Cultural Universals and Particulars

Cultural Universals and Particulars

An African Perspective
Wiredu, Kwasi
Distribution: World
Publication date: 01/22/1997
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-21080-7
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Wiredu's discussion of culturally defined values and concepts, as well as his attention to such timely issues as human rights, makes this book invaluable interdisciplinary reading." —D. A. Masolo

Ghanaian philosopher Kwasi Wiredu confronts the paradox that while Western cultures recoil from claims of universality, previously colonized peoples, seeking to redefine their identities, insist on cultural particularities. Wiredu asserts that universals, rightly conceived on the basis of our common biological identity, are not incompatible with cultural particularities and, in fact, are what make intercultural communication possible. Drawing on aspects of Akan thought that appear to diverge from Western conceptions in the areas of ethics and metaphysics, Wiredu calls for a just reappraisal of these disparities, free of thought patterns corrupted by a colonial mentality. Wiredu's exposition of the principles of African traditional philosophy is not purely theoretical; he shows how certain aspects of African political thought may be applied to the practical resolution of some of Africa's most pressing problems.

Author Bio

KWASI WIREDU is Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Florida and former head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Ghana. He is author of Philosophy and an African Culture.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: The Universal and the Particular
Part I. General Considerations
2. A Philosophical Perspective on the Concept of Human Communication
3. Are There Cultural Universals?
4. The Biological Foundation of Universal Norms
Part II. Religion and Morality
5. Universalism and Particularism in Religion from an African Perspective
6. Custom and Morality: A Comparative Analysis of Some African and Western Conceptions of Morals
Part III. Conceptual Contrasts
7. Formulating Modern Thought in African Languages: Some Theoretical Considerations
8. The Concept of Truth in the Akan Language
9. African Philosophical Tradition: A Case Study of the Akan
10. The Need for Conceptual Decolonization in African Philosophy
11. Post-Colonial African Philosophy
Part IV. Democracy and Human Rights
12. An Akan Perspective on Human Rights
13. Philosophy and the Political Problem of Human Rights
14. Democracy and Consensus: A Plea for a Non-Party Polity
15. Postscript: Reflections on Some Reactions