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Consciencism: Philosophy and Ideology for De-colonization and Development with Particular Reference to the African Revolution

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by Kwame Nkrumah

One of Africa’s most renowned philosophers and political leaders, Kwame Nkrumah was not only at the center of what he called “the African revolution,” but he also articulated its ideology. In this book he sets out his personal philosophy, which he terms “consciencism,” and which has provided the intellectual framework for his political action. Why “consciencism”? The answer is that in this concept Dr. Nkrumah draws together strands from the three main traditions that make up the African conscience: the Euro-Christian, the Islamic, and the original African. He characterizes traditional African society as essentially egalitarian, and argues that a new African philosophy must draw its nourishment chiefly from African roots. But he reviews Western philosophy in some detail to illustrate the thesis that philosophy, however academic, is always trying, explicitly or implicitly, to say something about society. It is this relevance of philosophy to society, and to social and political action in particular, that chiefly interests him.

122 pages

January 1964, Monthly Review