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61. 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.
62. 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.
63. 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.
64. 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.
65. 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.
66. 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.
67. 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.
68. 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.
69. 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.
70. 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.
71. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Joseph Situma A Critique of Foucault’s Conception and Predictions of the Author-Function
72. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Emmanuel Ifeanyi Ani From Marriage to Political Leadership: Lessons in Social Competencies from the Igbo Conception of Marriage
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Owing most probably to Western-style modernization, marriage is increasingly understood to be a business strictly for married couples. However, I argue that this is an error, as many inexperienced couples are left to their own devices, and thereby often fail to utilize marriage to acquire the social competencies that are crucial to wider social responsibilities, including political leadership. The modern atomic conception of marriage is influenced by the Kantinspired Western conception of moral autonomy. Nevertheless, I reject this conception as excessively absolutist, and argue that moral autonomy can be tempered by lack of experience, human desire and circumstantial pressures in life. Many African societies view marriage as a union of societies rather than that of individuals, and I argue that the moral support offered by the extended family and the community at large is ultimately geared to inculcate in the spouses inter-personal and social skills of restraint, prudence, tolerance, constructive criticism and other virtues desperately needed to execute societal responsibilities.
73. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Pamela Olivia Ngesa African Women Commuter Traders in Nairobi in the First Decade after World War 1: 1919-1929
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This article investigates African women commuter trading activities in Nairobi in the first decade after World War One. Its findings derive mainly from a research project carried out in 1989-1996. The major source of data for the study was oral interviews with the women who traded in Nairobi during the years under study, as well as with eyewitnesses to their trading activities. Sampling of such respondents employed the purposive technique because of its ability to deal with the problem of an incomplete population frame by conveniently drawing the required study sample from available resources. The research drew other data from library and archival sources, especially to corroborate the oral evidence. However, this article utilises additional archival and library data to achieve greater comprehensiveness than was attained in the earlier version. The article therefore makes an important intellectual contribution to the ongoing debate on the social, political and economic role and impact of African women’s economic activities such as commodity trade in African towns.
74. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
H.M. Majeed Religion and the Problem of Rationality: Insights from Akan Religious Thought
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Arguments against the practice of religion and, in general, against belief in metaphysical entities, have been made in different cultures and at different times in human history. This article, however, does not offer a historical outline of such arguments. Rather, it reflects on some contemporary remarks made, especially in Western thought, against religion. It illustrates how a correct understanding of Traditional Akan Religion renders untrue claims that seek to dismiss religion on the grounds of irrationality. Utilising philosophical reflection, it shows how rational belief in a Traditional African Religion such as the Akan one is.
75. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Fainos Mangena Ethno-philosophy is Rational: A Reply to Two Famous Critics
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In this article, I contend that philosophical reactions against ethno-philosophy, especially the arguments by professional African philosophers such as Paulin Hountondji and Kwame Anthony Appiah, cannot go unchallenged at a time when Africa is facing a myriad of problems such as disease, famine, ethnic conflicts, religious wars, and natural disasters which, in my view, stem from the continent’s failure to reflect on its past in the quest for lasting solutions. Having looked at the historical context of the emergence of ethno-philosophy or the project of cultural revivalism, and having closely examined the premises presented by Hountondji and Appiah against ethno-philosophy - which I consider to be unconvincing because of their tendency to glide into Western philosophical forms of thought - I argue that ethno-philosophy is just like Western philosophy, as it is based on a recognized form of reasoning, namely inductive reasoning, which is packaged in proverbs, riddles and other cultural resources. I also argue that religious beliefs are not an obstacle to the development of scientific thought in Africa; rather, they are an aid to it since both have complementary rather than opposing roles.
76. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Adebayo A. Ogungbure Towards an Internalist Conception of Justification in African Epistemology
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In current discussions on African epistemology, the issue of justification of beliefs has mainly been considered from an externalist perspective, such that justification is described as achievable merely through the means of empirical verification and social context of discourse. However, this results in a knowledge-gap since both internalist and externalist perspectives are needed to arrive at a holistic notion of epistemic justification. Consequently, the objective of this article is to fill this gap by employing the methods of conceptual and critical analysis to attempt an internalist interpretation of epistemic justification in the quest for a more balanced view of African epistemology.
77. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Balogun Babalola Joseph Ibi: An Examination of the Yoruba Traditional-Existentialist Conception of Evil
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The problem of evil is of universal concern to humankind. Various attempts have been made to account for it in Western philosophy as well as in world religions such as Christianity, Islam and African traditional religion. This article examines the Yoruba existentialist attitude to the problem of evil. Using the Yoruba oral tradition, it posits that for the Yoruba evil is the creation of each individual, so that God cannot be blamed for its existence. I conclude the article with my own personal view that given the individual as a carrier of evil seed, the best existential outlook is to be ready to face, with stoic courage, whatever life brings one’s way.
78. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Roger Künkel Philosophizing about Africa in Berlin
79. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Reginald M.J. Oduor Editor’s Note
80. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Ronald Olufemi Badru Colonial Legal Reasoning in the Post-Colonial African State: A Critique and a Defense of the Argument from African Metaphysical Epistemology
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This article focuses on legal reasoning and legal epistemology within the African context. It examines the system of legal justice in post-colonial Africa and submits that because of the colonial legacy, post-colonial African legal reasoning is methodologically founded on empiricism and positivism. It avers that despite its merit of scientific objectivity, such legal reasoning is largely incapable of addressing offences committed through the manipulation of metaphysical realities or other forms of covert criminalities and wrongdoing. Consequently, the article proposes that the methodology of African metaphysical epistemology be adopted to complement the colonial methodology of legal reasoning in Africa, as it has the advantageous result of helping in the search for truth concerning such offences, thereby promoting the delivery of effective legal justice, and thus contributing significantly to the development of a balanced and reliable justice system in contemporary African societies. The methods of critical analysis, reflective argumentation and oral interview were adopted to pursue the goals of the study.