15. Heard it Through the Grapevine: Oral Philosophy in Africa

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An introduction to the “ethnophilosophy” approach inaugurated by Placide Tempels, its promises and potential pitfalls.



Further Reading

• P.J. Hountondji, African Philosophy: Myth and Reality (Bloomington: 1996).

• O. p’Bitek, “Fr. Tempels’ Bantu Philosophy,” Transition 13 (1964), 15-17.

• P. Tempels, Bantu Philosophy (Paris: 1959).

• A. Kagame, La philosophie Bantu-Rwandaise de l’être (Brussels: 1956).

• K. Kresse, “Towards a Postcolonial Synthesis in African Philosophy: Conceptual Liberation and Reconstructive Self-Evaluation in the Work of Okot p’Bitek,” in O. Oladipo (ed.), The Third Way in African Philosophy (Ibadan: 2002), 215-32.

• K. Wiredu, Conceptual Decolonization in African Philosophy (Ibadan: 1995).

Web resource on Placide Tempels including French, Dutch, and English versions of his La philosophie Bantou.


Jose Castro on 16 November 2018

I miss Hiawatha ...

I miss Hiawatha ...

In reply to by Jose Castro

Peter Adamson on 17 November 2018


Have I not mentioned her in a while? Sorry, I'll see if I can get her in soon.

Herman on 22 June 2023

Philosophie Africaine

This website on Africana Philosophy is very interesting, but one sided from an American English view.  What about French or Portugese speaking African Countries or Africana from Brasil?  


In reply to by Herman

Peter Adamson on 23 June 2023

Other Africana thought

Actually we have had many episodes on those topics - in addition to the episodes on Francophone authors which are too numerous to list, there are for instance episodes on Brazil in the 19th century and Lusophone Africa in the case of Cabral. Just look through the whole menu of episodes - maybe you have only looked at the list for the first "series" on Precolonial Africa? (Though actually not much of what we cover here is Anglophone, we talk about Egypt, Ethiopian and Arabic literature, works in French like Tempels, etc etc.) The podcast is in English but what we have covered is staggeringly polylinguistic!

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