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61. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Mesembe Ita Edet Innocent Onyewuenyi’s “Philosophical Re-Appraisal of the African Belief in Reincarnation”: A Conversational Study
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Reincarnation has received substantial treatment in African philosophy. The dominant view of African scholars and researchers on the subject is that it is a beliefthat prevails in African culture. The task of this paper is to revisit Innocent Onyewuenyi’s “philosophical reappraisal” of this African belief. Onyewuenyi’s position is that the African communion with ancestors and their influence on theirl living descendant’s has been incorrectly labeled “reincarnation” by Western anthropologists. But whereas Onyewuenyi portrays the problem as being one of semantics, I shall in this paper argue that the challenge of explaining African cultural phenomenon is one of hermeneutics. The question is a question of hermeneutics, because its focus is not on whether ancestors are metaphysical entities, but rather on what they mean within African existence. The paper adopts the conversational method of African philosophy endorsed by the Conversational School of Philosophy. It aims to show how conversationalism as a procedure of philosophical discourse plays out within the context of its specific canons. In the final analysis the paper promotes the thesis that there is not a belief in reincarnation in African culture strictly speaking, but a belief in the regeneration of life. For the African, life is not cyclical, it is rather eternal.
62. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Bolatito A. Lanre-Abass, Matthew E. Oguh Xenophobia and its Implications for Social Order in Africa
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Xenophobia, a form of discrimination practiced in countries, particularly in South Africa, is one of the major challenges confronting the modern day society. This paper examines xenophobia as a menace showing at the same time that this discriminatory practice bifurcates societies by creating a dichotomy amidst the various occupants of the society, thereby giving room for “otherness” rather than “orderliness”. The paper also highlights the philosophical implications of this societal bifurcation, particularly to the human community. Seeking a plausible way of addressing this challenge, the paper concludes by emphasizing the relevance of the value of tolerance in curbing xenophobia.
63. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Olusola Victor Olanipekun Morality, Justice and the Challenge of Execution of Witches in Africa
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The question whether justice can be completely detached from morality seems to be relevant to the discussion of the issues that surround the execution of witches in Africa. In spite the widespread belief in witchcraft in African societies, it is apparent that part of the West as well as the Judeo-Christian traditions also support this view. However, this does not remove the fact that, there are thousands of individuals who are still sceptical about such belief. This paper agrees with the view of those who believe the existence of witchcraft. Thus, despite the fact that many scholars have written on the existence of witchcraft in Africa, little or no attention has been paid to the question of moral implications of executing witches in Africa. An attempt to fill this gap facilitates an investigation into the nexus between morality and social justice. The fundamental problem now is, is it morally right to kill? Should witches be killed? If witches should be executed, are there moral and legal bases for such killing? How should we account for the question of sanctity of human life? In this paper, effort shall be made to answer these fundamental questions. The methods employed in this research are critical analysis, philosophical argumentation and conceptual clarification.
64. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Ademola Kazeem Fayemi Hermeneutics in African philosophy
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The aim of this paper is to re-examine the hermeneutic in the ongoing discourse on methodology in African philosophy. The diverse understanding of hermeneutics is not only limited to Western philosophy; in the few decades of its history in African philosophy, hermeneutics has also assumed different meanings. This paper discusses not only the historical evolution and development of hermeneutists in the West, but also the African hermeneutists: Tsenay Serequeberhan, Okonda Okolo, Sophie Oluwole, Raphael Madu, and Bruce Janz. Through a comparative critical inquisition on the strengths and the problems involved in the conceptions of hermeneutics by these African philosophers, this paper argues that basic to hermeneutics is dialogue and its proclivity towards intercultural understanding.
65. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Uduma Oji Uduma Beyond Irredentism and Jingoism: Reflections on the Nature of Logic and the Quest for (An) African Logic
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In this article, I attempt once more to revisit the subject of logic in African philosophy or as some would have it, African logic. I discuss the views of those I call jingoists and irredentists and distance myself from them. I argue that there is logic in every human culture and language. I argue also that even the ancient Africans had logic in their languages. My goal is to show that logic as the tool of thought is universal and not culture-bound. To do this, I will investigate the natureof logic and then examine again the notion of (an) African logic before showing the relevance of logic to life. My method will be descriptive, prescriptive and analytical.
66. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Chukwueloka S. Uduagwu Understanding the difference between African Magic and African Science: A Conversation with Christian Emedolu
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In the spirit of conversational philosophy endorsed by the Conversational School of Philosophy (CSP), I am oblige not to venerate ideas but to interrogate and scrutinize them in search of loopholes to be filled and weak points that needed to be strengthened in order to achieve what Jonathan Chimakonam calls theoretic sophistication and promote Global Expansion of Thought (GET). To promote GET in African philosophy which has to do with embedding theories and principles with cultural contents like the idea of African science but making them universally applicable, one needs to ride on the wheels of the tools of Conversational philosophy. The primary aim of this short piece is to converse with Christian Emedolu on his article “From Magic to African Experimental Science: Towards a New Paradigm" and interrogate his ideas to assess their theoretic sophistication
67. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Anthony Okeregbe The African Predicament and a Case for Singer’s ‘Samaritanism’: An Existentialist Interpretation
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Africa has always been viewed as a land of the world’s greatest potential. It has been described ad nauseam as a land of abundant natural and human resources, the cradle of civilization and the bastion of man’s natural spirituality. In spite of this apparent superlative richness, the present African condition is also well documented as a paradox. If Africa is this resource rich, why is it so backward and economically poor? In line with the existentialist notion of solicitude and care, this paper argues for a case of global ‘Samaritanism’, that is, an unsolicited care for the other that is nonetheless morally obligatory by virtue of a shared world and common existence. Drawing insight from the submission of Peter Singer, this paper posits that, if we have the capacity to intervene and prevent something bad from happening, without sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, we ought morally to do it. This paper’s contribution to existing knowledge rests on the extension of Singer’s principle of ‘Samaritanism’ (hitherto restricted to doling out goods and money) to include solicitude and actionable intervention on life-threatening human conditions of whatever kind.
68. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Emerson Abraham Jackson Phronesis and the Epistemological Journey through Research undertakings involving Human Participants in the Context of Sierra Leone
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This article has provided some philosophical thoughts concerning the journey of research undertakings involving human participants, with consideration given to both natural / physical and human / social science fields, and with a focus on the situation in Sierra Leone (where ‘ethical prudence’ seemed to be lacking for various reasons). In the process of professional engagement, researchers must seek to give serious reflective thoughts on how their engagement may affect participants and communities - this study has unravelled some thoughts on evolving perspectives (technology-mediated engagement and feminist views).Ethical code of practice has been highlighted as an important instrument in helping researchers (particularly in the Sierra Leone context) manifest serious thoughts in their epistemic quest for pursuing knowledge, through engagement with human participants. The ethical requirement of a researcher to demonstrate intellectual virtue / prudence is a key aspect of the discourse in this article - that which enable trust to be established, and more so, the researcher's ability to exercise practical wisdom in their engagement with research communities.
69. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Victor C. A. Nweke Mesembe Edet’s Conversation with Innocent Onyewuenyi: An Exposition of the Significance of the Method and Canons of Conversational Philosophy
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The basic thesis of this essay is that the progressive development of any discipline is propelled by incessant constructive criticisms, creative emendation and articulate reconstruction of established positions and received opinions in the discipline. Accordingly, the essay argues that the method and canons of Conversational Philosophy (CP) are very significant to the progressive development of African philosophy. This is because they are fundamentally articulated to promote the constructive criticism, creative emendation, and articulate reconstruction of established positions or received opinions in African philosophy. Itbuttresses this point using Mesembe Edet’s conversation with Innocent Onyewuenyi on the question of the African belief on reincarnation. This choice stems from the explicit admittance of Edet that his conversation with Onyewuenyi adopts the method of conversationalism and the method of conversationalism is undergirded by the canons of CP. Specifically, this essay explicates how the conscious adoption of conversationalism and adherence to the canons of CP enabled Edet to engage Onyewuenyi in a very critical and creative conversation on the African belief in reincarnation which eventually led to a novel reconceptualization of reincarnation in African philosophy. It unveils the significance of conversationalism and the canons of CP in practice. It is therefore a conversational, expository and argumentative essay.
70. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Ndumiso Dladla Towards an African Critical Philosophy of Race: Ubuntu as a Philo-Praxis of Liberation
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Although 1994 is popularly represented as a year of major transition from an oppressive society to a democratic one in South African history, it did not mark the end of White Supremacy but instead its evolution from one constitutional form into another. This is because the so-called “right of conquest” remains affirmed in South Africa by the much celebrated constitution Act 108 of 1996. Since the early 90s, Ubuntu has been employed by the elite parties involved in the “negotiations” for the transition to the “new” South Africa, to justify the new society. This perverse employment of Ubuntu has been largely supported with the aid of sophistic academic posturing by the largely white academic establishment in South Africa and its network of international allies. Using African philosophical hermeneutics as a method, we will ground another interpretation of Ubuntu which stems from two interrelated roots. The first root is a firm understanding of and engagement with the Bantu languages and cultures which are its primordial philosophical basis (and thus crucial) on the one hand. The second is the study of the history of Ubuntu as lived and living philosophy responding to the challenge of the conquest of the indigenous people in the unjust wars of colonisation. Towards this end we will draw from the experience of Ubuntu-inspired movements in the history of the wars of resistance and the struggle for liberation ongoing since 1652.
71. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Diana-Abasi Ibanga Philosophical Sagacity as Conversational Philosophy and its Significance for the Question of Method in African Philosophy
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In this study, I aimed to carry out a comparative analysis of the methods of conversational philosophy and sage philosophy as contributions towards overcoming the problem of methodology in African philosophy. The purpose was to show their points of convergence and probably, if possible, their point of divergence as well. I did not intend to show that the method of one is superior or inferior to the other. The objective was to provide an analysis to show that the two methods are essentially the same with little variations. Thereafter, I highlighted their significance as methods of doing African philosophy and discussed their problems aswell. I used the methods of analysis and hermeneutics. From the study, I concluded that conversational philosophy is an extension or a modified form of sage philosophy. The implication of this conclusion is that sage philosophy and conversational philosophy should overlap each other in research and purposes.
72. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Ada Agada The Apparent Conflict of Transcendentalism and Immanentism in Kwame Gyekye and Kwasi Wiredu’s Interpretation of the Akan Concept of God
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In this paper I compare Kwame Gyekye’s transcendentalist interpretation of the Akan conception of God with Kwasi Wiredu’s immanentist interpretation. I highlight the tension between the two thinkers’ interpretations of Akan religious thought within the broader conflict between transcendence and immanence. Using the analytic, critical, and interpretative method, I show how the reconciliation of Gyekye and Wiredu’s divergent, yet paradoxically overlapping visionscan be effected in the idea of panpsychism. In the process of effecting this reconciliation, I open up a new area of research in African philosophy of religion that African philosophers will find rewarding to engage.
73. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Motsamai Molefe Critical Comments on Afro-communitarianism: Community versus the Individual
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This article draws our attention to the centrality of the normative idea of personhood in elucidating a robust Afro-communitarianism. To do so, it visits the debate between the so-called moderate and radical communitarians to argue that the assertion that a community takes priority over an individual is not an implausible position. It argues that this assertion, given a nuanced moral interpretation, can offer a promising African perspective on how to secure a life of dignity withoutnecessarily appealing to rights but to the normative idea of personhood. It submits that the idea of personhood entails a morality of duties that prioritizes the well-being of all. It is this prioritization of the well-being of all as the proper moral-political goal of Afro-communitarianism that moral-theoretically captures the essence of the assertion that a community takes priority over an individual.
74. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Motsamai Molefe, Mutshidzi Maraganedzha The Function of “It” in Ifeanyi Menkiti’s Normative Account of Personhood: A Response to Bernard Matolino
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This article is a response to Bernard Matolino’s criticisms against Ifeanyi Menkiti’s elucidations on the normative notion of personhood in African philosophy. This article argues that Menkiti’s article is best understood to be ultimately focused on articulating the normative notion of personhood; so understood, Menkiti’s analysis eschews many of the objections made against it by Matolino. We show that the confusion lies in a general failure in African philosophy to distinguish three distinct senses of the notion of a person. We further show how the referent ‘it’ as used to pick out infants by Menkiti, contrary to Matolino’s analysis that suggests that it is an instance of ‘mal-function’ may be charitably construed to be capturing the idea that infants have moral status and/or that they are morally neutral. A defense of Menkiti’s idea of personhood is crucial in a search for a robust African perfectionist ethics.
75. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Odia Ofeimun Abiola Irele: A Tribute to the Master
76. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Babalola Joseph Balogun Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights: The Yoruba Example
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Some foundations have been provided for the social validity of human rights in Western philosophical literature. Some African scholars have also sought to ground the notion of human rights within the traditional African cultural beliefs and practices. There is, however, a dearth in literature on the Yoruba notion of human rights. Perhaps this may be due to scholars’ attitude that any talk about human rights is incompatible with the communalistic social structure of the Yoruba. The present paper challenges this prevalent attitude by providing some philosophical foundations for human rights within the limits permitted by the Yoruba world-view. The paper attempts a theoretical reconciliation between the Yoruba claim to communitarianism and the possibility of human rights.The paper concludes that, in spite of the seemingly antinomic relation they bear to each other, the idea of human rights is neither practically meaningless/unintelligible in a communitarian society, nor is it conceptually incompatible with the communitarian ideology.
77. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Simon Mary Asese Aihiokhai An African Ethic of Hospitality for the Global Church: A Response to the Culture of Exploitation and Violence in Africa
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Barely seventeen years into the twenty-first century, our world continues to be plagued by endless wars and violence. Africa is not immune from these crises. As many countries in Africa celebrate more than fifty years of independence from colonial rule, Africa is still the poorest continent in the world. Religious wars, genocides, ethnic and tribal cleansings have come to define the continent’s contemporary history. Corruption, nepotism, dictatorship, disregard for human life,tribalism, and many social vices are normalized realities in many parts of the continent. Rather than despair, a radical refocusing on Africa’s rich history of hospitality that affirms the flourishing of all life ought to be embraced. This article aims to do exactly this by exploring Africa’s role and place in the history of three Abrahamic religions; Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. While celebrating Africa’s unique role as the gateway for the realization of divine hospitality, this article aims to serve as a witness to an ethic of life that is relevant for the global church’s vision and mission to a pluralistic world and for the mission of the churches of Africa to addressing the social, cultural, and political crises faced by the continent. To achieve these, this work appropriates a comparative theological method that sheds light on the centrality of Africa in these three Abrahamic religions with a bias for the flourishing of life.
78. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Oforbuike S. Odoh An Integrativist attempt to dissolve and Reconstruct Richard Rorty’s Conception of Ironism
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Richard Rorty draws a distinction between an activity of using old words in new senses for self liberation or private autonomy and an activity of searching ‘‘for theories which will get at real essence.’’ He calls those who engage in the former activity ‘‘ironists,’’ people like Proust, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Hegel and Derrida, and calls those who engage in the latter activity ‘‘metaphysicians,’’ people like Plato, Descartes and Kant (RORTYa 1989, 96—97). The ironists, he says, have radical and continuing doubts about their final vocabularies, because they have been impressed by other vocabularies. Unlike metaphysicians who search for words closer to reality, ironists engage only in playing off new words against old ones. When Rorty realized that this distinction is implausible, that both groups shared a certain unavoidable metaphysical link, he then called for replacement of theory with novel in ironism, which implies replacement of philosophy withliterature. Theory, he says, is about general ideas, while the novel is about people. This paper is aimed at averting this implication, by arguing that interpretation of the novel (which is the essence of it) implicates metaphysics and is theory-laden, and that ironism should not be seen in the Rortyan way as that opposed to metaphysics, but as a new (pragmatic) way of doing metaphysics. Integrativism, an African method of philosophy, is employed to dissolve Rorty’s distinctionbetween ironism and metaphysics, and to redescribe ironism as ‘‘innovativism.’’ The method of this work is argumentative, conversational, critical and redescriptive.
79. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Diana-Abasi Ibanga Is Deep Ecology Inapplicable in African Context: A Conversation with Fainos Mangena
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In 2015, Fainos Mangena published an essay entitled “How Applicable is the Idea of Deep Ecology in the African Context?” where he presented a number of arguments to support his thesis that deep ecology as discussed in the West has no place in the African context. Mangena later presented a counter-version of deep ecology that he claims is based on African philosophy. In this paper, I interrogated Mangena’s arguments for rejecting deep ecology and found that they were based on certain erroneous presuppositions. Further, I developed a critique of Mangena’s Shona version of deep ecology which shows it to be impractical, unappealing, and based on a misunderstanding of the true nature of the modern African environment. I employ the method of conversationalism in this work.
80. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
J. Chidozie Chukwuokolo Methodological Anarchism or Pluralism? An Afro-Constructivist Perspective on Paul Feyerabend’s Critique of Science
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In this article, I argue that methodological pluralism is not identical with methodological anarchism. While the former connotes the existence of different methods that could be legitimately employed in different disciplines or contexts, the latter tends to suggest the non-existence of any legitimate method at all. Consequently, I contend that Afroconstructivism, a recent development in African philosophy supports methodological pluralism but repudiates methodological anarchism. The corollary of this is a critical re-evaluation of Paul Feyerabend’s critique of method. My basic argument is that the epistemological framework ofAfro-constructivism accepts Feyerabend’s repudiation of the hegemonic imposition of the method of modern science as valid. However, I argue that an Afro-constructivist interpretation of Feyerabend’s critique gives credence to methodological pluralism as against methodological anarchism. I buttress this position using the methods of logical analysis and argumentation. I begin with an analysis of the question of method, Feyerabend’s critique of method and Afro-constructivism,and then proceed to examine the merit of Feyerabend’s critique from the perspective of Afro-constructivism. At the end, I submit that the logicalproduct of Feyerabend’s critique of method is methodological pluralism.