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Please note that prices may vary between www. Sorry, an error occurred while checking availability. Please try again later. Failed to submit review, please try again later. Short description. Your review. Verstehen means a way of mas- tering the perceived, the verbalized, the understood; and the perceived is transmuted into a knowledge. Paradoxes about allegories of identity and alterity But if the imagination of the blind man be no more than the faculty of calling to mind and combining sensations of palpable points; and of a sighted man, the faculty of combining and calling to mind visible or coloured points, the person born blind consequently perceives things in a much more abstract manner than we; and in questions purely speculative, he is perhaps less liable to be deceived.
For abstraction consists in separating in thought the perceptible qualities of a body, either from one another, or from the body itself in which they are inherent; and error arises where this separation is done in a wrong way or at a wrong time—in a wrong way in metaphysical questions, or at a wrong time in applied mathematics. There is perhaps one certain method of falling into error in metaphysics, and that is, not sufficiently to simplify the subject under investigation; and an infallible secret for obtaining incorrect re- sults in applied mathematics is to suppose objects less compounded than they usually are.
Not being, at least to my knowledge, colorblind, I trust my representation of slit images and can, almost without thinking, distinguish, from the white light, the dis- tinctive qualities that everyday language qualifies as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet; and their absence, as black. From such a basic frame of organizing the prism spectrum, it goes with- out saying that the knowledge of any professional in color and light re- flection and refraction cannot but be impressive.
Propaedeutic to a deliberation on how to transcend an empirical in- capacity due to objective limitations of my perceptual identity, itself rela- tive to degrees of my insertion in a culture, my apparently innocuous questions of a possibly everyday life minor puzzle might turn into baf- fling classical issues of epistemology. There are, firstly, questions of translation, and its relation to coherence theories. A possible exit from perplexity would be, in my case, a move to the more familiar conceptual configuration of a Romance language; consult with, say, a French or Spanish speaking friend, and wonder about how to measure the validity of my translation; and moreover, from which system of systems to evalu- ate both the degree of coherence and justification of our two judgments on what shall be sorted out?
It follows that, from the singularity of our shared experi- ential authority, we could decide on how to connect our interpretation to general principles of explanation. At any rate, there is little doubt that commonsense in fact, always and without big words, calls attention to the singularity of a social identity. It, reasonably, describes a perceptual behavior and its effects in relation to the values it does, or does not, actualize and their rapport to a socio-cultural situatedness. Indeed, color perception, and its relation to a cultural catalogue, is probably one of the most overused illustrations to exemplify relativist or universalist stand in theory of knowledge.
Qualifying a singular capacity, the poverty of my English lexicon, rather than invoking my relation to an idea deducible from an ontological question—what is pinkness? In this sense, a judgment might tend to valorize an interpretation induced from a re- sponse to an epistemological intention, namely: how does he differentiate something as this sort of pink, or that type of yellow? A discussion about my color lines competence could thus be reduced to an old philosophical debate on abstract general ideas forms without consequence in my real predicament.
It may also lead to a concrete evaluation of how my limited capacity impacts both my social identity in everyday life, and the measure of its constitution in social intercourse transactions. One could then begin to suspect that the banality of my case opens up very concrete issues about identity formation, negotiation, flux. The Psychology of Human Relationships Grove, , hypothe- size about my personality and style of knowing from my insertion in ma- trix areas— 1 rituals, 2 pastimes, 3 games, 4 intimacy, 5 activity—; evaluate effects of, and reactions to cultural programming of social operations, organized transactions, and their patterns, as well as the possible extension of their formulas in my lifestyle.
Now this. After some twenty years of frequent research sojourns and visiting professorships in Latin America, I had the following conver- sation with a colleague: —Do you know how you are called? Not by my name? Consider two ordinary flowers, carnation and poppy, and a popular gift plant, the geranium. Paradoxes about allegories of identity and alterity 1. Question: in offering-flower transactions, should one take for granted an automatic translation of the English symbolic value-code, thus risking transgressions; or review it, each time, according to non-English cultural contexts, thus risking also mistranslation?
How to assure, for certain, a universal normativity? In social intercultural games involving colors and flowers, a legal- ity expresses itself in intersubjective precepts. It is stricto sensu to a lan- guage that one submits a performance. One of its axes concerns my sociological consciousness as it is related to different procedures of individuation in Bogota, Mexico, my hometown in the United States, or elsewhere in the world.
This axis is to be reconfigured each time by new cultural expectations for an intelligible social identity, and these expectations may appear as more and more demanding, de- pending on geographic, or simply spiritual and intellectual remoteness from my usual locality. Hence, to the case in point, books or wine, with more or less the equivalent symbolic value of socially expected flowers, would possi- bly confirm a convergence in both understanding and compliance to a cultural horizon. Such a self-surrendering procedure exemplifies and magnifies how a social identity, any identity, is always a process, a con- stant invention of oneself as inscribed in a particular project.
