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The Unexamined Life: Philosophy and the African Experience

Summary of Article , 2004

Philosophy although rooted in Western traditions because of its historical developments has evolved over time as a result of differences in concepts and traditions. However, a people “chosen concepts”, unlike the individual postulations of Westerners, form the basis of the philosophy of non-western groups. Gyekye argues that African philosophy rest on “core values” such as “humanism and communalism”. Although these concepts predate the colonial era, the attempt to evolve an African philosophy is saddled with myriad challenges. Gyekye in, ‘Unexamined Life’ argues that the challenges confronting the African society is as a result of the readiness of the African to discard his or her culture in acceptance of that of another group without critically examining its “cultural and historical experiences”. He argues that a diagnosis of the ‘unexamined life’ touches every sphere of the life including religion, cultural heritage and demands of the contemporary world.