African Epistemology

The Blackwell Companion to Epistemology, Third Edition, Kurt Sylvan, Matthias Steup, Ernest Sosa and Jonathan Dancy (Eds.) (forthcoming)
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This chapter examines the three projects that constitute contemporary African epistemology and suggests various ways in which they can be put on a firmer footing, and by so doing advance the epistemic goal of the discipline. These three projects include ethno-epistemology, analytic African epistemology and what one might call ameliorative African epistemology. Ethno-epistemology is the study of the phenomenon of knowledge from the perspective of particular African communities as revealed in their cultural heritage, proverbs, folklores, traditions, and practices. Analytic African epistemology involves the philosophical study of concepts such as ‘knowledge,’ ‘justification,’ ‘belief’ and ‘truth’ from the African perspective using the methods of analysis, criticism, arguments, ordinary language philosophy, and so on. And finally, ameliorative African epistemology addresses the predicament of African knowledge systems and voices in the global knowledge and credibility economy within the broader context of the problem of epistemic injustice suffered by historically marginalized groups.

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Paul Oghenovo Irikefe
University of California, Irvine


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