In its adaptations as a metaphor, it contributes to the clarification of the idea of a perceptual identity. We can, then, choose to emphasize the fact of cultural determinants that could account, at least partially, for its occasional poverty. Conscious or unconscious, the exercise of a partial psychic blind- ness is a total activity expressing a social identity affirming an alterity in the making. It expresses itself as an overflow caused by effects of subor- dination to constraining lines of a global sociological context. Illustra- tions are easy. Paradoxes about allegories of identity and alterity and its repercussion on the conditions of life in the rural areas; in the cul- tural space, from the opposition between near and far, the U.
Three succinct notes will suffice in clarifying this point. One, in the domain of ideas, the already mentioned study by Martin Jay, Downcast Eyes, is a magnificent example: between the visible and the invisible, how to see and read the traces of the Enlightenment in the XXth century French philosophy? In interconnections of ocular permea- tion of language and a dynamic visual activity of understanding the prior- ity of the everydayness, what Jay observes are mainly contrivances inherited through a stubborn yet exhausted faithfulness to a Cartesian per- spective and its will to truth.
In sum, all these endeavors would qualify as some- how testimonies in the dark. Bringing to light anything seems to signify concealing it, and in most of the explorations chosen, Jay delivers the same paradox, a doubt about knowing clearly how, and in which sense, consciousness may modify the configuration of its conditions of possibil- ity, and how to act upon the world.
This is a major issue that goes beyond the particularity of the French cultural space. We of today, heirs responsible for the present future of the Enlightenment project, are obliged to be allegorical thinkers, finding ad- umbrations of our destined roles among its cast of shadows. It clearly indicates that, conscious or unconscious, psychic blindness is not value neutral, and it brings about issues relating ethics to individual and collec- tive responsibility.
Three, in history, this illustration with its own ethical problems. Historians, e. Jordan White over Black. American Attitudes towards the Ne- gro. Hence, the slave trade is not detachable from a christian exegesis on chromatic perception of humankind and its erroneous biblical justifica- tions. A few years ago, Alden T. As they actualize themselves contributing to individual identities, they simul- taneously subvert the very idea of a fixed identity as an essence.
Does this raise the issue of alternatives true versus false, authenticity versus inau- thenticity? Let me postpone the question; and provisionally, focus on the subject of perception, the ego of the cogito who, as Lacan used to say, is an eye. It can apprehend itself in representation as an object, and an alienated one in a world of images and stones. What I see now, and very clearly, is this. Acting out the principle of indifference, for more than twenty years, I have been pretending, with good reasons, not to see that most of my American students, at some of the best universities in the nation, were monolingual, thus restricted to a linguistic canon and what it could integrate thanks to translations.
On the other hand, I could see also that most of my Latin American students were competent in, at least, three languages. And, my perception as well as my understanding have been that, indeed, this basic linguistic imbal- ance, relative, is the reverse of the disparity represented by the economic capital which, sooner or later, problematizing it, would normalize two competing cultural capitals determined by a single economic reason, and both destined to live in the same cosmopolitan vocation.
Through the lines of its technology and policy grids, this new structure affects the identity of millions of people absorbed in its mechanisms. The measure of alienation created by human needs and distributive constraints seem the most obvious phenomena. I choose, instead, a different angle: to look at norms concerning formal structuration of systems, the action of three competing reasons—the economic, the cultural, the ethical—and their statements on human identities. Two main references will support my analysis aimed at an argument, an ethical one, that extols human dignity as a non- negotiable value.
Software of the Mind McGraw-Hill, They correspond to three modes of re- sponse behaviors: alienative, calculative, moral; and, produce nine differ- ent forms of compliance. Paradoxes about allegories of identity and alterity coercive type of power e. Organizations are under pressure to be effective. Hence, to the degree that the environment of the organization allows, organizations tend to shift their compliance structure from incongruent to congruent types and organizations which have congruent compliance structures tend to resist factors pushing them toward incongruent compliance structures.
Congruence is attained by a change in either the power applied by the organi- zation or the involvement of lower participants. The involvement of lower partici- pants may be changed through socialization, changes in recruitment criteria, and the like. In effect, in his lan- guage: Production is a rational activity, which requires systematic division of labor, power, and communication, as well as a high level of coordination. It therefore requires also a highly systematic and precise control of performance.
This can be attained only when sanctions and rewards can be readily measured and al- located in close relation to performance. Remunerative sanctions and rewards are the only ones that can be so applied, because money differentials are far more precisely measurable than force, prestige, or any other power differen- tials.
Postulating the supe- rior capacity of the remunerative type of power in the capitalist model, this principle does not induce its efficiency everywhere in all communi- ties and all the time. Thus, as a case, the Chinese rural society, between and , demanded a different grid that could account for its con- flictual cycles between coercion and normative types.
These two exceptions may indicate something relevant, not about their obstinate refusal to inte- grate the general grid of operation, but rather about production as a key measure regulating all complex systems. In effect, the effectiveness of the economic reason, in the competence of complex systems, is, in actuality, contingent on issues of human needs which, as suggested by Etzioni him- self, should be addressed in difficult questions, having ethical implica- tions: Substantively, the question is, which kinds of governance in the institutions as well as society at large will people tolerate, accept, and thrive on?
