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By Rodney Needham

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While some of these questions such as the second one has been long-debated by scholars (Tempels 1945; Hountondji 29 1983; Odera Oruka 1978, 1991; Olela 1981; Asante 1990, 2000; Wamba-dia-Wamba 1991) and others addressed in chapter 2 of this book, in this chapter we shade more light on the debates on African philosophy and the conceptualisation of Africa paying particular attention to the key responses that were proffered through time. The first question about whether Africa exists or not is given primary attention for the major reason that the same responses provided to it could also be used to respond to the other questions we raised above such as those to do with the existence of African philosophy.

Man is the only being that combines rationality and passions; hence, morality is uniquely human. Man is therefore a harmonious blend of passions and reason. On the other hand, aesthetic deals with the norm of beauty. In other words, this branch of axiology is concerned with appreciating beauty in nature and art. It attempts to evaluate the various criteria of beauty that is a justification we make for preferring a certain work of art to another (Enoh 2001). It is in the very nature of man to appreciate beauty in the work of art, in man, music etc.

Insignificant attention has been paid to the value and significance of African philosophy to Africa and the African people and even those beyond. Due to the inexorably unpardonable forces of westernisation and its attendant process of globalisation compounded with political strife, civil wars, and sprouts of xenophobic attacks across the African continent in the recent years, African philosophy seems to be fast losing its value. Nevertheless, the value of African philosophy to Africa and the people of Africa and beyond cannot be underestimated.

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