THE CONCEPT OF CHI IN THE IGBO PHILOSOPHY OF THE PERSON
Keywords:Igbo Philosophy, Individuality, Chi, Communalism
In African philosophy and cultural studies, there have been many debates concerning the concept of the human person. Many earlier examinations of African thought by European academics have emphasized the merely communal nature of the African person. Yet in traditional African thought there is also a tension between this communalism and a recognition of individuality which relates to the dignity of the human being as created by God. This concept of life of the individual is called “Chi”. This paper investigates the seemingly complex concept of the human person, not from the Western perspective, but from an African perspective, particularly the Igbo perspective. Because the individual and his/her society share an inseparable symbiotic relationship, this paper aims to show how such a concept can lead to a better understanding of the balances between individual life, with the communal relationships of one’s culture and one’s environment. This balance is a weak spot in much of Western thought.
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