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Why is it Anthropology, Not Philosophy?: A Lesson from Igboland

Radhika Tikku


The article examines why ideas and concepts that originate from different backgrounds are viewed as anthropologically, but not philosophically relevant, even when they do in fact have philosophical import. Drawing on the work of Nigerian-American philosopher, Nkiru Nzegwu, on the Igbo of eastern Nigeria, it argues that the significance of emotional experience and partisanship shows that some kinds of knowledge require personal investment of a specific, more emotional sort. In certain situations, an agent acquires knowledge, not inspite of her emotions, but because emotional experience is necessary to gain knowledge. The upshot is that scholars have to talk about emotional development, and to some extent even about personal growth in certain cases, when they talk about knowledge in particular areas of inquiry.


Philosophy; Feminism; non-Western; Igbo; Women; Idigbe; Emotion

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JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

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