Cover of Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya
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1. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Reginald M.J. Oduor, Ph.D. Editor’s Note
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2. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Kibaba Makokha The Ethical Foundations of Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Development
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One of the major challenges of the 21st century is the need to harmonize efforts at environmental conservation with endeavours to foster human development. This challenge has been on the world agenda for several decades, and was given great visibility through a report by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) in 1987. The report, popularly known as the Brundtland Report, calls for sustainable development to deal with the twin challenges of environmental conservation and human development. This paper reflects on the concept of sustainable development, and unveils some of the ambiguities andpolitics that have militated against the attainment of this noble objective. The thesis of the paper is that the imperative to attain sustainable development is a moral one, requiring all moral agents to rise to their individual and collective responsibility to secure the well-being of humans as well as that of the natural environment.
3. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Oyekan Adeolu Oluwaseyi Poverty and the Philosophy of Aid in Africa: Beyond Odera Oruka’s Theory of the Right to a Human Minimum
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Poverty in Africa has gained the attention of social activists, Non-Governmental Organizations, scholars from diverse fields, as well as governments. The contemporary reality of poverty, as revealed by various indices, shows that this problem has resisted the interventions so far. In view of the failures of earlier and current approaches to alleviating poverty in Africa, this paper explores the ethical and prudential approaches to setting anew, viable trajectory for poverty alleviation in twenty-first century Africa. It raises the fundamental question of whether or not the affluent individuals in African societies on the one hand, and the wealthy Western nations on the other have any obligation towards the poor in Africa. On the basis of a critical consideration of some ethical theories in relation to the question of poverty, the paper contends that for the sake of stability and progress in the continent, it is necessary to develop programmes for the effectiveassistance of the poor on altruistic and prudential grounds.
4. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Oswell Hapanyengwi-Chemhuru Odera Oruka's Four Trends in African Philosophy and their Implications for Education in Africa
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The late Kenyan philosopher, Henry Odera Oruka, identified six schools of thought on what African philosophy is or could be, namely, ethno-philosophy, philosophic sagacity, nationalisticideological philosophy, professional philosophy, hermeneutic philosophy, and artistic or literary philosophy. The first four are the generally well known and well explained schools of African philosophy. In this article, we seek to reflect on the implications of the four trends on education in Africa. This enterprise is informed by the conviction that philosophy of education, while it deals with some issues that are peculiar to education, can benefit immensely from other philosophical discourses. Consequently, African philosophy of education can derive substantial benefit from interaction with debates on African philosophy.
5. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Jonathan Okeke Chimakonam, Sunny Nzie Agu The Epistemology of Womanhood: Ignored Contentions among Igbo Women of Eastern Nigeria
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Feminists all over the world are united in their contentions on many fronts such as societal norms and conditions that militate against a woman’s expression of her rights and abilities. In as many fronts, they have gained grounds, if not outright victories. However, we observe that among the Igbo women of Eastern Nigeria there is a front which accounts for substantial female deprivation, and which feminists have consistently passed over in their contentions, namely, the feminine cognition also known as epistemology of womanhood. In this paper, using the random sampling method, we have arrived at the conclusion that consciousness oftheir own gender has deprived Igbo women of free expression of their rights and abilities, sometimes as much as constraining societal norms and conditions have done. Consequently, we recommend a conscious adjustment of the epistemology of womanhood among Igbo women.
6. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Oyelakin Richard Taye Questionable but Unquestioned Beliefs: A Call for a Critical Examination of Yoruba Culture
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The fundamental belief in destiny in Yoruba culture is explained within the tradition that for every individual person who comes to aye (earth), there is a package of destiny containing the totality of all that such person will be. However, the content of this destiny is not known to any person except Orunmila, one of the deities. Therefore, it is believed that a person dies if and when he/she has exhausted the content of his/her ori (package of destiny). Included also in the Yoruba belief system is that a youthful death is a sorrowful death. This is predicated on the premise that a young man could not have completed the content of his earthly mission. His death is therefore sorrowful, and he could therefore not be admitted into Orun(“heaven”) to join the league of the ancestors. This is the explanation for the belief in reincarnation, and, more specifically, the belief in akudaaya or abarameji(reincarnated persons).This paper argues for two main points. First, in spite of the Yoruba belief that no human being is privy to the content of destiny, the Yoruba belief in sorrowful or sudden death (ikuofo or iku-ojiji) presupposes some knowledge of the content of each person’s destiny. Second, the beliefs in destiny on one hand, and in sudden or sorrowful death on the other, are mutually exclusive. This means that if one is true the other will be false and vice-versa, so that holding the two together would be contradictory. Because such contradictions are common in the entire gamut of Yoruba belief, there is need for a critical examination of theYoruba belief system in the quest for a modern culture.
7. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Babalola Joseph Balogun The Consequentialist Foundations of Traditional Yoruba Ethics: an Exposition
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Several treatises have been written on the foundations of African moral systems. A significant number of them favours the claim that these systems are founded on religion, with the latter providing a justification for the former. Others have taken a contrary position, denying the supposed necessary causal connection between religion and African moral systems. This paper neither seeks to support nor rebut any of the foundations proposed, but rather to argue for the thesis that from whichever perspective it is viewed - religious, humanistic or rationalist - the Yoruba moral system has strictly consequentialist foundations, and is hence subsumable under the general consequentialist ethical programme. However, the paper notes that Yoruba consequentialism diverges significantly from its western counterpart on the claim that “the end justifies the means”; for whereas this is true of western consequentialism, according to Yoruba consequentialism no evil, however well-intended, can bring about a good end. The Yoruba oral tradition, and particularly the Yoruba language as currently spoken and written among the Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria, supplies tools of analysis, while ethical consequentialism provides the theoretical framework.
8. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Fainos Mangena, Ezra Chitando Euthanasia and the experiences of the Shona People of Zimbabwe
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In this paper, we critically reflect on the concept of Euthanasia as understood in the West and in Africa, and especially in sub-Saharan Africa. From the Western block, we rely on the contributions of Ronald Otremba and James Rachels. In our view, Otremba represents the Traditional Western view of euthanasia, which holds that life is sacrosanct and therefore ought not to be taken away for whatever reasons. Otremba’s defense of passive euthanasia over active euthanasia stems from this understanding. Rachels, on the other hand, does not see any morally significant difference between active and passive euthanasia, for the simplereason that the result is the same - death. Next, as we examine the African view of euthanasia with special reference to Munyaradzi Mawere’s interpretation of the Shona position on it, we want to ascertain whether or not there is something that can be called African euthanasia, and if not, whether or not the understanding of euthanasia in Africa has Western roots.
9. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Reginald M.J. Oduor, Ph.D. Editor’s Note
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10. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Helen Lauer African and Non-African Time: To Contrast or not to Contrast?
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This essay offers a critique of the controversial proposal that peculiarities in African thought concerning time have a negative impact upon African economic development. The proposal under scrutiny takes the form of two corollaries whose notoriety dates back to John S. Mbiti’s (1969) infamous claim that African cultures lack an indigenous concept of the distant future. It is shown that these joint hypotheses appear to be either self-refuting or false. In consequence, the proposal that a cross-cultural scrutiny of time will reveal defective concepts is reconsidered. It is proposed that deficiencies in the perception of time that bear a negative impact upon African economics are instead the cache of foreign experts who fail to appreciate conventional uses of time in Africa as rational strategies for risk avoidance, damage control, for resisting hegemonic authority, quelling foreign expropriation of African resources, and for maximizing efficiency given scarce capital and inadequate infrastructure. What begins as a deflationary dismissal of a long-standing debate over African indigenous thoughts about time concludes with a promising speculation about African idiosyncratic practices of time-management that are instrumental in negotiating the vicissitudes of spiralling underdevelopment.
11. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Kai Kresse 'Building a humane society'
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This paper discusses Odera Oruka’s philosophical work from the perspective of its emphasis on the ‘practical’ impetus that Oruka himself underlined. In different ways, his various projects - his sage philosophy, his philosophy of liberty, his environmental philosophy and, perhaps most importantly, his critiques of African (and implicitly Kenyan) social and political realities - can be seen as manifestations of his commitment to the practical relevance and social significance of knowledge, and his conviction about the potentially liberating force of philosophical critique. Here, I try to provide an overall sketch of this agenda, seeking toinitiate more thorough and detailed discussion for the future. As a main reference point for discussion, I look at how the term ‘humanism’ has been used (and can be used) to describe Oruka’s work, in contrast to the invocation of this term by some nationalist political ideologies, in particular Moi’s so-called ‘nyayo philosophy’. Oruka’s work could be more explicitly appreciated and explored, I argue, for the ways in which he observed and actively criticized instances of inhumanity and ‘false humanism’ in post-colonial Africa.
12. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Ada Agada African Philosophy and The Challenge of Innovative Thinking
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This paper argues that the continued emphasis on ethno-philosophy and the relative absence of intellectual passion and curiosity are the greatest challenges facing African philosophy. The paper rejects the racist lamentation of scholars such as Olufemi Taiwo who blame the West for Africa’s absence from the stage of world philosophy. It highlights the link between L.S. Senghor’s doctrine of negritude, the philosophy of Innocent Asouzu, and the emerging synthesis of consolationism to underline the fact that African philosophy has made some progress, although things could be much better. The paper concludes by urging African philosophers to be more radical and innovative in their thinking, as innovation and originality are the only conditions for the universal acceptance of, and interest in, African philosophy.
13. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Ibanga B. Ikpe Morality and Martyrdom
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Religious martyrdom has grabbed centre stage in recent times. This has been due mainly to the activities of Muslim jihadists and other disaffected religious zealots who choose ‘martyrdom’ as a form of protest and a means of inflicting injury on their perceived enemies. Much work has been done on the Islamic fundamentalists, who epitomize contemporary martyrdom. Indeed, for the untutored, religious martyrdom appears to be limited to this group. In contrast to such an outlook, this paper seeks to establish the Christian equivalent of contemporary Islamic martyrs. It attempts a broad characterization of different types of martyrdom, taking into account the martyrs of the past and our everyday use of the term ‘martyr’. It also explores different perspectives of the morality of martyrdom, especially the more popular self-martyrdom of contemporary times. It identifies self criminalization by religious functionaries as a form of ‘martyrdom’, especially given the perception of the members of the congregation and the influence that such self-criminalization has on society. It posits the immorality of self criminalization, especially given the high esteem in which society holds religious functionaries, and argues for the de-radicalization of religion.
14. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Ephraim W. Wahome, Joan J.W. Gathungu Brand Personality and The Evolution of Destination Kenya during The Colonial Period
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This paper offers an intellectual discourse for destination managers by exploring alternative branding approaches used during the colonial period in Kenya, now that the image is under siege both internally through socio-economic instability and unprecedented levels of poaching, and externally through travel warnings, outright trafficking in big game trophies, the constant threat of terror attacks, and poor global rankings in the Travel and Tourism Competitive Index. The paper conforms to the mission of thought and practice by identifying practical ways of promoting tourist destination Kenya through an in-depth analysis of historical experiences.
15. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1, Adekunle O. Shodipo, Faith O. Oviasogie Leadership and Accountability
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A sizable number of scholars have argued that development in any nation is a function of a leadership that subscribes to the principles of accountability in government at various levels. This paper employs the methodology of historical research, which involves the analysis of secondary data obtained from relevant books, journals, internet resources, magazines and newspapers, to examine leadership and accountability as they relate to the challenges of development in Nigeria, with particular reference to the management of public resources. It observes that these challenges are premised among others on poor leadership at various levels of government. The paper concludes that for the living standards of Nigerians to be enhanced, there is need to enforce strict compliance of public officials with rules governing the management of public resources, thereby curbing corruption.
16. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Mark Omorovie Ikeke Thomas Berry’s Idea of Technological Transformation
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Nigeria’s Niger Delta, which produces the oil and gas that have made the country the twelfth largest oil producer in the world, has suffered from environmental degradation caused by oil and gas exploration involving the use of technologies that are very often applied without consideration for the health and well-being of the entire ecosphere. This paper argues that the ideas of the eco-philosopher, Thomas Berry, on technological transformation can be helpful in mitigating such damage in the Niger Delta. The paper concludes that oil technology is not essentially undesirable, but can actually be used to positively transform the Niger Delta. The paper contributes to efforts at promoting ecological conservation.