The Practical Ontologist
Philosopher using a geometrical spell to obtain the philosopher's stone.

Featured Article · Philosophical Disquisitions

Can we derive meaning and value from virtual reality? An Analysis of the Postwork Future

Image courtesy of BagoGames via FlickrYuval Noah Harari wrote an article in the Guardian a couple of months back entitled ‘The meaning of life in a world without work’. I was intrigued. Harari has gained a great deal of notoriety for his books Sapiens and Homo Deus. They are ambitious books, both in scope and intent. Harari’s subject is nothing less than the entire history and future of humanity. He wants to show us where we have come from, how we got here, and where we are going. He writes in a sweeping, breathless and occasionally grandiose style. As you read, you can’t help but get caught up in the epic sense of scale.The Guardian article was somewhat different. It was a narrower, more provocative thinkpiece, dealing with a theme raised in his second book Homo Deus: What happens when machines take over all forms of work? What will the ‘useless class’ of humans have left to do? These are...

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Notes toward a critical contextual social ontology

Call the non-ideal social ontology that I would elaborate as adequate to a robust engagement with African intellectual thought a critical contextual social ontology. It advances an account of social ontology that is contextual – that is, that social lives are constituted by the interaction of situated, creaturely, human animals not only with one another, but also with non-human organisms in diverse ecological contexts; historical – that is, that social lives are emergent from a deep temporal background, are dynamic, and are processual; structural – that is, that the contours of social lives are formed by interanimated but irreducible political, economic, and cultural vectors; existential – that is, that social lives are striated through by the radical particularity of creaturely embodiment, subjectivity, and phenomenology; and reflexive – that inquiry into social ontology is itself embedded, and therefore demanding of a recursive, dialectical critique of the very conditions of possi... Read More ›

Omedi Ochieng · Featured Blog

African Philosophy as Inquiry into Non-Ideal Social Ontology
“Perhaps what is inexpressible (what I find mysterious and am not able to express) is the background against which whatever I could express has its meaning.” ― Ludwig Wittgenstein, Culture and Value A non-ideal social ontology is inquiry...Read More ›

Against comparative philosophy
Comparative philosophy is misleading if taken to be the evaluation of two or more parallel discourses, each self-generated and self-contained. Instead, critique is robustly historical and geographic when it traces the emergence, constitu...Read More ›

History and the analytic philosopher
More from Bernard Williams: Paul Grice use to say that we “should treat great and dead philosophers as we treat great and living philosophers, as having something to say to us.” That is fine, so long as it is not assumed that what the de...Read More ›

The Rhetoric of Analytic Philosophy
The inimitable Bernard Williams: A question that intrigues me and to which I do not know the answer is the relation between a scientistic view of philosophy, on the one hand, and, on the other, the well-known and highly typical style of...Read More ›

Method, Social Ontology, and Decolonizing Knowledge: The Limits of conceptual ethno-analysis in African Philosophy
Contemporary African philosophy has long left behind the cleavage that pitted professional philosophers (that is, those who identified strongly with the disciplinary form it has historically taken in the North Atlantic world) against eth...Read More ›

African Philosophy Is Not A Country or How Not To Compare African Thought with Western Thought (Kwasi Wiredu)
Some years ago, I attended a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) workshop on grant writing. The moderator of the workshop asked me what my project was about, and as I started to reply, “My project is on conceptions of the g...Read More ›