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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Consciencism, representative realism, and negritude
Author:English, Parker
Year:1999
Periodical:African Philosophy
Volume:12
Issue:1
Pages:69-94
Language:English
Geographic term:Subsaharan Africa
Subjects:Negritude
world view
Abstract:William Whewell introduced the term 'consilience' to discuss the history of scientific progress; in particular, the sort of progress that occurs when a single theory is able to explain or to incorporate laws and facts that had previously been regarded as independent of each other. This article argues that the theory of perception usually called representative realism is consilient with respect to two of the most prominent views in African philosophy, Nkrumah's consciencism and Senghor's negritude. Representative realism is idealist as well as realist. It is realist in holding that something exists that is independent of perception but which is causally responsible for our perceiving what we do. However, representative realism also distinguishes that which is independent of perception from that which is perceived. In a phrase, it distinguishes external, material substances from the objects those substances cause us to perceive. Representative realism is consilient in that it clarifies and unifies consciencism and negritude. It is also consilient in that it modifies both of the views it unifies. On the one hand, it eliminates the direct realism involved in consciencism; on the other hand, it eliminates the animism involved in negritude. Notes, ref.
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