a Person
Okra (Soul) Sunsum (Spirit) Relation of Okra and Sunsum Relation of Okra (Soul) and Honam (Body) Akan Psychology and Freud Conclusion
7. Destiny, Free Will, and Responsibility
Basis of Belief in Destiny Nature of the Concept Causality, Fate, Free Will, and Responsibility The Problem of Evil
8. Foundations of Ethics
Religion and Morality in Akan Thought The Social and Humanistic Basis of Akan Morality
9. Ethics and Character
The Akan Word for "Ethics" The Centrality of Character ( Suban ) in Akan Ethics
10. The Individual and the Social Order
Communalism as a Social Theory The Tensions of Individualism
11. Philosophy, Logic, and the Akan Language
The Mind-Body Problem Time Existence, Predication, and Identity The Ontological Argument Subject and Predicate Conclusions Part III: Toward an African Philosophy
12. On the Idea of African Philosophy
The Need not to Generalize Common Features in African Cultures The Community of Cultural Elements and Ideas Conclusion: The Legitimacy of Talking of African Philosophy Notes
For our purposes, perhaps the most important point is that both positions highlight a series of factors important to responsibility and mutual accountability. These factors include: general responsiveness to others (for instance, via moral reasoning or feelings such as sympathy); a sense of responsibility for our actions (for instance, so that we may offer reasons for our actions or feel emotions of shame or guilt); and tendencies to regard others as responsible (for instance, to respect persons as the authors of their deeds and to feel resentful or grateful to them). In each case, note that the first example in brackets has a typically Kantian (reason-based) cast, the second a Humean (feeling/emotion-related) cast.