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- Volume 1, Issue 1, 2011
Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions - Volume 1, Issue 1, 2011
Volume 1, Issue 1, 2011
Source: Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 1, pp 1 –38 (2011)More Less
Recently, concepts as mathematical understanding and mathematical meaning are becoming issues in philosophy of mathematics. Particularly interesting is that such topics border on semantics. one earnestly wonder how semantical issues can be sorted out in mathematics even though any mention of number calls into the human mind images of its supposed meaning and value. We may even be able to claim this knowledge but that would be as simple intuition which is readily crippled as we try to formalize it or as our numbers increase.
Humanistic basis for African traditional religious theology and ethics : (a challenge to the church in Nigeria)Author Udobata OnunwaSource: Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 1, pp 39 –61 (2011)More Less
African Theology has been a very confused term in theological discurse. It has been described as the Theology of African Traditional Religion or African version of Christian Theology. Each view has had its own strong supporters and has been projected to imply African ideas. In this paper, the present writer would uphold African Theology to mean and represent the theological expression of the Traditional African Religion which is the modern version of the religion of the ancestral founding fathers of the communities. The ethics also relate to the same religious faith of the ancestors. Christian theology is yet to be made African both in its ontological existence and expression by African indigenous Christians. Sad enough, many African Christians have no Christology in their vernacular and cannot think of God and Jesus in their local language. Many in fact find it difficult to pray in vernacular and as such cannot express Christian theological ideas in their own language, thought-pattern and conceptual scheme. This lack of in depth experience of Christianity in many African minds has made African brand of Christianity a mere epiphenomenon on both African life and society. The Jewish cosmology and milieu which formed the core background of Jesus' teaching and explanation of the universe while he was here on earth has continued to be appropriated by many different African groups who cannot fully decode and apply Jesus' teaching in their own context. It is sad to note that the early attempt to translate the Bible in many African Languages, though a noble effort, was mere transliteration rather than deep meaningful and contextual translation. A deep and analytical reading of the Igbo Bible in particular, by one who understands classical Hebrew and Greek would discover many pitfalls in the efforts of those early translators whose knowledge of Hebrew and the Igbo was not deep enough. More so, they translated from the King James Version of the Bible with its numerous weaknesses and errors.
Author Chris O. IjiomahSource: Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 1, pp 62 –78 (2011)More Less
In a brief comment I will appeal first to common sense conditions of our time which motivate me as I think along the line of the subject of this work; secondly I will locate the basic thesis of this assignment.
On the first motivation, I assume a wide range of agreement that today in our culture, people more than ever before, face dilemma in the areas of our country's governance or administration. Are they to look up to the formerly educated or are they to follow the leadership of those who are not formerly tutored? The leadership disappointments our people have suffered in the hands of almost all creams of this population has in part been caused fundamentally by our leaders' insensitivity to the moral dimension of knowledge. To appreciate this situation is both a domestic and national necessity. To act otherwise is to call for damaging consequences unto the nation as this work will attempt to show. Thus there is a challenge to "ALL" on the use and task of knowledge. All are involved because every position is at least justified on the basis of its structural authority. In this light, every authority assumes a degree of knowledge commensurate to the exercise of such an authority. For any person who is in a position of authority to do well he must be conscious of the assumed justification of his position. The assumed justification is thus epistemic in nature.
Author Innocent I. AsouzuSource: Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 1, pp 79 –118 (2011)More Less
The first task in this lecture is to explicate the concept "philosophy". From the insight thereby derived, I shall proceed to shed light on the expression "philosophy of essence". Thereafter, I shall expound the concept "ibuanyidanda" and show how a philosophy articulated around this concept can help us avoid some of the difficulties presented by a "philosophy of essence". The insights derived from these expositions would lead to a new understanding of philosophy as the "science of missing links".
To the question, what is philosophy? - most philosophers are likely to agree with the observation that "What Philosophy is and what its value is, is contentious" (Jasper, Einführung in die Philosophie, 9). This observation itself is the foundation of most controversies and disagreements in philosophy, and goes to show the character of philosophy as the apex of all honest concerted efforts at understanding and explaining reality ultimately. A. J. Ayer raises a question, which he answers himself, that would enable us understand better what philosophy, and with it a philosopher is. Thus he asks: "What has the philosopher to contribute? And with what authority? The easiest way to answer this question will be to show philosophy at work in one of its branches, and for this purpose I shall start with metaphysics" (The Central Questions of Philosophy 2), which for him studies "reality as a whole". Not only Ayer proceeds in this way, but Aristotle, one of the most famous ancient philosophers, seeks to demonstrate what philosophy is by reference to one of its branches, "metaphysics". Because metaphysics, in the words of Aristotle studies "being qua being" or the ultimate cause of reality, it is "first philosophy". It is in this sense that metaphysics is "arguably more fundamental" than other branches of philosophy (Carr, Metaphysics, An Introduction 2) and brings out the philosophical temperament more clearly, as the honest attempt to penetrate reality ultimately.