What are the long-term consequences of relying on remunerative rewards and settling for calculative commitment on the part of participants the basis of capitalist systems? A Comparative Analysis, op. These in- volve, inter alia, rules of structural subordination and hierarchy; and, on the other hand, values such as commitment, dedication, and freedom. The project to transnationality of the economic reason, over the socio-cultural system of values of its blue or white collar agents, mani- fests itself in statements combining in a unique technical grammar, both individual alterity expectations, and their relation to an economic system having, these days, more and more its own diversity requirements.
Paradoxes about allegories of identity and alterity capacity for the transnational system to adapt to a variety of milieus, on the other hand. This second meaning designates a functional adjustment ability for optimal performance. It pertains to a flexible capability style , knowledge-capital and technology science and, indeed, savoir-faire policy , the objective being to maximize both productivity and the qual- ity of products, thus profits.
Depending on this economic reason, individuals submit, and their difference becomes a question mark. Alterity always affirms itself in a re- ciprocal relation with someone else: the ipseity of the subject self- consciousness apprehending itself, to refer to Hegel, in a necessary need for an external recognition; a whatever gaze or voice which, from an out- side standing, can stabilize it in a perceived, reidentified, and potentially usable difference.
The power that an economic complex system often manipulates re- sides in its authority for assigning to an alterity a value, often as only a possible integrable body in its production processes. In such a conversion into a labor force, an incommensurable alterity is impoverished, a social identity reified, its meaning instrumentalized.
To address such a scandal, third world intellectuals have attempted to oppose the reification by turning this absurdly created alterity into a nature. Another thing would be to stabilize such a weak moment of a dialectical process into an essence. Bridging horizons and re-appraising post- Marxist trends, philosophy, globalization critical theories, and academic engagement in public political spheres, such an intellectual orientation preserves an ethical balance for sure, in the challenging paths toward our common future. Can one say that ethics is an ex- pression of contexts?
Let me be specific. From ways they are approached for an analy- sis, conceived as processes of integration into a technical taxonomy, or invested for exploitation, these spaces function literally as texts and de- liver organized lines determining the particularity of their syntax, against which experts articulate the most adequate grids of regulating power in order to maximize the efficacy of productive complex systems. Two types of social constructs face each other.
On the one side, the structure of a machinery, modeling its aims on the basis of its morphol- ogy as a universal narrative of productivity. Paradoxes about allegories of identity and alterity ized forms in their regional, conventionally expected arrangements, du- plicate regulatory norms. The analogy could be reinforced, since one might, in the case of an economic system, as well as a linguistic model, consider the singularity of their inscription in his- tory, say, the diachronic dimension; or, their synchronic capacity, that is their expression at a particular time.
This is to say that, in time or in space, the two constructs produce their own particular grammars that un- veil a difference, witnessing a personal identity. The banality of the analogy I am suggesting between language and economic complex systems should not distract us from what it implies, with regard to asymmetrical relations of subordination, a socially con- structed psychic blindness, the notion of alterity, and their impact on so- cial identity modulations. Let me summarize what the analogy allows, proceed with some il- lustrations, and then come back to comment on the concept of diversity.
Like language langage , an economic complex system is an abstraction transcending concrete contexts. Like language, when it manifests itself as this or that particular tongue langue , that is a social institution, an ab- straction in its own right, the economic system comes to exist as a model, an idea corresponding to a virtual type of enterprise, with expected func- tions and objectives. It is speech parole which, using the tongue as a da- tabank, actualizes it in an individualized and creative way.
In the same manner, a complex economic system comes to existence as a given entity incorporated somewhere, and having the means and methods for meeting its aims. Let us separate, for neces- sary and illustrative reasons—after all, we have been allegorizing the economic in apprehending it as a language—, the two systems we are comparing. We should focus on the fact of organizational control in these systems, and its influence in the construction of social identities. About the economic system, to the descriptive analysis of Amitai Etzioni, I am adding a famous prescriptive textbook, Thriving on Chaos.
The outcome of the study portrays identity figura- tions whose subjective representation can be discussed. At least, they permit hypothetical interpretations on lines of self-fulfillment in coercive economic systems, on those concerning the notion and forms of integra- tive measure in normative organizations, on margins of social alienation in utilitarian complex systems.
Let us suspend briefly this valuation of complex systems, and em- phasize, again and again, language as a notion and reality which, every- where and fundamentally, regulates and impacts any human system. In the intersubjectivity of the for-others, it is not necessary to invent language be- cause it is already given in the recognition of the Other.
I am language. By the sole fact that whatever I may do, my acts freely conceived and executed, my projects launched toward my possibilities have outside of them a meaning which escapes me and which I experience. It is in this sense—and in this sense only—that Heidegger is right in declaring that I am what I say. Language is not an instinct of the constituted human creature, nor is it an invention of our subjectivity. Total, complete, incomprehensible isolation. What did he see in all the appar- ently senseless interactions around him?
