•  79
    Compared to other ethnic groups in Kenya, the Maasai resisted working wage labor jobs, preferring to continue pastoral practices, even though “development” experts and Kenyans from other ethnic groups derided them as being “backward” and holding back the progress of the country. The phenomenon of Maasai reluctance to adapt to wage labor has been called a "conservative" trend by some, and a radical resistance by others. The British during colonialism seemed irritated and impatient with Maasai …Read more
  •  1
    Samuel Oluoch Imbo, Oral Traditions as Philosophy: Okot p’Bitek’s Legacy for African Philosophy. (review)
    South African Journal of Philosophy 23 (3): 327-329. 2004.
  •  243
    Hannah Arendt on Power, Consent, and Coercion
    The Acorn 7 (2): 24-32. 1992.
    Although Hannah Arendt is not known as an advocate of nonviolence per se, her analysis of power dynamics within and between groups closely parallels Gandhi’s. The paper shows the extent to which her insights are compatible with Gandhi’s and also defends her against charges that her description of the world is overly normative and unrealistic. Both Arendt and Gandhi insist that nonviolence is the paradigm of power in situations where people freely consent to and engage in concerted action, and bo…Read more
  •  724
    African Sage Philosophy and Socrates: Midwifery and Method
    International Philosophical Quarterly 42 (2): 177-192. 2002.
    The paper explores the methodology and goals of H. Odera Oruka’s sage philosophy project. Oruka interviewed wise persons who were mostly illiterate and from the rural areas of Kenya to show that a long tradition of critical thinking and philosophizing exists in Africa, even if there is no written record. His descriptions of the role of the academic philosopher turned interviewer varied, emphasizing their refraining from imposition of their own views, their adding their own ideas, or their midwif…Read more
  •  19
    Is There no other Way?: The Search for a Nonviolent Future (review)
    Journal for Peace and Justice Studies 14 (2): 217-221. 2004.
  •  529
    H. Odera Oruka on moral reasoning
    Journal of Value Inquiry 34 (4): 517-528. 2000.
    It is worth exploring the longstanding preoccupation with the future that can be found throughout H. Odera Oruka's writings, especially the writings to be found in a retrospective collection of his essays on which he was working at the time of his death, Practical Philosophy: In Search of An Ethical Minimum. This practice of tracing the future results of actions of which people are presently engaged, in order to determine whether a change of course is needed, is not something that Odera Oruka ha…Read more
  •  18
    On a Mission to Morally Improve One’s Society: Odera Oruka’s African Sages and the Socratic Paradigm
    International Journal of Applied Philosophy 14 (2): 225-240. 2000.
    This paper explores Odera Oruka’s sage philosophy project, focusing on his insistence of the parallels between Socrates and the rural Kenyan sages whom he interviewed and who he considered to be orally philosophizing. Sages, he explained are those who possess wisdom, insight, ethical inspiration, and who use their talents for the benefit of the community. Key parallels between the sages and Socrates are: Socrates’ criticisms of conventional morality; his insistence on the moral virtues of practi…Read more
  •  6
    Reviewing African Revolutions (review)
    Polylog: Forum Für Interkulturelles Philosophieren 4 (1): 85-94. 2001.
    This paper reviews the book, Bill Sutherland and Matt Meyer, Guns and Gandhi in Africa: Pan-African Insights on Nonviolence, Armed Struggle, and Liberation in Africa. Bill Sutherland recounts to Matt Meyer his many years of activism for peace and social justice in Africa. Sutherland worked with Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere and others. Sutherland and Meyer together tour places Sutherland lived and interview important lifelong activists still working in Africa, all documented in this book.
  •  68
    Challenges of Founding a New Government in Iraq
    Constellations 12 (4): 521-541. 2005.
    Hannah Arendt argues that a revolution must not only tear down, but build up a new government. That new government needs authority and it gets its authority from its founding moment, when peers come together in mutual promise, agreeing to treat each other as equals and obeying laws which they legislate for themselves. The paper then looks at the recent attempts of the U.S. government and its allies to bring democracy to Iraq. The paper argues that given the dynamics necessary at the founding mom…Read more
  •  43
    Gandhi: The Meaning of the Mahatma for the Millennium (review)
    The Acorn 13 (1): 42-44. 2005.
