The Making of Ancestral Persons
Keywords:personhood, ancestors, social ontology, theoretical justification, mind-independence, realism
In this paper, I address a range of arguments put forward by Katrin Flikschuh (2016) casting doubts on a theoretical account ofancestral persons in the work of Ifeanyi Menkiti. She argues both that their ontological status is uncertain and that they areontologically redundant. I argue that she does not succeed in convincing us to settle for a practical justiﬁcation of ancestors. Ithen supplement Menkiti’s life-history account of post-mortem persistence with Searle’s account of social ontology with a viewto theoretically justify belief in the existence of ancestral persons.
Baker, L. R. 2007. The Metaphysics of Everyday Life: An Essay in Practical Realism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Baker, L. R. 2019. “Just What is Social Ontology?” Journal of Social Ontology 5 (1): 1–12, URL https://doi.org/10.1515/jso-2019-2001.
Beck, S., and O. A. Oyowe. 2018. “Who Gets a Place in Person-Space?” Philosophical Papers 47 (2): 183–198, URL https://doi.org/10.1080/05568641.2017.1421868
Flikschuh, K. 2016. “The Arc of Personhood: Menkiti and Kant on becoming and being a Person.” Journal of the American Philosophical Association 2 (3): 437–455, URL https://doi.org/10.1017/apa.2016.26.
Gilbert, M. 2006. A theory of political obligation. Membership, commitment, and the bonds of society. Oxford: Oxford University Press, URL https://doi.org/10.1093/0199274959.001.0001.
Gilbert, M. 2009. “Shared intention and personal intentions.” Philosophical Studies 144: 167–187, URL https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-009-9372-z.
Gyekye, K. 1992. “Person and Community in African Thought.” Person and Community: Ghanaian Philosophical Studies, edited by K. Wiredu, and K. Gyekye, Washington DC: Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, 101–122.
Hindriks, F. 2009. “Constitutive rules, language, and ontology.” Erkenntnis 71 (2): 253–275, URL https://doi.org/10.1007/s10670-009-9178-6.
Horton, R. 1967. “African traditional thought and western science.” Africa: Journal of the International African Institute 37 (2): 155–187, URL https://doi.org/10.2307/1158253.
Ikuenobe, P. 2006. “The Idea of Personhood in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.” Philosophia Africana 9 (2): 117–131, URL https://doi.org/10.5325/philafri.9.2.0117.
Khalidi, M. A. 2015. “Three Kinds of Social Kinds.” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (1): 96–112, URL https://doi.org/10.1111/phpr.12020.
Khalidi, M. A. 2016. “Mind-Dependent Kinds.” Journal of Social Ontology 2 (2): 223–246, URL https://doi.org/10.1515/jso-2015-0045.
Mbiti, J. S. 1970. African Religions and Philosophy. New York: Double Day and Company.
McCall, J. C. 1995. “Rethinking Ancestors in Africa.” Africa 65 (2): 256–270, URL https://doi.org/10.2307/1161193.
Menkiti, I. A. 1984. “Person and Community in African Traditional Thought.” African Philosophy: An Introduction, edited by R. A. Wright, Washington D.C: University Press of America, 171–181.
Menkiti, I. A. 2004a. “Physical and Metaphysical Understanding: Nature, Agency and Causation in African Traditional Thought.” African Philosophy: New and Traditional Perspectives, edited by L. Brown, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 107–135.
Menkiti, I. A. 2004b. “On the Normative Conception of a Person.” A Companion to African Philosophy, edited by K. Wiredu, Malden: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 324–331.
Molefe, M. 2016. “Revisiting the Menkiti-Gyekye Debate: Who Is a Radical Communitarian?” Theoria 63 (4): 37–54, URL https://doi.org/10.3167/th.2016.6314903.
Oyowe, O. A. 2022. Menkiti’s moral man. New York: Lexington Books.
Ramose, M. 2003. “The philosophy of ubuntu and ubuntu as a philosophy.” The African Philosophy Reader, edited by P. H. Coetzee, and A. P. J. Roux, New York: Routledge, 270–279.
Schechtman, M. 2014. Staying alive: personal identity, practical concerns, and the unity of a life. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Searle, J. R. 1969. Speech acts: an essay in the philosophy of language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Searle, J. R. 1991. “Intentionalistic explanations in the social sciences.” Philosophy of the Social Sciences 21 (3): 332–344, URL https://doi.org/10.1177/004839319102100303.
Searle, J. R. 1995. The construction of social reality. London: Penguin Books.
Searle, J. R. 1997. “Responses to critics of the construction of social reality.” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (2): 449–458, URL https://doi.org/10.2307/2953735.
Searle, J. R. 2006a. “Social ontology: Some basic principles.” Anthropological Theory 6 (1): 12–29, URL https://doi.org/10.1177/1463499606061731.
Searle, J. R. 2006b. Freedom and Neurobiology. Reﬂections on Free Will, Language, and Political Power. New York: Columbia University Press.
Searle, J. R. 2010. Making the Social World: The Structure of human civilization. London: Oxford University Press, URL https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195396171.001.0001.
Smith, B. 2003. “John Searle: From Speech Acts to Social Reality.” John Searle, edited by B. Smith, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1–33.
Uchendu, V. C. 1976. “Ancestorcide! Are African Ancestors Dead?” Ancestors, edited by W. H. Newell, Paris: Mouton, 283–296.
Wingo, A. 2017. “Akan Philosophy of the Person.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2017 Edition), edited by E. N. Zalta, Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University, URL https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2017/entries/akan-person/.
Wiredu, K. 1992. “Washington DC: Council for Research in Values and Philosophy.” Person and Community: Ghanaian Philosophical Studies, edited by K. Wiredu, K. Gyekye, et al., Washington DC: Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, 137–152.
Wiredu, K. 1996. Cultural Universals and Particulars. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.
Wiredu, K. 2009. “An Oral Philosophy of Personhood: Comments on Philosophy and Orality.” Research in African Literatures 40 (1): 8–18.
Copyright (c) 2022 Oritsegbubemi Anthony Oyowe
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.