Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa
Conseil pour le développement de la recherche en sciences sociales en Afrique
Conselho para o Desenvolvimento da Pesquisa em Ciências Sociais em África
مجلس تنمية البحوث الإجتماعية في أفريقيا

Philosophy and African Development: Theory and Practice

Lansana Keita. Philosophy and African Development: Theory and Practice. Dakar, CODESRIA, 2011, 272 p., ISBN 978-2-86978-326-3

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Philosophy and African Development:Theory and Practice appraises development in a holistic manner. It goes beyond the usual measurement in terms of economic achievement and widens the scope to include the impact that history of ideas, political theory, sociology, social and political philosophy, and political economy have had on development in Africa. It is a departure from the traditional treatment of development by economists who point towards the so-called time-tested assertions and recommendations for ‘sustainable development’, but which are yet bring about significant change in the economies of the so-called ‘developing’ societies. It is on account of the failures of the economic development theory, with its tepid prescriptions for ‘sustainable development’ and ‘poverty reduction’ that theories of development have now been expanded from mere economic analysis to include considerations of history, sociology, political economy and anthropology, as could be discovered in this book.

Most of the contributions in this book have been prepared by philosophers across
Africa and the United States who implicitly practise their discipline as one whose
most effective modern function would be to appraise the human experience in all
its dimensions from the standpoints of modern social and natural sciences, all
disciplinary offspring of philosophy itself. With chapters ranging from issues of
modernity and religious interpretations, the human right to development, the idea
of ‘African time’, the primacy of mental decolonisation, and the type of education
we are offering in Africa today and as a tool for development, to development
planning, science, technology and globalisation, as well as issues of post-coloniality
among others, the tenor of the contributions is not only proportional, but also
engaged in the meta-analysis of the theories on which the concept of development
is founded and practised.

This book is strongly recommended as a useful text in the hands of scholars,
researchers and students of development studies. It approaches the important
issue of African development from the broad perspective of the social sciences in
general, and buttresses this with the keen analytical approach of its contributors.

Lansana Keita is Associate Professor of Economics and
Philosophy at the University of the Gambia. His publications
include Science, Rationality and Neoclassical Economics (1992)
and Philosophy and Development (2004).

Full Text

April 29 2011