HOUNTONDJI AND MUDIMBE, TWO FOUNDERS OF AFRICAN PHILOSOPHY

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Mongo-Mboussa  Boniface

by Boniface Mongo-Mboussa

2015-06-18
 
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Who are the African historians and philosophers who matter today in Francophone Africa? High-profile figures such as the Senegalese philosopher Souleymane Bachir Diagne and the historians Achille Mbembe and Mamadou Diouf, respectively from Cameroon and Senegal, owe much to their elders and to two great thinkers in particular: the philosophers Paulin J. Hountondji, aged 73 from Benin and Valentin Y. Mudimbe, aged 74 from the Congo. These two great intellectual figures have produced a mode of critical thinking which remains indispensable. In both cases, their originality lies in using their own life and career – etched in the history of the continent – as a basis for examining the issues of their time; an autobiographical tradition which was subsequently revived by Achille Mbembe in his essay  Sortir  de  la  grande  nuit.  Essai  sur  l’Afrique  décolonisée (La Découverte, Paris, 2010).

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