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Logical Positivism, Analytic Method, and Criticisms of Ethnophilosophy

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I argue that the analytic method has been circularly used to analyze the concept of “philosophy,” and that the result of this analysis has also been used to criticize African ethnophilosophy as nonphilosophical. I critically examine the criticism that ethnophilosophy implies cognitive relativism and the criticism that it implies authoritarianism. I defend ethnophilosophy against these criticisms, arguing that they are rooted in logical positivism, the view that philosophy essentially involves the use of the methods of science and logical analysis. I argue that such analysis and criticisms, given their pedigree, do not provide an adequate or accurate picture of the nature of philosophy.

Keywords: African philosophy; Appiah; Wiredu; analytic method; authoritarianism; ethnophilosophy; justification; knowledge; logical positivism; rationality; relativism

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, Kent State University, Kent, USA

Publication date: 2004-07-01

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