Rethinking Sage Philosophy: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on and beyond H. Odera Oruka discusses a variety of aspects of Henry Odera Oruka’s sage philosophy project, rethinking it with a view to current demands and recent debates in scholarship across several disciplines. Edited by Kai Kresse and Oriare Nyarwath, the collection engages perspectives and interests from within and beyond African philosophy and African studies, including anthropology, literature, postcolonial critique, and decolonial scholarship. The chapters focus on: studies of women sages; sage philosophy in relation to oral literature; an Acholi poem on 'being human' in context; takes on aesthetics and gender in Maasai thought; a comparative discussion of Oruka’s and Gramsci’s approaches to the relevance of philosophy in society; a critical review of method; a comparative discussion dedicated to the project of decolonization, with a South African case study; and a conceptual reconsideration of Oruka's understanding of sages, presenting the 'pragmatic sage' as typical of the late phase of the sage philosophy project.
Kai Kresse is professor of anthropology at Free University, Berlin.
Oriare Nyarwath is senior lecturer of philosophy at the University of Nairobi.
Kai Kress and Oriare Nyarwath
Chapter 1: Reviving the African Sage Philosophy Project: Continuities and Discontinuities in the Research Methodology
Reginald M. J. Oduor
Chapter 2: Exploring Indigenous Knowledge: An Exposition of Sage Philosophy and Oral Literature Projects in Kenya
Chapter 3: ‘Does this mean that there is philosophy in everything?’: A Comparative Reading of Henry Odera Oruka's First and Second Order and Antonio Gramsci’s First and Second Level Philosophy
Chapter 4: Wisdom from Women in Kenya
Gail M. Presbey
Chapter 5: Oruka, Odinga, and Pragmatic Sagacity
Bruce B. Janz
Chapter 6: The Collective Sage: Maasai Philosophy and Resilience
Chapter 7: Sagacity is Relational: No individual Owns Any Story
Chapter 8: On Being Human
J.P. Odoch Pido
Appendix 1: The Life History of Mama Julia Auma Ouko: Tribute to an African Woman Sage
Humphrey Jeremiah Ojwang
Appendix 2: Interview with Julia Ouko, Kamagambo, 3 May 1999
Gail Presbey (transcription and translation by Robert Vincent Okungu)
Appendix 3: Interview with Ntetia Nalamae, Olepolos, 25 April 1999
Gail Presbey (translation by Daniel Sasine)
Appendix 4: Interview with Henry Odera Oruka (October 1993)
Kai Kresse (reprint from Quest: Philosophical Discussions (1995-6))
Appendix 5: Philosophy Must Be Made Sagacious: Interview with H. Odera Oruka (July 1995)
Kai Kresse (reprint from Sagacious Reasoning (1997))
The "sage philosophy" method proposed by Henry Odera Oruka has been one of the most intriguing and important approaches to the study of philosophy in Africa. This volume looks back at Oruka's work, taking a balanced and critical assessment of his project and its potential, while also pushing the project forward, especially with new material on women sages, addressing an admitted gap in Oruka's original publications.
Kresse and Nyarwath's book is a groundbreaking volume. It constitutes a true revival of Henry Odera Oruka's Sage Philosophy, itself one of the most original and innovative approaches to African Philosophy. Volumes drawing on this trend in African Philosophy are exceedingly rare. Assembling contributions from a number of star academics in African Philosophy, this edited volume transforms Sage Philosophy into a viable project for the 21st century.
This is a rich, layered, and vivid book that re-centres the largely East African-spawned formation known as Sage Philosophy within a self-reflexive authorial voice. Indeed it is the revealing authorial voice that might be the essential ingredient to this significant project as it simultaneously illuminates, critiques and amplifies African philosophy as a discipline deserving of global attention
From the brilliant foreword by Dismas Masolo to the final reprints of interviews by Henry Odera Oruka the excellent contributions gathered in this volume proclaim that the site of Sage philosophy is more alive and fecund than ever.