Table of Content
Table of Content1
Principle of life2
In this essay I will compare and contrast the different perspectives of self, person and personhood from various cultures across Africa, answering the age-old questions within metaphysics as well as philosophy: “What is a person?; What elements constitute being a person?; and “Could one be a person without personhood?” Nature
The Akan philosophers Wiredu and Gyekye agree the okra (soul) is the innermost self of the person, but disagree whether the nature of the okra is a material or immaterial substance. Wiredu insist the okra is different from the Western philosophy’s perceived soul, because to the West the term soul refers to "a purely immaterial entity that somehow inhabits the body. The okra, by contrast, is quasi-physical." (1) The okra for Gyekye has the same concept of a soul as in other metaphysical systems and proclaims that "a crucial aspect of Akan metaphysics is the existence of the world of spirits” (2a). Gyekye insists “the okra and sunsum are immaterial substances and they survive death as a "spiritual unity"(2b) where Wiredu suggests sunsum is not an entity but a manner of being, which perishes at death. Principle of life
The sunsum as the "activating principle" and okra as the "principle of life" is unclear. The Yoruba’s ori, like the okra, is the determinant of personality, where the emi is the active principal of life. The Akan’s perception of okra is regarded as the active life principle supplied by the deity, as well as the bearer of destiny, where the Yoruba’s emi, which is the...