Distinguished Philosopher Kwasi Wiredu Passes At 90

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK (IDN) — Distinguished philosopher, writer, and teacher Kwasi Wiredu, born in Ghana and recognized on three continents, has passed away at the age of 90.

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy cites Wiredu for his decades-long study of “conceptual decolonization” in contemporary African systems of thought.

He examined the issue in depth in the essay “Custom and Morality: A Comparative Analysis of Some African and Western Conceptions of Morals.” There he explored the confusions that arise from the transplantation of Western ideas within an African frame of reference.

Joel Modiri, Africanist, and scholar/teacher, observed that Wiredu’s writing on Akan thought and conceptual decolonization “challenged us to always resist uncritical assimilation to Western ways of thinking.”

Other scholars writing on social media of their senior colleague included novelist and New York University professor Kwame Anthony Appiah. “One of the greatest of African philosophers has died,” he wrote on Twitter. “If you don’t know about him, you should. He was an unbelievably decent man; I know because he was my first departmental Chair.”

Aziz Mahdi, professor of Persian Language and Literature, wrote: “And now the passing of Kwasi Wiredu (1931-2022), one of Africa’s finest minds. The author of “Philosophy and an African Culture,” a genuine philosopher, a ‘conceptually decolonialized’ being, is to join the ancestors.”

Dheeraj Chand added: “Kwasi Wiredu is required reading. I only learned about him a few years ago and it reminded me of how heartbreaking “better late than ever” can feel.”

Other published works of Wiredu include: “On Decolonizing African Religions,”, “Death and the afterlife in African culture,” “Philosophy and an African Culture,” and “Cultural Universals and Particulars.”

Wiredu was born in Kumasi, Gold Coast (present-day Ghana), in 1931, and attended Adisadel College from 1948 to 1952 where he discovered philosophy. Following studies at the University of Ghana, Legon, he went on to University College, Oxford, as a philosophy major.

At Oxford, Wiredu wrote his thesis on “Knowledge, Truth, and Reason”. Returning to Ghana, he taught philosophy at the University of Ghana where he remained for twenty-three years. From 1987 until he retired, he was an Emeritus Professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

“Mhlonishwa” tweeted: “Kwasi Wiredu is a compelling African philosopher to be studied across the social sciences; philosophy and political science. He is a good heritage of ours. May his soul rest in eternal peace!” [IDN-InDepthNews – 11 January 2022]

Photo: Kwasi Wiredu. Source: Globe Echo.

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