Could we ever meet? Against the orthodox certitudes of experts on the sheer impossibility of bringing into language an untaught born-deaf, Schaller connects with Ildefonso. At the beginning, they are two strangers separated by an in- visible line. Yet, in its nature, how different is it really, compared to other types of identity distinctions?
His inability to understand my lessons on verbs and nouns and now on time did not derive merely from ignorance but from an entirely different view of reality. What, here, would symbolize the sign represented by Susan Schaller for an Ildefonso? A most globalist perspective would accent the capability in rules of market unification in diversity, emphasizing programmatic lines of action which would include the code of a new lexicon, perspective, methods for managing a new style in corporation culture.
In Managing Across Bor- ders Harvard Business School Press, by Christopher Bartlett and Sumautra Ghoshal, two Business School academics at their best theoriza- tion, one finds suggested ideal lines of an economic will to truth: the transnational coincides with a definitive solution, identifies with a possi- bly perfect body. Its portrait decodes an agenda. One, it is a challenge by its capability, its model, and objective beyond structural fit; two, it is a paradigm by its competitiveness, flexibility, innovation; three, it legiti- mizes diversity, manages complexity, builds a pretty solid socio- economic commitment; four, conclusion, it is the solution.
This recitation of the table of contents illustrates well the spirit of an imperial culture. That is important, ethically. Lingis, Collected Philosophical Papers, M. Nijhoff, As a consequence of the preceding, one sees that the diversity theme belongs to the globalist argument only as a secondary support line of the economic reason in its postulations about investment, effective productive performance, and their relation to henceforth modalities of power coercive, remunerative, normative , thus the issue of wage sur- faces; and indeed, with it, that of modalities of compliance.
Another ex- ample in conflict of interests, the Japanese in sub-Saharan Africa. Let me highlight a number of things. One, the central African region is universally recognized for its raw materials, notably antimony ore, bauxite, aluminium, chromium, co- balt, copper, ferro chromium, fluorspar, lead, petroleum, titanium ore.
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Three, as such, the phenomenon would have qualified the African continent as a superb market for capital and consumer goods. In a comparative study of the economic competition between Japan and the United States during this period, Emerging Japanese Economic Influence in Africa. At the threshold of the s: two hypotheses, an identical eco- nomic reason, two competing policies. In the statistical tests of this study we shall test the hypotheses that af- ter 1 the Japanese share in African imports increased while the U.
The first hypothesis would require a stronger performance on the part of Japan than might appear true at first sight. Most African countries are oil importers and were faced with a rapidly increasing oil import burden after Accordingly, one would expect the share of oil-exporting states in their market to rise, leaving little room for non-oil exporters to increase their market share. If Japan is found to have been successfully maintaining its mar- ket share, it would represent a major achievement.
A confirmation of hypothesis 1 would testify to a particularly impressive export per- formance on the part of Japan. This decline has been a major cause of the burgeoning U. Having successfully diversified its sources of raw materials over the last decade, Japan is now much more discrimi- nating in choosing new projects and places greater emphasis on the po- tential reliability of new suppliers. It remains now to register the cultural factor, a weak reason to all appear- ances.
At first sight, it does not stand as having the monolithic solidity of the economic reason, nor its muscles and highly respected authority. It does not compare really with the political reason. In effect, the political calls to mind fascinating arts and techniques for managing communities, their history and their fate. Paradoxes about allegories of identity and alterity figures.
There are sci- ences, strictly devoted to the activity of the economic and political rea- sons. On the other hand, strictly speaking, there is not a science of cultures. The Husserlian Geisteswissenschaften whose semantic clarity supports the incredible solidity of The Crisis of European Sciences Northwestern University Press, , actualizes an administrative proposition of the Berlin Academy to distinguish two types of knowledge on the basis of the mind-body dualism. The division, now universally ac- cepted, specializes fields—natural versus spiritual, or moral—, but it re- mains cumbersome.
And today, an indeterminate number of disciplines— e. As a matter of fact, in its incommensurable signification, anyhow and somehow, the cultural domain contains all the scientific practices that both, the economic and political reason, might motivate. Culture is a body. Its metaphors and symbols inform a rich thesau- rus in all human traditions, and represent a variety of maternal womb fig- ures.
A corpus, it folds and embraces existence, expands and consolidates it to potentially all the limits of space and time; at any rate, it animates questions and statements about destiny. Thus: on the one hand, spiritual libraries; on the other, another type of library, containing knowledge of forms, everything pertaining to the regular order of nature.
Paradoxes about allegories of identity and alterity life but drastically reducing its ecological cost. The issue is both complex and tricky. At any rate, the most recent critical anthologies in philosophy of sciences e. Chalmers, Oxford, are sources for sheer bewilder- ment, insofar as the mind and its operations are concerned. Indeed, this may not be a sufficient reason to raise doubts on the efficacy of a practi- cal reason.
