1st Edition

Intercultural Thinking in African Philosophy A Critical Dialogue with Kant and Foucault

By Marita Rainsborough Copyright 2024

    This book sets up a rich intercultural dialogue between the philosophy of Immanuel Kant and Michel Foucault, and that of key African thinkers such as Kwame Anthony Appiah, Achille Mbembe, Kwasi Wiredu, Kwame Gyekye, Tsenay Serequeberhahn, and Henry Odera Oruka.


    The book challenges western-centric visions of an African future by demonstrating the richness of thought that can be found in African and Afrodiasporic philosophy. The book shows how thinkers such as Serequeberhan have criticised the inconsistencies in Kant’s work, whereas others such as Wiredu, Gyekye, Appiah and Mbembe have referenced his work more positively and developed progressive political concepts such as the metanational state; partial cosmopolitanism and Afropolitanism. The book goes on to consider how Mbembe and Mudimbe have responded to Foucault’s ideas in deciphering the various Western, African and Afrodiasporic discourses of knowledge on Africa. The book concludes by considering various theories of intercultural exchange, from Gyekye’s cultural borrowing, to Appiah’s conversation across boundaries, Wiredu’s cross cultural dialogue, Mbembe’s thinking outside the frame, Serequeberhan’s dialogue at a distance, and Oruka’s call for global re-distribution and a new ecophilosophical attitude to safeguard human existence on the planet.


    This book invites us all to engage in intercultural dialogue and mutual respect for different cultural creations. It will be an important read for researchers in Philosophy wherever they are in the world.



    Part I: Rethinking Kant. Contemporary African philosophy and Kant


    1            Kant’s epistemic, ethical and political universalism                   


    2            Cosmopolitanism in the philosophy of Appiah and Mbembe – a critical dialogue with Kant


    3          Critical dialogue with Kant’s epistemological and ethical universalism in Wiredu’s and Gyekye’s work

    4          Rereading Kant. Philosophy as critique in the philosophical concepts of Serequeberhan and Odera Oruka


    Part II: Foucault, Kant and contemporary African philosophy     


    5             Critique, parrhesia and philosophy in Foucault’s work              


    6             Language in Kant and Foucault’s work. The language of Kant and Foucault                                                                       

    7             History, power and art in Foucault’s philosophy        


    8             Foucault and contemporary African philosophy                        




    Marita Rainsborough teaches as an Associate Professor (PD) at the Institute for Philosophy and Art Studies at Leuphana University Lüneburg and at the Institute for Romance Studies at Kiel University, Germany. She is an associate member of the Centre of Philosophy University of Lisbon (CFUL) and co-editor of the journal Estudos Kantianos.