Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa
The split of African philosophical thinking between the schools of ethnophilosophy and professional philosophy shows the involvement of philosophical issues in the African development process. Indeed, the philosophical debate does no more than revive the entrenched paradigm of development theories, namely the conflict between tradition and modernity. While ethnophilosophy thinks that the rehabilitation of African traditions conditions the drive to successful modernization, especially after the disparaging discourse of colonialism, professional philosophy is of the opinion that success depends on the exchange of the traditional culture for modern ideas and institutions. The article exposes and evaluates the major arguments developed by the two conflicting schools in support of their position. The outcome is that both are right about their affirmations, less so about their exclusion of the other viewpoint. Accordingly, the paper suggests that the conception of development as validation is alone able to reconcile the positive contribution of each school, since validation is how a traditional personality is sanctioned according to modern norms, and thus achieves worldly success.
Copyright © 1999, Clarion University
Kebede, Messay, "Development and the African Philosophical Debate" (1999). Philosophy Faculty Publications. 32.