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Invitation to an International Conference

Philosophy, Tradition and Progress in Africa


University of Zimbabwe

Harare, Zimbabwe 

 November 12-13, 2012






Tradition is often conceived of as a dead and deadening repetition of the past. In fact, however, it is rather the passing on of the learning from the past. This is done primarily in the family as at each generation the parents assess the present situation and select from what had been learned in the past that which promises to be life giving for their children. At each generation then the tradition is tested and adapted; what perdures through many generations bears the cumulative wisdom of a people.


At some points the process of change becomes more rapid and far reaching, as at a point of colonization and perhaps especially with a war of liberation therefrom. At that point crisis can mean not only a break with the past but a commitment to new values and an impetus to new life.


Here the work of philosophy becomes especially important. It is needed in order to reach back to the much earlier wisdom of the people. But it must do this in ways that point, not back, but forward to encountering the challenges that lie ahead.


With these concerns in mind this conference will have the following subthemes:


1. Philosophical Hermeneutics of Tradition and Progress

2. Africa and Its Rights to Development: Economic, Social and Spiritual

3. Ethics and Crises in Africa

4. Morality, Heroism and the War of Liberation

5. The Code of Conduct and Zimbabwe’s War of Liberation




Papers are invited on these and related themes and should be as substantive as possible.  There is no upper page limit for the publication, but presentations should be 20 minutes in length followed by open discussion. Abstracts are due September 15, 2012; papers are due October 20, 2012.




Professor Francis Mabiri

Department of Philosophy

University of Zimbabwe

Harare, Zimbabwe












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