The Rationale for an African Epistemology: A Critical Examination of the Igbo Views on Knowledge, Belief, and Justification

Amaechi Udefi


The idea of African epistemology just like the larger discourse of African philosophy (especially in its early beginnings) still faces some challenges. One of the challenges centers on the proper meaning and adequacy of the idea. No doubt this difficulty has instigated some misgivings about the discourse prompting some philosophers to either reject it outright or accept it with reservations. I believe that part of the misgivings of African epistemology borders on the meaning ascribed to it by the advocates of the concept which is fluid and inappropriate with the present realities of Africans in their interaction with the rest of the world.
Part of our business in this paper is to dispel this unfortunate attitude and perception towards African epistemology through a careful reconstruction and delineation of the meaning and nature of African epistemology in a way that accords with the true situation of Africans and as such reflects their correct ontological and epistemological conceptualization. This is buttressed by some insights drawn from Igbo traditional thought system which in all intents and purposes chimes with other epistemological systems elsewhere.


African epistemology; Belief; Knowledge; Culture; Igbo

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