Philosophy ETDs

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Having long believed that my own African cultural heritage was worthless, it is especially problematical to me to establish that African peoples have much to offer philosophically. The central problem posed in this thesis is to bring to light African thinking as regards certain ethical questions such as the "individual vs. the community," "the highest good," and "the overall moral progress of mankind." Because of the newness of this subject matter, my resources were limited. I hope, nonetheless, that through examining the works of some few authors who have drawn their conclusions from innumerable proverbs and the structure of various languages that my evidence will be sufficient. In order to support my thesis, I have first tried to establish some general conclusions about African metaphysics, namely that African peoples are monotheistic, that they believe in an afterlife, that time and space are closely related, and that their God is seen both as creator and as being providential in his relationship to man. From this ontological framework I have drawn out my conclusions about African ethics and the most ultimate conclusion is that the highest good for the African person is happiness which results from union with God. In view of my own political and social situation as an Afro-American, I was particularly interested in the historical implications of the rediscovery of the value of African culture and thinking. The real stress on the community and sharing among African peoples in both thought and action is something badly needed in the United States. I further conclude that since Afro-American people simply cannot be employed en masse in America today because of automation and an oversaturated job market, they will have to band together and pool their resources in their local communities and so reestablish their closeness. Though Blacks may make the same mistakes as man has made throughout history in setting up small scale cooperative industries of their own, I hope that we will build a much more humane, community-oriented kind of society which would be an example to the rest of the United States on how to work together rather than to compete. Hopefully, I have at least made a start at shedding some light on the subject of African thinking and its possible implications for all of us today in a world of so much turmoil.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Archie John Bahm

Second Committee Member

Charles E. Becknell

Third Committee Member

Agnes Charlene McDermott



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Philosophy Commons