Odimegwu, Ike. Integrative Personhood: A Communalist Metaphysics Anthropology.

Author:Okoye, Chuka A.
Position:Book review

Odimegwu, Ike. Integrative Personhood: A Communalist Metaphysics Anthropology. Germany: LIT VERLAG GmbH & KG Wien, 2008.

Integrative Personhood: A Communalist Metaphysical Anthropology consists of seven-chapter work of one hundred and ninety one pages. As the title suggests, the work is about the nature of the being and the existence of the human person from the African communalist stand point. It emanated from the conception of being as all and the understanding that communalism thrives in oneness of being or reality too.

The research was motivated by the fact that African political independence created the need for other aspects of independence including economic and cultural/religious independence. The author agreed with Senghor that cultural independence is as important if not more important than political independence, that the crisis experienced by the Africans due to slavery and colonialism is still very much alive to this present time, and that integrative personhood is a response to this crisis especially in the African's gasp for a place in the globalizing world.

Chapter two makes a thorough and interesting review of some major contributions to the question of African personhood and the concept of the human person. The literatures which includes nationalist papers, and other materials dealing with communalist personhood, (as a community of being), Skeptic perspective (doubt if there is African personhood) and transition to systematic theorization, which combines individualism with universalism, are quite congruent and flow into the topic.

The review opens up quite intriguing perspectives of African personhood especially that of Appiah whose claim of no race except human race shakes the foundation of this work. However, it is with the transition to systematic theorization, especially as Iroegbu projects, that the work fell in love with in developing its idea. The work recounts that Iroegbu defines the African person as a communal and self-embodied being in search of full transcendence. Man therefore is communal and at the same time individual. But this naturally raises the problem of the strict balance between being individualistic and communalistic. There is the tendency to be either too individualistic or too universalistic. And who or what determines the balance? It also triggers the problem of the freewill of the individual and the determinism of the community. However, his ideas of dialogic and presencing provided some solution to this, though indirectly.

Having established an African personhood, the book moved rather unsequentially to discuss the causes...

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