New Book: Philosophical Discourse or Methodological Imperialism? The Rationale for (Post) Colonial African Philosophy with Reference to Oromo Philosophy
By Yoseph M. Baba, P
By Yoseph M. Baba, Ph.D.
In this metaphilosophical engagement, whilst some of the scholars confined themselves to cross-examining the nature of philosophy others went further to stipulate how they thought African philosophy should proceed. Yoseph Mulugeta’s Metaphilosophy or Methodological Imperialism? The Rationale for Contemporary African Philosophy with Reference to Oromo Philosophy situates very well in the category of those who besides subjecting the nature of philosophy to scrutiny also spelt out how they thought philosophy in Africa should progress. He not only engages in the fruitful metaphilosophical exercise but also proceeds to the practical concrete level with particular reference to the Oromo people of North Eastern Africa. There are not many texts in African philosophy that engage in both the metaphilosophical theoretical question as well as its application aspect. Herein lies a significance of Yoseph’s text. (Another text that belongs to the same category, mutatis mutandis, is that by D. A. Masolo, Self and Community in a Changing World—Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2010).
In writing this text, Yoseph had set before him some cardinal objectives. The four basic ones, in my estimation, being: (i) to interrogate the underlying principles of the discipline of philosophy, to engage in philosophizing about philosophy—metaphilosophy; (ii) and in parenthesis, to demonstrate how African philosophy can be authenticated via the mechanism of what Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o refers to as a decolonizing the African mind; (iii) to identify fundamental issues that have beleaguered (post) colonial Africa; (iv) to recommend an approach to African philosophy that would be most appropriate in resolving the problem of what he calls the “unfulfilled and paradoxical ‘independence’ of (post) colonial Africa.” There is no doubt in my mind that Yoseph has attained these objectives.
There is a Swahili adage that asserts, usipoziba ufa utajenga ukuta, which means, “If you don’t fix a crack in your wall, you will end up building the whole wall.” The discourse on African philosophy has been going on for a long while now yet the crack on African society has continued to widen causing hopelessness, despondency, lack of self-respect and self-dignity amongst African peoples. What will save Africans from building the whole wall?Metaphilosophy or Methodological Imperialism? The Rationale for Contemporary African Philosophy with Reference to Oromo Philosophy—offers a viable answer to the question.
(Excerpt from prologue by Prof. F.Ochieng’-Odhiambo)