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Sage Philosophy - Historical Origins, Relation Between Sage Philosophy And Popular Myths, Conclusion, Bibliography

critical knowledge communities discussion

Sage philosophy is a body of knowledge attributed to wise men and women in communities and is regarded to be philosophically significant for both its content and its critical approach to the sustenance and growth of knowledge at the communal level. Although the term came into use rather recently in the course of African philosophers' appraisal of the nature and relation of philosophy to the indigenous traditions of their communities, questions that have emerged from debating the nature of sage philosophy are applicable beyond the postcolonial confines of African scholars' efforts to revise, redefine, and align disciplinary contents and practices to the recovery of their cultural values. For example, because sage philosophy raises such questions as the separation between critical thinking and popular belief, its discussion could resonate with analytical methods that rely on the analysis of popular conceptual assumptions and ideas as expressed either in ordinary language or in the language of professional communities. In these senses, analytic practices appear constantly to seek conceptual clarification by comparing and contrasting specific—and, therefore, sometimes specialized—uses of terms to their appearances in other domains. Discussions of sage philosophy might also be relevant to theories about the social underpinnings of scientific knowledge advanced by the American historian Thomas Kuhn (1922–1996). He explains that a revolution occurs in scientific theory only when it is determined that a new explanation has made a complete break from a previous paradigm; this is, in a sense, a discussion of how radical critical thinking relates to a more popular—that is, communally held or communalized—mindset or framework from which it becomes disentangled by virtue of a critical engagement with it.

From a historical standpoint, sage philosophy connects with other voices and perspectives in the postcolonial discourse through its claim, however more implicit than it is an open expression, that Africans' creation of knowledge in the present moment of Africa's history cannot ignore those voices that give the present a sense of relevance and validity by bridging it with the past to form a continuum.

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