RAMOSE-The struggle for reason in Africa.PDF

The african historical reconstruction like the

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THE AFRICAN HISTORICAL RECONSTRUCTION Like the defenders of black philosophy in the United States of America, the proponents of African historical reconstruction were asked to justify their claim that there is an African philos ophy. This demand for justification clearly pre supposed ‘a specific understanding of the nature of the philosophical enterprise and the appropri ate standards and methods for philosophizing.’10 There was thus an implicit distinction between Philosophy and philosophy, the latter being the suitable label for the African’s claim. But is there any scientific ground for this kind of distinction? W ho determines the ‘scientificity of the distinc tion? The demand for the protection of stan dards arising from this situation is weakened by its very lack of objectivity. It is also devoid of legitimacy since it arises from the questionable premise that Africans are not wholly and truly human. Arguing for the legitimacy of the African historical reconstruction, I. Osuagwu posits that ‘African history of philosophy is an existential, call it an ontological, memorial of the ways our scholarly ancestors thought and lived life through, the way they attempted to under stand and master themselves and their world.’11 The deeper meaning of the word ‘memorial' in this context is that there is an inextricable con nection between memory and the construction of individual or collective identity. Thus self- knowledge can never be complete without refer ence to one’s roots, to the past which is one’s , history. It is because of their adherence to the image of their identity that human beings some times prefer to lose their lives rather than suffer the loss of their identity. For this reason the study of one’s history is necessary. On this rea soning, the blurred and dotted picture of the history of Western philosophy is a deformation of the African identity. African historical recon struction is a corrective to this. It is intended to present the true picture of the African identity. ‘In conducting their historical essay, African philosophers want to rectify the historical preju- 1 dices of negation, indifference, severance, and
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PHILOSOPHY FROM AFRICA oblivion that have plagued African philosophy in the hands of European devil’s advocates and their African accomplices. African historical investigations in philosophy go beyond defence, confrontations, and corrections. They are also authentic projects and exercises in genuine scientific construction of African philosophy concerning diverse matters of its identity and difference, problem and project, its objectives, discoveries, development, achievements and defects or failures.’12 Historical investigations such as Cheik Anta Diop’s The African origin of civilization, M . Bernal’s Black Athena , T.
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  • Spring '18

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