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 > 7 > Issue: 1
Reginald M.J. Oduor Editor’s Note
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2. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
Emmanuel Ifeanyi Ani Critique of Nkrumah’s Philosophical Materialism
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Kwame Nkrumah invokes the doctrine of emergentism in the hope of reconciling theism - a tenacious part of the African worldview - with materialism. However, in this article I seek to show that this reconciliation is not only ultimately unsuccessful, but is actually impossible. Towards this end, I identify weaknesses in what I call the six argumentative pillars of Nkrumah’s theory of emergentism (which he calls “philosophical materialism”), namely, his arguments regarding the origin of the cosmic material, the primary reality of matter, idealism, categorial convertibility, dialectic change, and the self-motion of matter. The article should provide not only alternative perspectives to Nkrumah’s metaphysics, but also highlight some broader metaphysical implications for both strong and weak emergentism.
3. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
Alade Adetayo Oludare Kinship Structures and Social Justice in Sub-Saharan Africa
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A major obstacle to the development of sustainable democratic systems of government in contemporary sub-Saharan African states is the difficulty in articulating an adequate conception of social justice to serve as a guiding principle in these polities. This difficulty is a consequence of the ethnically heterogeneous character of most of these states. This article argues that while in traditional sub-Saharan African communities social justice is largely based on kinship relations, that traditional framework is too narrow to serve as the basis for the articulation of this important notion in these ethnically pluralistic polities. Consequently, even though kinship relations ought to be retained in the articulation of social justice in these states, the conception of kinship needs to be broadened to transcend simple familial or ancestral relations.
4. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
Kibaba Makokha, Winfred Kyalo Ethical Objections to Commercial Farming and Consumption of Genetically Modified Foods in Kenya
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Food insecurity remains one of the most pressing problems of Third World countries. The causes of this predicament are varied, ranging from drought, inadequate farming methods, poverty, among others. The responses to famine, whenever it strikes in many of these countries, have also been varied, with the most popular one being appeals for food aid from wealthy individuals, corporate bodies and the international community. However, these initiatives have not been sustainable. The need for a permanent solution has attracted varied opinions. On the one hand, some stakeholders take the view that the solution lies in genetically modified foods. On the other, some of the stakeholders are either opposed to such foods, or are cautious about them, citing potential and/or real risks associated with them. This article is premised on the view that technological innovations often raise ethical concerns and even dilemmas that ought to be surmounted in order to enhance public acceptability. In this regard, the article reflects on the ethical objections against GM technology in general, and, in particular, the process leading to the enactment of the biosafety law in Kenya.
5. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
Joseph Situma, Fred Atoh, Juma Ndohvu Mapping out the Identity of African Arts and Aesthetics
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This article utilizes the hermeneutic theory of Paul Ricoeur and its concepts of text, historicity, distance, narrative and metaphor to map out the salient features of African arts and aesthetics. It also uses the Ricoeurian concept of metaphor to demarcate the boundary between art and popular art. The focus of this mapping out is literature, visual arts, music and art criticism. The identity of African literature bears imprints of various indigenous and foreign languages, and pertinent to Ricoeur, the deployment of metaphor. Thematic concerns are patently African by virtue of the historicity of the discourses that feature in the novels, poems and plays. On the other hand, art criticism in contemporary Africa manifests a lack of responsibility, and its practitioners would enhance their capacity by drawing from Ricoeur’s philosophy of interpretive responsibility. Although discourse is significantly valuable in mapping out identity in the African novel, its applicability to the identity of painting, poetry and music is slightly constrained. Furthermore, Ricoeur’s concept of textual autonomy is of least value in dealing with the identity features of symbolic painting and symbolic arts.
6. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
Odoch Pido Jaber: Reflections on a Luo Aesthetic Expression
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As a common expression, the Luo word jaber seems to be ordinary or even casual, yet it is a capsule of profound ideas within the context of Luo aesthetics. Jaber literally means “a person of beauty”: it is often used to describe females who have exceptional physical qualities that make them outstandingly attractive and deeply pleasurable to look at. The article advances the view that the term jaber offers us a key to understanding the aesthetics of the Luo of Kenya and of Western Nilotic-speakers in general.The author drew from personal experience, informal interviews, unpublished songs and existing literature as a basis for description and analysis of jaber. The picture that emerged suggested that visual beauty is only one layer of the meaning of jaber. Exploration of other layers and meanings in a broad context revealed that the expression points to aesthetic ideals, and can therefore be regarded as artistic. Dholuo speakers use the term to express appreciation of what they see, hear and feel; but it is also an intellectual tool used to offer a critique of concrete and non-concrete objects. The article is a contribution to the discourse on East African aesthetics.