Emmanuel Eze, African Philosopher

Via Leiter Reports, I have learned with great sorrow that Emmanuel Eze has passed away. Eze, despite his relative youth, was in my view one of the most powerful thinkers in African philosophy. I never got to meet him, but grew to know him through his consistently intelligent work. He shattered the conspiracy of silence about the racism of canonical thinkers in the Euro-American philosophical academy, demonstrating not only how their work attempted to construct Africans as inferior, but that this pernicious belief was one of the driving forces of their epistemological, moral, and political oeuvres (such as Hume’s theory of mind and epistemology; Kant on rationality and morality; and Hegel on history, morality, and politics). What Eze helped us see is that one cannot understand “Western” philosophy without an engagement with African philosophy; that our histories are intertwined.

Perhaps we could honor Eze’s legacy by articulating better philosophies — and histories — among our peoples.

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