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.