Hountondji’s Critique of Ethnophilosophy and His Notion of African Philosophy

  • Franziska DübgenEmail author
  • Stefan Skupien
Part of the Global Political Thinkers book series (GPT)


Paulin Hountondji became famous for his rigorous critique of ethnophilosophy. This chapter presents the historical context of the emergence of ethnophilosophy, portrays the most important writings of this genre and discusses Hountondji’s methodological objections to the ethnophilosophical approach. In his account, Hountondji defends a strict notion of what philosophy should consists of in distinction to other disciplines, spells out what African philosophy must aim at and how it should be set in opposition to mythological thinking. Based on these standards, he critically assesses both Négritude and African socialism as influential intellectual currents on the African continent. By way of conclusion, the chapter illustrates Hountondji’s notion of African philosophy by presenting the oeuvre of the eighteens century philosopher of African descent, Anton Wilhelm Amo, and Hountondji’s reception thereof.


Ethnophilosophy Placide Tempels Alexis Kagame Professional philosophy Anthropology Négritude African socialism Anton Wilhelm Amo 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MünsterMünsterGermany
  2. 2.WZB Berlin Social Science CenterBerlinGermany

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