Week 4: Complementary Opposites in Ethics and Morals

  • Ideas of Good and Evil
  • Freedom, Destiny and Moral Responsibility
  • Conceptions of Truth, Order and Stability
  • Personification of Chaos and Uncertainty in African Myth

Reading: Kamalu, C. (1998). Person, Divinity and Nature. London: Karnak House., pp. 87-106.
Supplementary Text(s): Gyekye, K. (1987). An essay on African philosophical thought – the Akan
conceptual scheme. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press., pp. 104-128.
Jeffers, C. (2013). Listening to Ourselves: A Multilingual Anthology of African Philosophy.
Albany, NY: SUNY Press., pp. 159-175.


Course Description and Objectives

The African Thinkers Program aims to introduce students to the core principles, modes, patterns, and history of thought and knowledge production in Africa and the African World, from Antiquity to the present. In designing the program, we are cognizant of the fact that training as students of African Studies would be incomplete without a proper understanding of the African worldview in its various manifestations throughout the African World and the principles which under-gird these various manifestations. As such, students will acquire familiarity with rich and profound interdisciplinary literature throughout space and time and also acquire pertinent evaluative criteria and organizing principles to assist in engaging the literature. Thus, in the core course entitled Foundations of African Thought, students will:

  • Acquire an understanding of the worldview under-girding African Thought and Philosophy

and how it fundamentally differs from the worldview, thought and philosophy of others (non-Africans)

  • Develop an understanding of fundamental tenets found at the core of the African Worldview

and how this worldview has been manifested in African Thought throughout space and time

  • Explore the relationship between common fundamentals of worldview on the various and

diverse expressions and manifestations of African culture along several dimensions

  • Become familiar with innovative approaches to the study of African Thought