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This system is built from regional grammars of norms presiding over activities between the desirable and the desired in schemata created by binary oppositions such as the follow- ing used in his information questionnaire. Evil vs. Moreover, it transcribes, on business management agenda, an equation between economic convergence and necessary transcendence of any alterity; and by this fact, it might be bypassing, to some extent, the equality principle between cultural systems, in order to outline the re- quirements of a transnational organization.
There is free choice in managerial behavior but the cultural constraints are much tighter than most of the management literature admits. Sign and symbol of a will to truth, it attempts to reconcile lines of competing statements, those on the valid- ity and coherence of self-regulating cultural bodies, and those of the eco- nomic reason as directive of a global historical convergence. In his Nature Loves to Hide. Freeman told us that when he … was fourteen he had started a religion. Un- happy with the Christian notion that the heathen are doomed for reasons out of their control, he had begun a sect of his own.
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We are all one soul in different disguises. I called it Cosmic Unity …. I seem to remember that I even had a convert. Cosmic Unity lasted about a year, I think. This gifted fourteen-year-old boy suddenly taped into the universal mind. From yesterday to tomorrow, our predicament remains a question: how to handle a collaboration between our three competing reasons—the eco- nomic, the political and the cultural; and, defend the authority of an ethics of human dignity.
The complex systems englobing us are the products of our intelligence and imagination. They should not become our masters. They contribute to the invention of our social identities. We should be conscious and responsible participants in this process, affirming a critical primacy of the ethical reason over the economic, the political and the cul- tural. Her Now or Never. The research dwells on the psychology of behaviors, processes and dynamics of integrating individualities into the commerce systems.
How to resituate the notion of compliance as a moral attitude? Paradoxes about allegories of identity and alterity ethics in the making, and transcending its own organic structure in a transhistorical and transcultural effort. How, conceptually, one could comply to what such an abstract sign might be supposing, a symbol traced by an unstable moving point, a cipher representing a possible con- vergence of continuous lines on the surface of histories?
In sum, could we speak allegorically of a path which, from the uniqueness of human dig- nity as demarcated through time and space in a multiplicity of narratives, would state its own alignment in its transcriptions of lessons from tradi- tions? Reformulated in our concrete communities of existence within their laws and governance codes, and how the ethical reason is articulated in them, compliance to human dignity exigencies should stand as our su- preme value, an absolute one.
It should, in effect, prescribe and evaluate the activity of both the economic and political reasons. On the other hand, in intransitive deter- minations of difference, obedience to the authority of a grammar whose components, as they were well summed up in a XIXth century note by Renouvier, which can be found in the Lalande dictionary of philosophy: ipseity, alterity, synthesis. As a matter of fact, they call their coherence in the dynamic succession of identity, distinction, determination.
And, com- pliance comes to signify a perpetually recommenced search for an access to an ethics of coexistence. In the face of the major phenomena with which Africa has been confronted transcontinental exploitation, slave trade, colonisation, not to for- get the disruption which independence brought Marcien Towa overlooks the complex problematic and rejects both the stance of resignation, and the return to historic sources of socio-cultural meaning and identity. He defines the space within which his thought finds the freedom needed for courage, and decides to concentrate his analysis on what we can actually see of Africa, both inside and outside.
A retrospective view of the past gives way to ironic distancing from the uncertainties of the African continent, staggering on the bridge between two oceans. Si une culture lois, rites, croyances, etc. Mais, comment obtenir cette arme miraculeuse? Paris, Seuil, , p. Elle est la condition de toute reconnaissance culturelle. Ce que nous avons en propre, ce ne sont pas seulement les valeurs que le monde attendrait, mais aussi de redoutables lacunes.
Ces nouveaux venus seuls le savent. Nous voudrions bien les manger, mais nous les enfouissons en terre. Cioran, Histoire et utopie, Paris, Gallimard, Gibelin, Tome I, Paris, Gallimard, Memmi Albert , Le racisme, Paris, Gallimard, Abstract: Philosophic sagacity: A classical comprehension and relevance to post-colonial social spaces in Africa. Of the four trends in, or approaches to, African philosophy identified by H.
Odera Oruka namely ethnophilosophy, philosophic sagacity, nationalist-ideological philosophy and professional phi- losophy; it is philosophic sagacity that has been given the least space in intel- lectual philosophical discourses and practices on African philosophy. Perhaps, a major contributing factor in this regard could be that it has not been ade- quately comprehended, or simply misunderstood. Yet, on the contrary, phi- losophic sagacity has a significant role to play in resolving some social- political problems and realities that have bedevilled African nation-states.
Herein lies one rationale of this essay. The essay revisits philosophic sagacity by tracing its origins and concerns. Some of those who have said or written something on sagacity in African philosophy have often used them synonymously at the expense of the clear objectives and aims of the latter. Herein is to be found an- other rationale of the essay. Key words: Odera Oruka, philosophic sagacity, philosophical roots of culture, philosophical naivety, technological morality, folk sagacity, ethnophilosophy, professional school.