Author Ejikeme Dennis IgweSource: Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 1, pp 119 –131 (2011)More Less
Punishment under law is basically a technique of social control, and every society has its own means of controlling the social behavior of its citizens in order to attain its desired goals. A philosophical look at this legal exercise is called jurisprudence and this is a study of Igbo jurisprudential look at the theory of punishment. The importance of the legal framework in any society cannot be overemphasized. The law thus, provides, among other things, the penal technique by which those found guilty of offences abhorred by the society are punished. The traditional African society has its body of customary laws, a rich penal system that governs the affairs of its people. Though largely unwritten, prior to the advent of the colonialists, this legal system integrated and fostered the unity of various African societies and ensuring their development.
We shall in this paper, critically assess the notion of punishment as it relates to traditional Africa with particular reference to Igbo society of Nigeria. In doing this, we shall consider what punishment is; why punishment is upheld in the society; who the Igbos are; the traditional Igbo society; and punishment in traditional Igbo society. Finally, we shall critically analyze the notion of punishment as it regards traditional Igbo society.
Inquiry into the defining conditions of knowledge claim : an exercise from the perspective of integrative epistemologyAuthor A. Ibrahim AdekunleSource: Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 1, pp 132 –150 (2011)More Less
The search for the proper characterization of the nature of knowledge has remained an endemic problem in the field of epistemology. This search for the constitutive elements of knowledge is a product of the attempt to negate the skeptic's denial of objective knowledge. In his dialogue, Theatetus, Plato defines knowledge as a justified true belief. This definition of knowledge is generally referred to in epistemology as "the traditional or standard account of knowledge" and has been at the centre of all epistemological works. However, in 1963 Edmund L. Gettier called the attention of the epistemological world to the inadequacy of the traditional account of knowledge through a set of thought experiments. The aim of Gettier's essay "Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?" is to demonstrate the insufficiency of the conditions of knowledge provided by the traditional account. This implies that Gettier's essay is not a rejection of the three conditions; rather it is a call for the search of a fourth condition. Consequently, all post Gettier epistemological works have been directed towards the search for the fourth condition of knowledge. Against this background, this paper seeks to examine the conditions under which knowledge claims can be duly regarded as proper knowledge. To achieve this aim, the paper attempts a clarification of the concept, 'knowledge'. It also unravels the inadequacy of the traditional conception of knowledge as 'justified true belief' on the basis of one of Gettier's thought experiments. Furthermore, the paper examines (with the aid of thought experiments); three notable attempts by Post-Gettier philosophers to supply the fourth condition of knowledge. And finally, the paper extrapolates on the basis of the inadequacies of the theories examined and the insights from integrativism, the idea of knowledge as "integratively justified true belief".
Author Godfrey O. OzumbaSource: Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 1, pp 151 –170 (2011)More Less
This essay has become necessary since after the presentation of Professor Asouzu's inaugural lecture titled Ibuanyidanda: and The Philosophy of Essence. A number of students graduate and undergraduate have accosted me to differentiate between my philosophy of integrative humanism and Asouzu's. Initially I felt there was no point embarking on such a venture because it looked trivial, inconsequential and rather accusational and instigative. I asked myself do they want to know whether I plagiarized Asouzu or is it a genuine interest to understand the dynamics of our individual thoughts.
Again, I said to myself if there is a comparison to make, it should not be me who should make it to avoid the burden of prejudice and inobjectivity. An independent scholar I thought should dispassionately examine the two positions to know the extent of similarities and dissimilarities. But on a more reflective thought, I considered that there is need for a ground clearing comparative analysis from one of the protagonists of the theories at least to provide the authorial perspective on my perception of Asouzu's theory vis a vis my philosophical position. I thought this could throw more light to prevent a blind or misconceived rendering of my objectives in the work. This essay therefore, is to provide a second mirror aside my book The Philosophy and Method of Integrative Humanism in piercing the soul of the author to grasp his own understanding of himself.
