Tradition and Modernity: Philosophical Reflections on the African Experience

Kwame Gyekye

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Paperback (360 pages)

Oxford University Press, USA


Editorial Description

This book offers a philosophical interpretation and critical analysis of the African cultural experience in modern times. In their attempt to evolve ways of life appropriate to our modern world culture, says Kwame Gyekye, African people face a number of unique societal challenges, some stemming from the values and practices of their traditional cultures, others representing the legacy of European colonialism. Defending the cross-cultural applicability of philosophical concepts developed in Western culture, Gyekye attempts to show the usefulness of such concepts in addressing a wide range of concrete and specifically African problems. Among the issues he considers are: economic development, nation-building, the evolution of viable and appropriate democratic political institutions, the development of appropriate and credible ideologies, political corruption, and the crumbling of traditional moral standards in the wake of rapid social change. Throughout, Gyekye challenges the notion that modernity for Africa must be equated with Western values and institutions, arguing instead that African modernity must be forged creatively within the furnace of Africa's many-sided cultural experience. A timely and powerful addition to postcolonial theory, Tradition and Modernity will interest scholars and students working in philosophy, political science, sociology, and African studies.