• 296 pages
  • 5.5 x 8.25
  • 2 figures
  • Price: $36.95
  • EAN: 9781566393805
  • Publication: Aug 1995

An Essay on African Philosophical Thought

The Akan Conceptual Scheme

Kwame Gyekye

In this sustained and nuanced attempt to define a genuinely African philosophy, Kwame Gyekye rejects the idea that an African philosophy consists simply of the work of Africans writing on philosophy. It must, Gyekye argues, arise from African thought itself, relate to the culture out of which it grows, and provide the possibility of a continuation of a philosophy linked to culture. Offering a philosophical clarification and interpretation of the concepts in the ontology, philosophical psychology, theology, and ethics of the Akan of Ghana, Gyekye argues that critical analyses of specific traditional African modes of thought are necessary to develop a distinctively African philosophy as well as cultural values in the modern world.


"I find (Gyekye's) work brilliant in its approach, in its ideas, and in its argument. He asks courageous questions concerning the idea of an African philosophy and he not only succeeds in exposing the shallowness of some skeptical claims regarding that question but also clarifies the lines along which answers might properly be sought.... His work is the most massive in a new generation of thoughtful approaches to an important question regarding human culture." W.E. Abraham, University of California at Santa Cruz, and author of The Mind of Africa

"The author builds an impressive case for an indigenous African philosophy which is different from but not inferior to European philosophy. This text is valuable because (of its) insights into the relationship between life and thought, philosophy and experience." James H. Evans, Jr., Religious Studies Review

"(A) wonderful starting point for understanding black peoples on all sides of the Atlantic." Colors Magazine

"...anyone interested in questions in the philosophy of culture—especially, though by no means only, in Africa—should profit from Gyekye's work... This book is rewarding reading." Kwame Anthony Appiah, Times Literary Supplement

About the Author(s)

KWAME GYEKYE (1939–2019), was Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Ghana and a Visiting Professor of Philosophy and African American studies at Temple University. He was the author of numerous articles and books, including The Unexamined Life: Philosophy and the African Experience.