The Thesis Of Rationality As A Dialectic Of Super-Ethnicity

Emeka George Ekwuru


From the traditional Western philosophical conceptualisation of the human reality, it is believed that the possession of the intellect confers both the character and fulfilment of being human. Indeed, the Aristotelian notion of the human being as a rational animal gave rise to the dominant view that the human being moves toward the perfection of his/her nature through the exercise of rationally guided activities. Correspondingly, it became a common anthropological assumption in the West that the possession of the intellect is not just enough to identify the human being as fully human, but also that humans must act in the same way. This essay critiques such an assumption, otherwise called the thesis of rationality against which the West denies African humanity. However, the thesis of rationality, with which the West contested and denied African humanity, was, after all, a projection of an ethnic humanity. In line with postcolonial critical examination of the thesis of rationality, this essay highlights the ethnic basis of this thesis and proposes that it is nothing but a framework of misguided super-ethnicity.

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