Introduction As an approach to African philosophy, philosophic sagacity made its maiden appearance in international philosophical discourse in dur- ing the commemoration of Dr. This was by way of Kenyan philosopher H. The following year, Odera Oruka read a slightly different version of the essay during the 16th World Congress of Philosophy in Dusseldorf, Ger- many. The essay has been seminal in academic African philosophy. Be- sides the essay, Odera Oruka authored several others, including two texts, in the area of African philosophy most of them focussing on philosophic sagacity.
It is therefore not surprising that he is generally regarded not only as the icon of philosophic sagacity, but its progenitor as well. As is the case with the other approaches to African philosophy, philosophic sagacity has had its share of critics. However, this essay does 1 Amo was born in present-day Ghana in At the tender age of four years, he was in Amsterdam possibly as a slave though other possibilities have been offered as well.
He later taught at the universities of Halle and Jena in what is now the Federal Republic of Germany, and published several philosophical works. He returned to his native land in Ghana in and died soon thereafter. It is a gen- eral disquisition on philosophic sagacity meant to give an accurate exege- sis and account of the approach.
Many may be under the false impression that the approach found its way into the philosophical arena in the early s. Yet still, some may wonder what sets it apart from ethnophilosophy. Such impressions, queries, and wonders may be made redundant by a proper understanding of philoso- phic sagacity. In its specificity, this essay has three objectives. These are: 1 To trace and enunciate the origins of philosophic sagacity as an ap- proach to African philosophy in academic intellectual discourse. The two research projects therefore rightfully demarcate the origins of philosophic sagacity.
Hence, contrary to conven- tional belief, the birth year of philosophic sagacity within academia pre- date Knowledge of this fact, as will be apparent below, is fundamental in that it not only enhances the general comprehension of the 2 This is because, though H. In , together with some of his colleagues at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, notable among them the charismatic philosopher and theologian Joseph Donders, Odera Oruka formulated a research project at the University of Nairobi, Kenya.
At its inception, the immediate aim of the project was to address the following question: Would it be possible to identify persons of traditional African culture, capable of the critical, second-order type of thinking about the various problems of human life and nature; persons, that is, who subject beliefs that are tradition- ally taken for granted to independent rational re-examination and who are in- clined to accept or reject such beliefs on the authority of reason rather than on the basis of a communal or religious consensus?
On the face of it, the project ap- peared rather ambitious given the enormity of its attendant implications in terms of duration and resources necessary for the fulfillment of its objec- tives. In the proposal, researches were initially meant to cover the Western part of Kenya. The ultimate objective however was: To uncover and map out the philosophical ideas which underlie some of the main cultural practices of Western Kenya. This would be treated as a regional investigation which, if co-ordinated and supplemented with researches from other parts of the Republic would provide an over all [sic] pattern of the Phi- losophy of Kenyan National Culture.
First, philosophy is always the moving spirit and the theoretical framework of 3 H. Any serious and meaningful national culture must have a philosophy. Second, because Kenya as a State is struggling tirelessly to ground itself permanently as a nation — and a national culture is always the axis of a nation. The project sought to identify philosophic sages, whereas the one was geared towards engaging their thoughts for the sake of social cohesion and national prosperity.
It was the period that African philosophy was attempting to ground itself in mainstream academic philosophy. The ground, however, had been set 5 Ibid. The first French version titled La Philosophie bantoue was published in , and the first English translation, by Rev. Colin King, was published in When applying it to Africa, ethnophilosophers use it in the ideological sense. Hountondji, for instance, noted that: Words do indeed change their meanings miraculously as soon as they pass from the Western to African contexts […].
This is a vulgar usage of the word, justified presumably by the supposed vulgarity of the geographical context to which it is applied. It is against this backdrop that the so-called professional school as 8 Ivan Karp and D. Masolo, eds. According to them, it was wrong to dress African philosophy essentially in traditional- ism or communal folk thought. Just like Western philosophy, African phi- losophy was supposed to be seen from the professional and academic angle also.
It had to involve critical, discursive and independent thinking as well. However, notwithstanding the noble intentions of the professional school, it caused discomfort to others in two ways. The professional philosophers having basically studied Western philosophy and hardly anything about African philosophy treated African philosophy from a typically Western standpoint.
They employed Western logic and principles to criticize and create what they like to call African philosophy. Odera Oruka, ed. Regarding the second observation, the project sought to prove that African philosophy does not begin in modern Africa; that even in traditional Africa there are individuals who are capa- ble of critical, coherent and independent thinking.
On the first observa- tion, it sought to identify African philosophy in the technical sense as seen through African spectacles, that is, as portrayed by Africans with lit- tle or no Western intellectual influence. Philosophy in the usual sense is sometimes naively regarded as the heritage of the Greeks and thus treated as a typi- cal European activity with the result that Africans are regarded as inno- cent of true philosophical thought and discourse. As already noted above, this also explained the hostility of the professional school towards ethno- philosophy.
Because of the view that confines philosophy to the West many people who have had to write or say something on African philoso- phy have done so with remarkable naivety. They have argued that African culture and its philosophy are a lived experience, not a myriad of con- cepts to be pictured and rationalized by the mind.
