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12. Amo's Critique of Descartes' Philosophy of Mind


Subject Mind and Cognitive Science » Philosophy of Mind

Place Africa

People Descartes, René

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405145671.2005.00014.x


Anton Wilhelm Amo was carried, in missionary-related circumstances, to Holland from his birth place in Axim, Ghana, then the Gold Coast, sometime in the first decade of the eighteenth century at the age of about three. He was soon afterwards donated to a German prince (Duke Anton Ulrich of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel), who brought him up with the kindness and solicitude of a step-grandfather. At college he studied such subjects as philosophy, physiology, medicine, jurisprudence, history, and some other less orthodox ones, in all of which he shone brightly. He became a respected professor of philosophy and wrote a number of works, among which was The Rights of Negroes in Europe. In 1959 William E. Abraham, on the suggestion of Kwame Nkrumah, then President of Ghana, and I, as a fellow traveler of the former, searched in libraries in Europe and could not find this work. Unfortunately, it may be lost. Some of his other works are, however, extant, including his inaugural dissertation, The Apatheia of the Human Mind (1734), translated from the Latin by Abraham, which is the subject of this discussion. Amo returned home around 1748 in somewhat unhappy circumstances (see chapter 11 in this volume). Incredibly, he was able, with but sparse local documentation, to trace his family. In 1978, at a UNESCO-sponsored conference in Accra, Ghana, in commemoration of the matriculation of Amo (in ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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