Rwandan. b: 15 May 1912, Kyanza. d: 1980. Cat: African philosopher. Ints: Ancient philosophy; Thomism; history; linguistics; poetry. Educ: Minor Seminary, Kabgayi, 1928-33; Major Seminary, 1933-41; ordained in the Roman Catholic priesthood, 1941; Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome 1955; PhD in Philosophy, 1955; independent research in Bantu linguistics in Switzerland, Germany, Holland and England, 1955-6. Infls: Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and Placide Tempels. Appts: Editor, Kinyamateka, 1941-51; Professor of Philosphy and History, Groupe Scolaire, Astrida; Professor of Literature, Minor Seminary of Kansi, 1956-70; Professor of African Cultures and Professor of History, Major Seminary of Nyakibanda and the National University of Rwanda, 1971-80.
For Kagame there is a Bantu philosophy and it is founded on two conditions: (i) the linguistic coherence of Bantu languages; and (ii) the practicality of western philosophical methods. For Kagame the merit of Tempels's philosophical work resides in making available the method. He suggests a going beyond Temples's Bantu Philosophy by paying attention to languages. Using an Aristotelian grid, Kagame describes what he calls a Bantu-Rwandan philosophy of being-distinguishing formal logic, anthropology, theodicy, cosmology and ethics. Kagame's basic assumptions are that all the Bantu linguistic categories can be reduced to four basic concepts: (a) Muntu= being of intelligence, corresponds to the Aristotelian notion of substance; (b) Kintu=being without intelligence or thing; (c) Hantu expresses the time and place (presents variants such as Pa- in the eastern Bantu languages, Va- in the west and Go- +lo/ro in the south); (d) Kuntu indicates the modality and thus centralizes all the notions related to modifications of the being in itself (quantity or quality) or vis-à-vis other beings (relation, position, disposition, possession, action, passion). As such kuntu corresponds to seven different Aristotelian categories.
Bantu ontology in its reality and significance expresses itself through the complementarity and connections existing between these four categories, all of them created from the same root, ntu, which refers to being but also, simultaneously, to the idea of force. Kagame insists that the Bantu equivalent of to be does not express the notion of existence and therefore cannot translate the Cartesian cogito. It is by enunciating muntu, kintu, etc., that one is signifying an essence or something in which the notion of existence is not necessarily present.
Finnish, b: 9 August 1890, Alajärvi, Finland. d: 31 July 1958, Helsinki. Cat: Theorist of knowledge; philosopher of science. Ints: Logical positivism; philosophy of physics. Educ: PhD, University of Helsinki, 1916; Docent of Psychology, University of Helsinki, 1919. Appts: 1921-30, Professor of Philosophy, Turku University; 1930-48, Professor of Philosophy, Helsinki; 1948, Member of Finland's Academy.