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MAPPING OUT THE DOMAIN OF AN AFRICAN PHILOSOPHER

Bisong, Peter Bisong

 

The question, who is a philosopher? seems simple at surface value but when looked at deeply, becomes perplexing and even annoying. What criteria are to be used to categorize someone as a philosopher? In answer to this question, many criteria have been given in history; some of them too embracing that, there make all human beings philosophers, and some too strict that some who have a genuine claim to being philosophers are shockingly left out. I have been bothered for years about the loose criteria that qualifies every human as a philosopher, but what prompt this research is the strict criteria that put even those with a Ph.D in philosophy at risk of being excluded from the category - philosopher. This worrying criterion is the one adopted by Chimakonam and others of his ilk. They argue that a philosopher is one that mainly creates ideas. This research lays forth a criteria for assessing who a philosopher is – one that avoids both extremes, bridges the dichotomy between thought and practice and would enhance the speedy development of African philosophy. As will be explained in the body of the work, a philosopher is one who consciously and deliberately either preoccupies self with the creation of ideas, interprets (analyzes) ideas or applies ideas.

 

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