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Thus, they see philoso- phy in Africa as an inseparable part of the concrete, of culture as Africans feel and live it and not an entity to be isolated and discussed. As a de- tailed activity and exercise, philosophy, has, according to this position, no place in African culture. Accordingly, a national culture must have two aspects: practical and theoretical. Things such as music, dance, and fashion make up the practical aspect. The theo- retical aspect is formed by the philosophy principles and ideas that justi- fies such activities.
This is one of the biggest threats to the various African cultures. One sure way of avoiding the invasion of foreign ideas is for a nation to develop and ar- ticulate the philosophy of its culture. One cannot fight for or defend ideas by use of guns; one can only successfully fight for or defend ideas with ideas. Philosophical naivety is preposterous. Taking philosophy as tenets that underlie practice and action, the truth is that Africa must, as any other place, have philosophical principles that justify and govern its cul- tural practice.
It is only that in Africa these principles are mostly covert and left at the implicit level. These principles must be unearthed and made explicit since they are the basis upon which a concrete and mean- ingful national culture would be built. This, according to Odera Oruka, was and still is the great challenge facing African scholars and cultural conservationist today.
This is necessary for posterity and for the development of a national culture. Sagacious reasoning is not just reasoning for the sake of reasoning. They have be- come too theoretical and have tended to divorce philosophy from society, and study the subject in a vacuum. Little wonder, some non-philosophers view philosophers with lots of suspicion. They are considered as indi- viduals who are stuck to their armchairs in ivory towers dreaming dreams that cannot be lived. They are perceived as people who cannot say any- thing sensible concerning problems of life.
In all seriousness, the general project of philosophic sagacity is an effort to bring back some of the lost glory of philosophy by emphasizing on sagacious reasoning or wisdom.
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This, he thought, would underscore the practical aspect of philosophic sagacity. He is unequivocal that a sage has two qualities or attributes, insight and ethical inspiration. So a sage is wise; he has insight, but employs this for the ethical betterment of the community.
A philosopher may be a sage and vice versa. But many philosophers do lack the ethical commitment and in- spiration found in the sage […]. A sage, proper, is usually the friend of truth and wisdom. A sage may suppress truth only because wisdom dictates not be- 17 See H. Socrates used phi- losophy only as a means to advance his sagacity and expose the hypocrisies of his time.
But when all is said, one must still emphasize that sagacity and phi- losophy are not incompatible. Take for example what may be called technological moral- ity. It is a morality in which technological innovations are preponderant and are objects of worship. It is a genre of morality in which technologi- cal superiority or efficiency is identified with the good. What is techno- logically possible and fitting is treated as also being morally permissible.
And the bad is that which lags behind technological advancement. Thus, for instance, if abortion is medically possible and safe a reflection of ad- vance technology , then it is treated as also being morally all right for a woman to abort. In a manner of speaking, a beautiful lady, for example, is no longer she who relies on her natural built. She is one who dresses fashionably and deco- rates her innocent body with cosmetic trappings: thanks to technology.
And the handsome man is he who owns what the latest technology has in store. To him, ladies will be attracted as flies are to a rotten body. Love and marriage are becoming material at the expense of spirituality. This could very well be one of the reasons why divorce is spiraling out of control in the modern world in general. Technological morality is thus dangerous to African societies because in truth it deprives 19 H.
Sagacity, if well ar- ticulated, properly documented, and readily availed to community mem- bers especially in the urban areas, could thus act as check on technological morality as well as other undesirable foreign invasions. In emphasizing the important roles of sages, Odera Oruka asserts that: Sages exist in all cultures and classes. Indeed, sages are among the custodians of the survival of their respective societies.
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A society without sages would eas- ily get swallowed up as an undignified appendage of another. All societies use their sages or at least the ideas of their sages to defend and maintain their exis- tence in the world of inter-societal conflict and exploitation. Otherwise African cultures will end up getting swallowed up as undignified appendages of Western culture.
The question of Africa being swallowed up, as an undignified appendage of the West has been a concern of several African scholars and statesmen, though the solutions they have offered has varied. Kwame Nkrumah, for example, called for a social revolution in the emergent in- dependent African nation-states: a revolution in which African thinking and philosophy are directed towards the redemption of the African hu- manist society of the past.
He believed that his notion of consciencism was best placed to achieve this. He defines it as: The map in intellectual terms of the disposition of forces which will enable African society to digest Western and Islamic and the Euro-Christian elements in Africa, and develop them in such a way that they fit into the African per- sonality. The African personality is itself defined as the cluster of humanist principles which underlie the traditional African society. From a purely semantic point of view this is understandable, but from a philoso- phical angle, it is inexcusable since it is a reflection of misreading Odera Oruka.
