Souleymane Bachir Diagne's The Ink of the Scholars: Reflections on Philosophy in Africa

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New Books in the Arts and Sciences at Columbia University: a podcast featuring audio from the New Books Series at Columbia University and interviews with the speakers and authors. The Ink of the Scholars: Reflections on Philosophy in Africa by Souleymane Bachir Diagne Discussant: Gary Wilder What are the issues discussed today by African philosophers? Four important topics are identified here as important objects of philosophical reflection on the African continent. One is the question of ontology in relation to African religions and aesthetics. Another is the question of time and, in particular, of prospective thinking and development. A third issue is the task of reconstructing the intellectual history of the continent through the examination of the question of orality but also by taking into account the often neglected tradition of written erudition in Islamic centres of learning. Timbuktu is certainly the most important and most famous of such intellectual centres. The fourth question concerns political philosophy: the concept of “African socialisms” is revisited and the march that led to the adoption of the “African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights” is examined. All these important issues are also fundamental to understanding the question of African languages and translation.

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