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Disentangling Consciencism

Essays on Kwame Nkrumah's Philosophy
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Martin Odei Ajei
African Philosophy: Critical Perspectives and Global Dialogue
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This book critically explores the depths of Nkrumah’s philosophical thought in order to broaden understanding of it and measures his contributions to contemporary thought in a world in which Africa totters precariously on the peripheries of intellectual influence on human experience.
Kwame Nkrumah is globally recognized as a foremost pan-Africanist strategist and statesman. He is less widely acknowledged as a philosopher, in spite of his considerable philosophical training, seminal contribution to African political theory, and incisive critique of the ethics of international relations. Consciencism has the distinctive status of being the only published book that Nkrumah consciously meant to be a work of his philosophy, yet it has failed to attract the focused attention of philosophers.

The chapters in Disentangling Consciencism: Essays on Kwame Nkrumahs Philosophy critically explore the metaphysical, ethical and political thought expressed in Consciencism. In doing so, they broaden our understanding of his philosophical ideas and their relevance for effective African contribution to thought in a contemporary world in which Africa increasingly totters on the margins of international affairs. In much of current moral and political thinking, there is a tendency to universalize liberal values and neglect non-Western philosophical perspectives. At the same time, global normative thinking is overwhelmingly applied in non-Western contexts. Writing from across three continents, the contributors to this volume establish greater intellectual connection among African, Asian and Western academics, and their chapters offer explicit perspectives on the value of Nkrumahs philosophy, and on the conceptual basis of early post-colonial public policy options in Africa. A valuable appendix provides the text of speeches delivered at the 1964 launch of Consciencism.

With insights into numerous dimensions of Nkrumahs philosophy, this volume will be of particular interest to students and scholars of philosophyespecially of non-Western metaphysical, moral and political thoughtand to anyone working in the history of African political theory.
Foreword by Kwame Gyekye


Part One: The Notion of Philosophy in Nkrumah’s Consciencism

Chapter One: Conscience in Nkrumah's Consciencism—Kofi Ackah

Chapter Two: The Idea of Philosophy in Nkrumah's Consciencism—Paulin J. Hountondji

Chapter Three: Consciencism: Reading Towa, Reading Nkrumah—Tsenay Serequeberhan

Chapter Four: Consciencism—Marcien Towa (tr.Tsenay Serequeberhan)

Chapter Five: Conciencism: Nkrumah’s Philosophy in Action: Between Ideology and Ethnophilosophy—Katrin Flikschuh

Part Two: Logic, Metaphysics, and Epistemology

Chapter Six: Categorial Conversion: Dialectical Arguments in Nkrumah's Consciencism—Stephen C. Ferguson II

Chapter Seven: “When everything starts to flow”: Nkrumah and Irigaray in search of Emancipatory Ontologies—Louise du Toit

Chapter Eight: Notes on Consciencism—The Epistemological Break and the Notion of Nkrumaism'—John H. McClendon

Chapter Nine: The Logic of Consciencism—Richmond Kwesi

Part Three: Ethics and Social and Political Philosophy

Chapter Ten: The Ethics of Liberation in Nkrumah’s Consciencism—Mogobe Ramose

Chapter Eleven: Exploring the Ethical Foundations of Nkrumah’s Consciencism—Thaddeus Metz

Chapter Twelve: Justice and Retrieving the African Self: The Perspective of Consciencism—Martin Ajei

Chapter Thirteen: Africa’s resources and might makes right—Leif Wenar

Chapter Fourteen: Consciencism as an Expression of Ubuntu—Ezekiel Mkhwanazi

Chapter Fifteen: Phases in Nkrumahist Socialism: Consciencism and Beyond—Raymond Osei

Chapter Sixteen: What does it mean for a Nation to be a Community?—Barry Hallen

Chapter Seventeen: Rooted Cosmopolitanism: Jawaharlal Nehru and Kwame Nkrumah—Neera Chandhoke


About the Contributors

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