A perusal of his texts and essays on sagacity shows that he assigns somewhat different shades of meaning to the two terms. He does not use them synonymously. Sagacity consists of thoughts having or showing insight and good judgement. It is therefore thoughts of persons acknowledged as wise by their respective communities. In yet another sense, sagacity is a body of basic principles and tenets that underlie and justify the beliefs, customs, and practices of a given culture. It is important therefore to take cognizance of the fact that sagacity and sage philosophy are synonyms given that the latter is described as: The expressed thoughts of wise men and women in any given community and is a way of thinking and explaining the world that fluctuates between popular wisdom well-known communal maxims, aphorisms and general common sense truths and didactic wisdom an expounded wisdom and rational thoughts of some individuals within community.
While popular wisdom is of- ten conformist, didactic wisdom is at times critical of the communal set up and popular wisdom. The former consists of well-known communal maxims, apho- risms, and general common sense truths, whereas the latter is an ex- pounded wisdom and rational thoughts of some given individuals within the community. The folk sage, unlike his philosophic counterpart, oper- ates squarely within the confines of his culture. For him, 22 H. Anything outside or contradictory to the culture is treated with indifference and even hostility. Those sages or persons who are [merely] experts in the culture defend this philosophy and the structure of their society with the zeal of fanatical ideologists defending the political line.
No attempt is made to assess the extent to which the sage himself has thoughts that transcend the communal Dogon wis- dom. Despite this distinction some scholars have commonly, though erroneously, continued to equate sage philoso- phy with philosophic sagacity.
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Gail M. Patrick M. Why title the text Sage Phi- losophy but nevertheless still talk of philosophic sagacity as one of the trends? One may muse. The reason should not be difficult to gauge. In the s when Odera Oruka formulated the two research projects, his aim was unmistakable. He wanted to prove the existence of critical independ- ent thinkers in traditional Africa project , and also explicate a clear methodology upon which national unity could be attained and obnoxious foreign ideologies and values checked project.
His endeavour in both instances pointed to sages who were didactic in their thinking. It is for this reason that Odera Oruka made a clear distinction between what he was doing from ethnophilosophy. It [philosophic sagacity] differs from ethno-philosophy in that it is both indi- vidualistic and dialectical: It is a thought or reflection of various known or named thinkers not a folk philosophy and, unlike the latter, it is rigorous and Memoriam, pp.
Parker English and Kibujjo M. Kalumba, eds. The essay was however first published in Alwin A. Diemer, ed; Philosophy in the Present Situation of Africa. Agazzi, ed; Nouva Secondaria, no. He also qualifies renowned ethnophilosophical pieces by Claude Sumner, Ethiopian Philosophy vol. Au lieu de cela, Protagore tourne le dialogue en monologue tandis que Socrate le salue et se retire. The leading idea of our study is that Socrates and Protagoras use these arguments in order to adequately handle a tense and demanding rhetorical situation.
In answer, Protagoras rejects this challenge, and thus reinforces the other line of our pre- sent argument. Dr Soyoye however is not responsible for such alterations as the editor made subsequently for considerations of space. Instead, Protagoras turns the dialogue into his own monologue, while Socrates greets him and leaves the scene. The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to de- velop the recognised view that the conduct of arguments in the dialogue is generally ad hominem. There are further 6 sections of this paper excluding the Introduc- tion.
The rhetorical situation in which Protagoras finds himself is recon- structed from section 2 to 5, as a background to the succeeding arguments and episodes of the dialogue. A History of Greek Philosophy vol. I found this paper quite useful in shaping my thoughts in this essay. The other ad hominem fallacies arising from the conduct of arguments on topical issues of the dialogue, are identified through discussion in section 6 and its sub- sections.
The conclusions to the paper appear in section 7, and one thing noteworthy is that in spite of all his ad hominem attacks on Protagoras, Socrates fails to convince the foremost sophist to reconsider his life long profession4 of teaching excellence to the young and ambitious youths in Greek Society of the 5th century B. He declares himself a sophist openly unlike the other wise men of Greek history and legend, who were either afraid or ashamed to do so. Though he is a foreigner from Abdera in northern Thrace, he has taught and practised rhetoric for forty years without any harm to himself.
Furthermore, Plato makes us appreciate the fact that Protagoras is one who is invincible in the display of his rhetorical prowess and other specialities. See Arnold, C. The vivid description of the majestic movements of Protagoras in the opening scene of the dialogue shows that he not only believes in his status as a wise and famous man but he behaves so too. Thus, right from the be- ginning of the dialogue we are made to see Protagoras in danger of carry- ing an image or reputation, which he may not be able to defend in the ensuing debate.
Hence on a general level, the whole dialogue is a rhetorical appeal9 arguments. He was the first to introduce the Socratic type of argument, to introduce the method of attacking any thesis. All these and more of his rhetorical skills should indeed make Protagoras popular.
Much of the autobiography, which Protagoras advertises in this part of the dialogue, falls into this category. Hippias of Elis is also made to expound his theory of cosmopolitanism by showing himself a supporter of physis in the nomos- physis antithesis debates, through which the essence of the noble ideal of cosmopolitanism cannot be determined contrary to what the sophist obviously thought.