African Philosophy and the Method of Ordinary Language Philosophy

Journal of Pan African Studies 2 (3):100-116 (2008)
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One of the vibrant topics of debate among African and non-African scholars in the 20th and 21st centuries centered on the existence of African philosophy. This debate has been described as unnecessary. What is necessary is, if African philosophy exists, we should show it, do it and write it rather than talking about it, or engaging in endless talks about it. A popular position on the debate is that what is expected to be shown, done and written is philosophy tailored along the stereotyped and paradigmatic sense peculiar to Western philosophy. Interestingly, a non-African scholar, Barry Hallen argues that using the method of ordinary language philosophy, African philosophy is philosophy per se, and should be recognised as such. The focus of this paper is to analyse what Hallen refers to as ordinary language philosophy and explain how it authenticates African philosophy as unique ‘species’ of philosophy, thus, putting an end to the controversy on the ontology of African philosophy.
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