Science Journal of Sociology & Anthropology

December 2012,Volume 2012, ISSN: 2276-6359

Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research Article


The Controversy with the Concept of Man in Western and African Philosophy: A Comparative Analysis

Valentine Ehichioya Obinyan

Faculty of Art, Department of philosophy, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka Nigeria.

Accepted 7 December, 2012 Available Online 20 December, 2012.

doi: 10.7237/sjsa/231


The controversy around the concept of man in western and African analysis has lingered on for decades. Some African philosophers have critically argued that the communalistic analysis of man in African philosophy is strongly opposed to the individualistic emphasis of western scholars. To a large extent, these two arguments are indication of what may have influenced allot of theories and concepts as well as attitude to life in the scope of philosophy and elsewhere. From an integrationist echelon, this work seeks to reconcile these tenacious polar philosophical dogmas. To ensue this, the researcher bears in mind certain fundamental but problematic questions such as; 'who is man? Are there different conceptual analysis in every society?' Has the concept of man really changed in our time? With the hermeneutics and critical analysis method, the researcher comparatively examines the concept of man in Thomas Aquinas and Edmund Mounier representing Western perspective and Chukwudumbi Okolo and Nkafu Nkemkia representing African conceptual scheme. He argues that both Western and African concepts of man are two truth of one reality and concludes with the affirmation that for a fuller understanding, we must solemnize both angles for an approach and encompassing knowledge of man's nature.

Keyword: Western,African,Society,Philosophy,Concept, Man