Contrast of Worldview Philosophies – African and European

The following lists summarize the basic concepts of the African and the European World-Views

Orville Boyd Jenkins



Religious – God the Creator (though far away). All things are related.

Secular – A set order in the universe, independent existence, naturalistic view.

Spirit-World – Many factors in life cannot be known, controlled or predicted. Humans are at the mercy of the forces of life. Resignation to conditions.

Scientific Approach – Describe, Control, Manipulate; Change your destiny. Aggressive. Frustration with failure.

Dynamic – An active world seen in relational terms.

Mechanical – Static, Cause-effect. Linear concepts. Productivity; Organization.

Relationship – Truth is in Experience and Relationship.  

Knowledge – Facts are important. Truth is in correlation of statement to observable, testable phenomena.

Event – Meaning Centers in the Verb: Event Primary.

Substance – Noun-Adjective: Entity and Description primary.

Focus on Present – The world is uncontrollable. Immediacy. Presence of an individual takes precedence over plans.

Predictability – Reproducible phenomena, Probability. Planning a high value. Same result from same factors every time.

Group Identity--Obligations. Commitment to the Group.

Individualistic -- Rights. Commitment to Principle.

First published in the book Dealing with Differences: Contrasting the African and European Worldviews, 1991.
Copyright © Orville Boyd Jenkins 1991, 2004
Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use. Other rights reserved.
Orville Jenkins Thoughts and Resources

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