A podcast of Professor Bekele Gutema, Fulbright Fellow, Howard University and Associate Professor, Addis Ababa University presenting the opening lecture of the Winter 2014 speaker series.
The hermeneutics of African philosophy as an important branch in
African philosophy was inspired by the 20th century philosophers Martin
Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer. Inspired by the thoughts of those
philosophers some African philosophers attempted to explore and
underline the importance of hermeneutic African philosophy. Its focus
on the lived experience of postcolonial Africa, the argument goes, in
contrast to ethnophilosophy and professional philosophy enables it to
better interpret and understand Africa and hence a proper philosophy to
overcome the ‘enigmatic present’. This paper explores the essence and
evolution of hermeneutics. Its role in African philosophy is discussed
along with its opposition to ethnophilosophy and professional
philosophy. The paper concludes by suggesting that vehement criticisms
of the different trends of African philosophy are extraverted
discussions. It is necessary to leave behind such extraverted
discussions and use all sources of philosophy, past and present, in
order to understand Africa.
Bekele Gutema is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Addis Ababa
University in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; he is currently a Fulbright Fellow
at Howard University. Some of Gutema’s publications include “Some
Thoughts on the African University” in Philosophy in Africa Now: African
Philosophy in Ethiopia (2013) and “Extraversion and the Goal of
Education in the African Context” in the African Study Monographs Vol.
28, No. 3, Kyoto (2007).
Professor Gutema’s presentation is partially funded by The Outreach
Lecturing Fund (OLF), which allows Fulbright Visiting Scholars who are
currently in the US to travel to other higher education institutions
across the country. Each year some 800 faculty and professionals from
around the world receive Fulbright Scholar grants for advanced research
and university lecturing. The purpose of the OLF is to allow these
scholars to share their specific research interests, speak on the
history and culture of their home country, exchange ideas with US
students, faculty and community organizations, become better acquainted
with US higher education, and create linkages between their home and
host institutions and CIES.
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