    This is a book review of Kuruvilla Pandikattu, ed., Gandhi: The Meaning of the Mahatma for the Millennium.
  •  18
    Arendt’s Politics of Disinterest: Can they be Applied to the African Context?
    International Studies in Philosophy 35 (1): 95-118. 2003.
    Hannah Arendt insisted that citizens should approach politics from a position of disinterest. By this she meant that people should not distort politics by entering it only to benefit their own private good. She refused to condone a politics of competition of interest groups. This approach would seem to be a helpful antidote to many political situations in African countries which have become notorious for blatant use of the political realm to amass private fortunes or to shower gifts on one's own…Read more
  •  23
    This article reviews, compares and contrasts the film "Black Hawk Down" by Ridley Scott, with the book by Marc Bowman. The book has a third of its contents devoted to the Somali experience of, and perspective on, the "Day of the Rangers," that is, the day that US troops were militarily involved in Mogadishu, Somalia (October 3, 1993). However, the film almost entirely conveys the U.S. servicemen's experience, with hardly any sympathetic Somali characters. I argue that many of Bowman's original p…Read more
  •  21
    Pour édifier une communauté à partir d’une identité commune qui respecte aussi les différences, il faut traverser deux gouffres différents. Le premier est la division entre groupes ethniques, dont j’ai parlé plus haut ; le deuxième, la rupture entre les générations. Les jeunes Kényans d’aujourd’hui peuvent-ils bâtir une communauté avec leurs aïeux et parvenir à se comprendre mutuellement sur des questions telles que la valeur et l’identité ? Le problème n’est pas nouveau. C’est en fait un thème …Read more
  •  6
    Moving North, Thinking South
    The Acorn 16 (1-2): 31-35. 2016.
    The article is a report on the World Social Forum held in Montreal, Canada in August of 2016. It reports on philosophical ideas explored by conference participants such as Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Mireille Fanon-Mendes, Helen Lauer, and Immanuel Wallerstein. It also sums up positions articulated by activists such as Brazilians Chico Whitaker and Pedro Fuentes, and reports on some of the largest activities and highlights of the gathering.
  •  8
    Hannah Arendt misrepresented Africans at the same time that she criticized the actions of those who harmed them. Arendt's 1951 work, The Origins of Totalitarianism aimed to show how Hitler's (and Stalin's) practices of totalitarian rule in Europe could be understood in the context of its predecessors, anti-Semitism and imperialism. As a middle stage in her argument, she focussed on the case of the Cape Colony in South Africa. Arendt's study includes: the distinctions she made between coloniz…Read more
  •  52
    I was invited by CARE International of Kenya to do some research on conceptions of conflict and its resolution among refugees in Kenya. Findings would help the refugees themselves in furthering their peace education project. I interviewed sixteen people, with aid of translators, on interpersonal to international issues of conflict resolution. The final report was submitted to CARE International of Kenya and representatives of U.N.H.C.R. in August of 2001. This article reflects on some of the hig…Read more
  • This paper will put forward to new audiences the core of Claude Sumner's thesis regarding philosophy in the "broad" and "narrow" senses, the former referring to wisdom and the sapiential tradition. It will look at Sumner's role in popularizing early Ethiopian texts in a project meant to debunk preconceptions that Africa has no written history of philosophy. Nevertheless Sumner does not limit himself to written texts in the Ethiopian tradition, but has branched out into collecting and analyzing…Read more
  •  23
    Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life (review)
    Radical Philosophy Review of Books 7 (7): 22-25. 1993.
  •  12
    To a world assaulted by private interests, this book argues that peace must be a public thing. Distinguished philosophers of peace have always worked publicly for public results. Opposing nuclear proliferation, organizing communities of the disinherited, challenging violence within status quo establishments, such are the legacies of truly engaged philosophers of peace. This volume remembers those legacies, reviews the promise of critical thinking for crises today, and expands the free range of t…Read more