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Anthropology and philosophy in Africa

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Chapter Summary

Hebga does not only believe in the existence of witchcraft; he has developed a theoretical interest in the issue which seeks to legitimate his practice. This chapter focuses on his attempt to use Western philosophical tools to argue for the plausibility of witchcraft beliefs. It argues that Hebgas essentialist bent tends to exaggerate the contrast between the West and Africa and fails to take into account the ongoing reconfiguration of African beliefs following the colonial encounter. It further discusses current relationships between philosophy and anthropology in postcolonial Africa. The chapter comprises three main sections: the first is an overview of the Cartesian dualism; the second briefly outlines Hebgas critique of Western dualisms; the last section is an assessment of Hebgas position.

Keywords: African cultures; anthropology; Meinrad Hebga; philosophy; postcolonial Africa; witchcraft



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