Tradition and Modernity: Philosophical Reflections on the African Experience

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, Aug 28, 1997 - Philosophy - 360 pages
In this important and pioneering book, Kwame Gyekye examines postcolonial African experience from a viewpoint receptive to aspects of both traditional African cultures and Western political and moral theory. African people, in their attempt to evolve ways of life compatible with an increasingly globalized world cultural, intellectual, and political scene, face a number of unique societal challenges, some stemming, Gyekye argues, from traditional African values and practices, others representing the legacy of European colonialism. Enlisting Western political and philosophic concepts to clear, comparative advantage, Gyekye addresses a wide range of concrete problems afflicting postcolonial African states, such as ethnicity and nation- building, the relationship of tradition to modernity, the relationship of the nation-state to community, the nature of political authority and political legitimation, political corruption, and the threat to traditional moral and social values, practices, and institutions in the wake of rapid social change. With striking flexibility and rare insight, Gyekye assesses the value of both traditional and non-African cultural components for the future of African societies and proposes alternative social and political models capable of forging a modernity appropriate for Africa. The resulting book, Tradition and Modernity: Philosophical Reflections on the African Experience, is a brilliant new contribution to postcolonial theory and will be of deep interest to scholars of political and moral philosophy, cultural studies, and African philosophy and politics, and to anyone else concerned with the efforts of non-Western societies to properly modernize.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


CHAPTER 1 Philosophy and Human Affairs
In Defense of Moderate Communitarianism
CHAPTER 3 Ethnicity Identity and Nationhood
Their Status in the Modern Setting
CHAPTER 5 The Socialist Interlude
CHAPTER 6 Quandaries in the Legitimation of Political Power
A Moral Pollution
CHAPTER 8 Tradition and Modernity
Which Modernity? Whose Tradition?
Index of Names
Index of Subjects

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1997)

Kwame Gyekye is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ghana. He received a Ph.D. from Harvard University, specializing in Greco-Arabic philosophy, and has been a Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at the Smithsonian Institution as well as a Visiting Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. His books include Arabic Logic: Ibn al-Tayyib's Commentary on Porphry's Eisagoge,An Essay on African Philosophical Thought: The Akan Conceptual Scheme, and African Cultural Values: An Introduction.

Bibliographic information