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Historically the West African philosophical traditions have had a significant impact on Islamic philosophy as a whole as much of the Islamic philosophical tradition was subject to the influence of scholars born or working in the African continent in centres of learning such as Djenne and Timbuktu in Mali.

Many of these intellectuals and scholars created a philosophical tradition in these cities.

Furthermore, in A Discourse on African Philosophy: A New Perspective on Ubuntu and Transitional Justice in South Africa, Christian B. Gade argues that the ethnophilosophical approach to African philosophy as a static group property is highly problematic.

He challenged a number of ideas of his age including Arianism, and established the notions of original sin and divine grace in Christian philosophy and theology.

In the Islamic tradition, Ibn Bajjah philosophized along neo-Platonist lines in the 12th century C. The purpose of human life, according to Bajja, was to gain true happiness, and true happiness is attained by grasping the universals through reason and philosophy, often outside the framework of organized religion.

Some pre-Modern African diasporic philosophical traditions have also been identified, mostly produced by descendants of Africans in Europe and the Americas.

One notable pre-modern diasporic African philosopher was Anthony William Amo, who was taken as a slave from Awukenu in what is now Ghana, and was brought up and educated in Europe where he gained doctorates in medicine and philosophy, and subsequently became a professor of philosophy at the universities of Halle Halle and Jena in Germany.

Ibn Sab'in challenged the above view, arguing that Aristotelian methods of philosophy were useless in attempting to understand the universe, because those ideas failed to mirror the basic unity of the universe with itself and with God, so that true understanding required a different method of reasoning.

The most prominent of West Africa's pre-modern philosophical traditions has been identified as that of the Yoruba philosophical tradition and the distinctive worldview that emerged from it over the thousands of years of its development.

The Nigerian philosopher Uzodinma Nwala, prior to his employment to teach at UNN, said that there was no African Philosophy available as a course of study in universities.

"All we were taught as students were Western philosophy. In fact, many years after the introduction of the courses, there still remained arguments among experts, whether there was really African Philosophy".

Ancient Egyptian philosophers also made important contributions to Hellenistic philosophy and Christian philosophy.

In the Hellenistic tradition, the influential philosophical school of Neoplatonism was founded by the Egyptian philosopher Plotinus in the 3rd century CE.

In North Africa, arguably central to the development of the ancient Egyptian philosophical tradition of Egypt and Sudan was the conception of "ma'at", which roughly translated refers to "justice", "truth", or simply "that which is right".

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