Paulin J. Hountondji

Paulin J. Hountondji, agrégé de philosophie from the Ecole normale supérieure of Rue d’Ulm in Paris, is a professor of philosophy at the National University of Benin. He is the author of Philosophy: Myth and Reality, one of the most influential books on African philosophy. John Conteh-Morgan is a professor in the department of French and Italian and African and African-American Studies at Ohio State University.

Listed in: African Studies · Philosophy

The Struggle for Meaning · Reflections on Philosophy, Culture, and Democracy in Africa
By Paulin J. Hountondji · Translation by John Conteh-Morgan · Foreword by K. Anthony Appiah

The Struggle for Meaning is a landmark publication by one of African philosophy's leading figures, Paulin J. Hountondji, best known for his critique of ethnophilosophy in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In this volume, he responds with autobiographical and philosophical reflection to the dialogue and controversy he has provoked.

“As an object of philosophical discourse, Africa has been constructed, indeed invented according to some, as the ‘Other’ of thought, reason, and history. Today, Africa itself is the site of origin of plural and open discourses on its ancient traditions of thought, modes of knowledge, and on the inexhaustible meanings of the discipline of philosophy … Paulin Hountondji, whose African Philosophy: Myth and Reality had a considerable impact on African Studies in general, has played an important role in the critical framing and conceptualization of these issues and discourses. In The Struggle for Meaning, he returns to a personal, intellectual itinerary of exemplary value, not for reasons of memory, but for the future; above all for the task of unblocking the horizon, of inscribing issues of identity and culture on a platform of action: notably that of the re-appropriation of the sciences.”

Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Professor of Philosophy, Northwestern University