Cultural Universals and Particulars

An African Perspective

by Kwasi Wiredu

Published by: Indiana University Press

256 Pages, 6.12 x 9.25 in

  • Paperback
  • 9780253210807
  • Published: January 1997

$27.95

  • eBook
  • 9780253116420
  • Published: January 1997

$9.99

"Wiredu's discussion of culturally defined values and concepts, as well as his attention to such timely issues as human rights, makes this book invaluable interdisciplinary reading." —D. A. Masolo

Ghanaian philosopher Kwasi Wiredu confronts the paradox that while Western cultures recoil from claims of universality, previously colonized peoples, seeking to redefine their identities, insist on cultural particularities. Wiredu asserts that universals, rightly conceived on the basis of our common biological identity, are not incompatible with cultural particularities and, in fact, are what make intercultural communication possible. Drawing on aspects of Akan thought that appear to diverge from Western conceptions in the areas of ethics and metaphysics, Wiredu calls for a just reappraisal of these disparities, free of thought patterns corrupted by a colonial mentality. Wiredu's exposition of the principles of African traditional philosophy is not purely theoretical; he shows how certain aspects of African political thought may be applied to the practical resolution of some of Africa's most pressing problems.