Philosophy and Critical Thinking Skills

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Authors:
Matsephe M. Letseka1
Elza Venter2 Affiliations:
1Department of Educational Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa2Department of Teacher Education, University of South Africa, South Africa Correspondence to: Matsephe Letseka Postal address:

PO Box 392, University of South Africa, 0003, South Africa Dates: Received: 05 July 2011
Accepted: 29 Sept. 2011
Published: 12 Nov. 2012 How to cite this article:
Letseka, M.M. & Venter, E., 2012, ‘How student teachers understand African philosophy’, Koers – Bulletin for Christian Scholarship 77(1), Art. #25, 8 pages. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/ koers.v77i1.25 Note:

This article was developed from a paper delivered at the Koers-75 Conference on ‘Worldview and Education’, held in Potchefstroom, South Africa, from 30 May to 02 June 2011.Hierdie artikel is ‘n verdere ontwikkeling van ‘n voordrag gelewer by die Koers-75 Konferensie oor ‘Worldview and Education’ in Potchefstroom, Suid-Afrika, vanaf 30 Mei tot 02 Junie 2011. Copyright Notice: © 2012. The Authors. Licensee: AOSIS OpenJournals.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. |

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| How student teachers understand African philosophy |
In This Original Research... | Open Access|
• Abstract
• Abstrak
• Introduction
• What is African philosophy?
   • Ubuntu
   • Communalism
• Critical thinking in African philosophy
• Importance of critical thinking
• Research method and design
   • Philosophical inquiry
   • Document or content analysis
   • Extended literature review
   • Sample selection
   • Ethical considerations
• Findings
   • Conflation of African philosophy with ubuntu
   • Conflation of African philosophy with African traditions and culture    • The misconception that African philosophy lacks the element of critical thinking    • Students lack of critical thinking skills

• Recommendations
• Conclusion
• Acknowledgements
   • Competing interests
   • Authors contributions
• References|
Abstract | Top ↑|
The question ‘What constitutes African philosophy?’ was first raised with the publication of Placide Tempels’s seminal work Bantu philosophy in 1959. Tempels’s book inevitably elicited considerable critical response from African philosophers, which culminated in a wide range of publications such as Wiredu’s (1980) Philosophy and an African culture, Hountondji’s (1983) African philosophy: Myth and reality, Oruka’s (1990) Sage philosophy: Indigenous thinkers and modern debate on African philosophy, Shutte’s (1993) Philosophy for Africa, Masolo’s (1994) African philosophy in search of identity and Gyekye’s (1995) An essay of African philosophical thought: The Akan conceptual scheme. It has been over 60 years since the publication of Temples’s book and there continues to be serious debate about African philosophy. This article sought to contribute to the debate on the various conceptions of African philosophy, but with a focus on the challenges of teaching African philosophy to Philosophy of Education students at an open distance learning institution in South Africa. This article discussed the tendency amongst undergraduate Philosophy of Education students to conflate and reduce African philosophy to African cultures and traditions, and to the notion of ubuntu, and sought to understand the reasons for students’ inclination to treat African philosophy in this way. It examined students’ background knowledge of African philosophy, their critical thinking skills and whether their official study materials are selected and packaged in a manner that, in fact, adds to the challenges they face. Finally, the article explored the ways in which Philosophy of Education lecturers can adapt their pedagogy to provide students with a better understanding of African...
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