n Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions - "Ibuanyidanda" and the philosophy of essence 1




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.


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