Kant's idea of space and time in relation to African notion of reality : making sense out of a senseless worldAuthor Mamadu T. TitusSource: Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 1, pp 171 –192 (2011)More Less
It is a truism that the idea of space and time are not only interesting epistemological modes of knowing about reality, but that they also provide basic tools for analysis, prediction and explanation of phenomena in the empirical and non-empirical sciences. Space and time, thus, form a natural bridge over an examination of common sense and rational basis of how knowledge is acquired about realities. Nevertheless, the fundamental basis and process from which the functionality of space and time could be ascertained or determined, and to what extent realities could be conceived to exist within and beyond space and time is highly probable and uncertain. It thus becomes very pertinent to delve into the epistemological foundation of Kant's idea of space and time in order to know how reality unfolds itself in different modes, categories, cultures, religious beliefs and so on. And since African culture has a peculiar way of perceiving reality that exists within space and time, our epistemological discourse would be to examine and analyze Kant's idea of space and time, (which serve as intuitive, internal and necessary conditions of knowing about reality) in relation to the modes of knowing in African thought. Again, it is aimed at projecting the ontological, metaphysical and epistemological conception of reality and how knowledge is acquired from the material and transcendental worlds. It also exposes Kant's idea of how knowledge is acquired within space and time and not beyond space and time. In juxtaposition, however, the work has proved that in African ontology, there is no limit to knowledge. Thus, both the noumenal and phenomenal worlds create room for acquiring human knowledge; that in African thought, knowledge aboutreality is acquired both "within" and "beyond" the limits of space and time.
Mental surgery: another look at the identity problem
Dedicated to late Prof. C.S. Momoh, a thunderous philosopher, on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of his transition to the world of formsSource: Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 1, pp 195 –208 (2011)More Less
Why does the same person continue to exist overtime, despite bodily changes? How do we know that we are today, the persons we were yesterday? What constitutes the person, is it the body, brain, soul or the memory? Are we going to survive our bodily death or is death the end thereof? And most importantly, Why am I me instead of not me? This very question may appear superficial at surface value but deep down, it is the basis of genetic diversity. Even farther than that, it is the explanation of one and many, of here and there, and of you and me. Were we all the same, then we would not talk of we, but I. In a world of "I", who am I? To this I respond, void!
But there is a long standing argument as to what constitutes me. In other words, what makes me a person? Is it the mind or the body? This problem was created early in the history of philosophy (Omoregbe, 183: Moreland,118-119) and down the line, so many years later, it is shadowing the application of personal identity. Most writers on this issue say the metaphysical soul is the person. They generally run into Ryle's category mistake, Ryle, 123) as well as the mistake of treating personhood as (in Leibnitz' term) a windowless monad (Russell,533). According to this view, bodily death is not the end of one's personal existence. This dualist view endorsed by Plato, Descartes and many others (Mautner, 417), is that we are a union of material body and nonmaterial soul. The body and the soul are different substances, one physical, the other mental, and each can exist without the other. It is the soul which gives us our distinctive identity (Descartes, 280-286), and it does not perish when the body dies. We continue to exist in some nonmaterial realm. Others say it is the psychological mind or the memory. According to this criterion, it is the continuity of the mind's content rather than the body which ensures personal identity. We are the same persons we were yesterday because we have overlapping thoughts and memories from the past to the present. This is roughly the view expressed by John Locke, the first philosopher to systematically investigate the problem of personal identity (Furman and Avila, 146). Others include, Thomas Reid and David Hume to mention a few.
Author Agu N. SundaySource: Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 1, pp 209 –216 (2011)More Less
It is the occupation of philosophers to discover ways by which our knowledge is acquired, the depth of our knowledge, and the standards or criteria by which we can reliably judge the truth or falsity of our knowledge.
Often, we are apt to accept without questioning, what we think we know about our environment and indeed the whole universe. Sometimes, we are shuddered to learn that what we thought was certain are proved to be erroneous or false. When this scenario repeats itself, we tend to become doubtful or suspicious to all our claims to certainty.
When for instance, a teacher we have enormous faith in, comes along to confess that all he's been teaching us are spurious theories because he did not want us to know the truth, we might begin to doubt not only this man and his theories but other men, their theories and even ourselves. In this discomfort, we would ultimately begin to wonder what kind of evidence and condition we would need to help us discover the states of truth and falsity. Indeed, we would begin to ask the sort of questions which, to this day, have landed philosophers in a postmodern impasse, in attempts to develop a theory of knowledge.