Paulin Hountondji

African Philosophy as Critical Universalism

  • Franziska Dübgen
  • Stefan Skupien

Part of the Global Political Thinkers book series (GPT)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Franziska Dübgen, Stefan Skupien
    Pages 1-9
  3. Critique of Ethnophilosophy, the Debate with Contemporaries and Hountondji’s Turn to Endogenous Knowledges

  4. Hountondji’s Political Oeuvre

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 83-83
    2. Franziska Dübgen, Stefan Skupien
      Pages 85-106
  5. Hountondji as a Global Thinker

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 107-107
    2. Franziska Dübgen, Stefan Skupien
      Pages 135-146
    3. Franziska Dübgen, Stefan Skupien
      Pages 147-159
    4. Franziska Dübgen, Stefan Skupien
      Pages 161-164
    5. Franziska Dübgen, Stefan Skupien
      Pages 165-177
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 179-192

About this book


Paulin J. Hountondji is one of the most important and controversial figures in contemporary African philosophy. His critique of ethnophilosophy as a colonial, exoticising and racialized undertaking provoked contentious debates among African intellectuals on the proper methods and scope of philosophy and science in an African and global context since the 1970s. His radical pledge for scientific autonomy from the global system of knowledge production made him turn to endogenous forms of practising science in academia. The horizon of his philosophy is the quest for critical universality from a historical, and situated perspective. Finally, his call for a notion of culture that is antithetical to political movements focused on a single identitarian doctrine or exclusionary norms shows how timely his political thought remains to this day. This book gives a comprehensive overview of Hountondji’s philosophical arguments and provides detailed information on the historical and political background of his intellectual oeuvre. It situates Hountondji in the dialogue with his African colleagues and explores links to current debates in philosophy, cultural studies, postcolonialism and the social sciences.

Franziska Dübgen is a Professor in Political Philosophy at the University of Münster, Germany. She held fellowships at the New School for Social Research, New York, the IASS, Potsdam, and the Lichtenberg-Kolleg for Advanced Study, Göttingen. Her research interests include African philosophy, theories of justice, postcolonialism, gender, punishment/incarceration, and contemporary political philosophy. She is currently co-directing a research project on diversity, power and justice in contemporary African and Arabo-islamic philosophy.

Stefan Skupien is a postdoctoral researcher focusing on the sociology and politics of North-South science cooperation. His research interests include constitutional politics, history of political thought, and solidarity in the European Union. He has been involved in international networks, working towards intercultural conversations and to radically extend the horizon in German debates about African issues. Together with Franziska Dübgen, he edited the first anthology on African political philosophy in German in 2015, Afrikanische Politische Philosophie. Postkoloniale Positionen.


African philosophy ethnophilosophy endogenous research universalism Placide Tempels Alexis Kagame professional philosophy Négritude anthropology African socialism Anton Wilhelm Amo collective reasoning orality popular knowledge materialism dependency theory scientific dependency scientific autonomy scientific extraversion Présence Africaine

Authors and affiliations

  • Franziska Dübgen
    • 1
  • Stefan Skupien
    • 2
  1. 1.University of MünsterMünsterGermany
  2. 2.WZB Berlin Social Science CenterBerlinGermany

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG, part of Springer Nature 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Pivot, Cham
  • eBook Packages Political Science and International Studies
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-01994-5
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-01995-2
  • Buy this book on publisher's site