Since this book was first published in hardcover inthere have been several reviews. I'm not always completely sure about Gyekye's methods or conclusions for example, how much philosophical content can you really read off of folk sayings?
Gyekye deals with broad methodological issues such as whether philosophy could take place in oral rather written traditions and what, if anything, could be said about "African philosophy" as a whole.
I particularly enjoyed learning about Akan views on personal identity a sort of three-part "dualism" and ethics a communitarian consequentialism in which the needs of the individual and the needs of the community do not necessarily conflict as they always seem to in Western political theory, which is an odd dogma if you think about it.
Most of the book, however, is focused on the Akan people of Ghana. Excerpt The purpose of this book is fourfold: to stress the fact of the universal character of the intellectual activity called philosophy -- of the propensity of some individuals in all human cultures to reflect deeply and critically about fundamental questions of human experience; to point out that philosophy is essentially a cultural phenomenon; to argue the legitimacy or appropriateness of the idea of African philosophy and attempt a definition of modern African philosophy; and to demonstrate that there were sages or thinkers in Africa's cultural past who gave reflective attention to matters of human existence at the fundamental level, and, as part of the demonstration, to critically explore the philosophical ideas of the Akan traditional thinkers of Ghana.
In this preface to the revised edition, I do not intend to respond directly to those reviews and will therefore not refer to them, even though a number of them were favorable and full of praises for the effort.
Neither do I intend to respond to criticisms of some of the positions or approaches taken in the book -- criticisms some of which reveal an incurable addiction to, or inebriation with, the way the philosophical enterprise emerged and has been prosecuted in the West.
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I would like, rather, to use this opportunity to clarify or amplify a couple of positions previously taken by me regarding what would count as modern African philosophy, to say something about what is called "ethnophilosophy," and to express some views on the 'invention of Africa' idea.
You might call this "philosophical anthropology" not in the Kantian sense, but in the sense that it's part anthropology, part philosophy.