Consensus and Democracy in African Political Philosophy


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Philosophy & Ethics


This work investigates the conceptual foundation of consensus as a form of democracy. In light of Africa's failure to democratize, it establishes whether consensus is a viable form of democracy. The project proceeds from the celebrated African philosopher Kwasi Wiredu's attempts at i) defining consensus as democracy, and ii) arguing for the adavantages that consenus has over its majoriatarian counterpart. This study argues that while the project envisaged by Wiredu has some initial attractions, it is immediately faced with certain conseptual difficulties that need clarification. Chief among these concerns are: i) the interpretation of consensus as democracy, ii) the nature and function of political parties in a consensual polity, and iii) the problem of normative diversity in modern African states.