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61. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
Gail M. Presbey Kenyan Sages on Equality of the Sexes
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This article traces the larger theme of egalitarianism within the context of equality of the sexes throughout H. Odera Oruka’s interviews with Kenyan sages, whom he asked to share their views on the topic. Often, the sages asserted men’s superiority to women. This paper analyses the sages’ responses, as well as Odera Oruka’s rejoinders to their comments. I have broadened my study to include five sages interviewed by Frederick Ochieng’-Odhiambo, included in his dissertation completed under Odera Oruka’s supervision (1994). I find that the sages’ arguments for women’s inferiority were weak and flawed. Many contemporary Kenyans find fault with views similar to the sages’. The one sage who did elaborate on women’s equality failed to acknowledge that men discourage women from taking action to improve their situation. This article does not reject sage philosophy as an approach to the topic but insists that further study, including women sages, is needed to address the shortcomings of the sage interviews included in Odera Oruka’s Sage Philosophy (1991).
62. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
Anke Graness From Socrates to Odera Oruka: Wisdom and Ethical Commitment
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Odera Oruka’s Sage philosophy project, his definition of philosophy, the method of interviewing sages, and the differentiation between folk and philosophic sages, have been discussed and criticised at length. Unfortunately, less known is Odera Oruka’s work on Ethics. This is especially regrettable, as his philosophical work had two main objectives:· The liberation of philosophy in Africa from ethnological and racist prejudices (Sage philosophy).· The reconstruction of the dimension of sagacity in philosophy which got lost in technical and analytic language during the last decades. Philosophy becamea kind of expert knowledge with specialized terminology, thereby losing its holistic outlook and practical relevance.For Odera Oruka, who situates himself in the Socratic tradition of philosophy, philosophy is not a science in the ivory tower, but has to contribute to the bettermentof the life of the people - it has to be made practical. Philosophers have to deploy the results of their thinking to the well-being of their communities. This is what he considers, following Socrates, the sagacious dimension of philosophy.The aim of the present article is to highlight the ethical dimension of Odera Oruka's work, and to show the inseparable relationship of the Sage Philosophy project and his works on ethics, with a special focus on his concept of global justice. At the same time, the article attempts to show the relevance of Odera Oruka's work to the world philosophical discourse.
63. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
D.A. Masolo Care versus Justice: Odera Oruka and the Quest for Global Justice
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The Kenya-born philosopher Henry Odera Oruka (1944 - 1995) persistently, and consistently, made proposals for a different moral approach to addressing, and possibly solving, some of the root causes of human conflicts across the world. I will call it “taking suffering seriously” as the basis of his idea of a global-level collective justice which, for him, raised the idea of the ethics of care to the level of global justice. I propose in this paper to show that this concern can be found to be pervasive in Oruka’s works, connecting many of his well known positions as well as less known ones, and to discuss its philosophical merits.
64. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
Reginald M.J. Oduor, Ph.D. Editorial Note: Special Issue - Odera Oruka Seventeen Years On
65. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
Francis E.A. Owakah Race Ideology and the Conceptualization of Philosophy: The Story of Philosophy in Africa from Placide Tempels to Odera Oruka
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Philosophy in Africa has come a long way. From the 18th and 19th centuries when it was totally ignored or denied altogether, to when it was given a lower status by ethnophilosophers. Today we talk proudly of an African philosophy. What is often forgotten is its history and the players behind its historical moments. This paper tells the story of how racial ideology had defined the course of philosophy in Africa. We are particularly concerned with telling the story of Henry Odera Oruka, and how he contributed to raising the status of philosophy in Africa.
66. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
Robin Attfield Henry Odera Oruka, Ecophilosophy and Climate Change
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The purpose of this paper is to explore what Henry Odera Oruka, a renowned ecophilosopher and Director designate of an Ecophilosophy Centre, would havethought and argued in the sphere of climate change if he had remained alive beyond 1995 and up to the present time.The methodology of the paper combines an analytic and normative study of ethical issues concerning climate change that arose during the 1990s or have arisen during the subsequent period, with a critical examination of relevant international conferences of the period 1995 to 2012, and of intervening developments, together with inferences grounded in Odera’s knowledge, experience and interests to conclusions about attitudes, arguments and stances that he would have been likely to form in the course of that same period.The central argument of the paper is premised on key concerns of Odera, not least his concern for a “future beyond poverty” for Africa (the title of the World FuturesStudies Federation Conference that he organised in Nairobi in 1995), and for characteristic African values. It is also premised on the impression likely to have been made on Odera by the remarks of Michel van Hulten at this Conference. It argues accordingly that Odera would have been likely to defend some version of the Contraction and Convergence strategy, modified to take account of recent discoveries about humanity’s carbon budget, and the extent to which much of this budget has already been consumed in the period since 1990 by the industrialised countries, to the detriment of developing countries such as the countries of Africa.This paper is relevant to Thought and Practice through presenting to scholars with broad interests in the humanities and social sciences an original examination of climate change ethics and its bearing on Africa, and of Odera’s likely attitudes, arguments and stances in this field, thus supplying suggestions about further research needing to be undertaken on these intellectual, social and political issues, with their special and vital importance for contemporary Africa.
67. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
F. Ochieng-Odhiambo, C. Iteyo Reason and Sagacity in Africa: Odera Oruka’s Contribution to Philosophy
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Commentators on the four trends in contemporary African philosophy as enunciated by H. Odera Oruka frequently focus on the merits and demerits of each trend. However, many of them are obblivious to the way in which sagacity emancipates African philosophy by putting reason in its rightful pivotal position. This article argues that while the professional philosophers accused ethno-philosophers of doing disservice to African philosophy, they too stand accused of the same. This is due to the fact that both ethno-philosophy and professional philosophy function within the Western grid and therefore in the interest and service of theWestern world. Philosophic sagacity, the article argues, discards the undesirable elements of ethno-philosophy and professional philosophy, while retaining desirable ones, namely, the Africanness in ethno-philosophy and the objectivity in professional philosophy. Because philosophic sagacity is African and objective, it is a desired tool of change in Africa. It can, for example, be used to address negative aspects of ethnicity that bedevil Africa. There lies the most important contribution by H. Odera Oruka to philosophy in general and African philosophy in particular.
68. 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.
69. 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.
70. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Reginald M.J. Oduor, Ph.D. Editor’s Note
71. 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.
72. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
dgberevbie@yahoo.com, 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.
73. 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.
74. 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.
75. 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.
76. 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.
77. 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.
78. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Reginald M.J. Oduor, Ph.D. Editor’s Note
79. 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.
80. 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.