The Gadaa System: A Philosophical Appraisal

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Bekele Gutemaa


In this article I want to explore an appropriate and broad understanding philosophy. We have been used to an impoverished and narrow understanding of philosophy. Such an understanding of philosophy assumes that philosophy originated for the first time in ancient Greece alone and then proliferated in Western Europe. This understanding emanates from an ethnocentric position that overlooks the fact that human beings, wherever they may be, cannot avoid philosophical questions. Since philosophical questions are so fundamental to human kind, human beings will be forced to raise philosophical questions despite their geographical location, level of economic progress and the like. After establishing such a broad understanding of philosophy, I will then turn to the discussion of Oromoo philosophy through its various expressions and particularly as it is exhibited through the Gadaa System. The philosophy of a people can be understood as the self-consciousness of the culture of that people. It hence becomes a means through which they evaluate their lived experience and project their future as it relates to the various human activities and relations, politics, economy, environment and many more.

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How to Cite
Gutemaa, B. (2021). The Gadaa System: A Philosophical Appraisal. Gadaa Journal, 4(1), 64-79. Retrieved from
Author Biography

Bekele Gutemaa, Professor of Philosophy, Addis Ababa University

Professor of Philosophy, Addis Ababa University