How to talk about physical reality? Other models, other questions
Investigating the nature of our apparent physical reality is a profound challenge. Our models from physics, while powerful, do not treat reality per se. The famous painter Paul Gaugin articulated the relevant existential questions famously in a grand painting - questions that also give the painting its title: D’où venons-nous? Que sommes-nous? Où allons-nous? People of religious faith, of course,...
The problem of destiny in Akan and Yoruba traditional thoughts: A comparative analysis of the works of Wiredu, Gyekye and Gbadegesin
Many African scholars have expressed varied thoughts about the concept of a person, specifically about that which constitutes a person in African philosophy. These philosophers include Kwasi Wiredu, Kwame Gyekye and Segun Gbadegesin. What they have in common, though, is that their ideas on the concept of a person issue largely from the traditional philosophies of some West African peoples. Wiredu and Gyekye reflect on...
Rape and adultery in ancient Greek and Yoruba societies
In Athens and other ancient cultures, a woman, whatever her status and whatever her age or social class, was, in law, a perpetual minor. Throughout her life, she was in the legal control of a guardian who represented her in law. Rape, as unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman, warranted a capital charge in the Graeco-Roman world. It still carries a capital charge in some societies and is considered a felony in others. As...
Why was carthage destroyed? A re-examination from an economic perspective
The story of Rome‟s destruction of the once buoyant maritime city of Carthage in 146 B.C. has been explained by many scholars, generally, in terms of the fear and security threats posed by Carthaginian naval authority and great trade across the Mediterranean. This kind of generalization leaves little room for other intrinsic causes of the destruction and plays down the core policies that characterized Roman imperialism...
The elephant in pre–colonial Ghana: Cultural and economic use values
Using multi–sources: archeaology, history, geography, anthropology, wildlife, zoology, biology, oral tradition and archival material, the article examines the history of the elephant in Ghana, highlighting the various methods employed in hunting as well as the cultural and economic use values of the elephant in Ghana.
Christian missions and evolution of the culture of mass education in western Nigeria
The culture of mass education has become an enduring tradition in Western Nigeria. The root of this culture is traceable to the mid-nineteenth century when the Christian missionary bodies began a process of systematic evangelization, using Western education as a medium and an indispensable tool. Early converts were taught how to read the Bible in vernacular – a measure that helped produce the first widespread...
Pawn of contesting imperialists: Nkoransa in the Anglo-Asante rivalry in northwestern Ghana, 1874-1900
Scholarship on the history of imperialism has tended to overly concentrate on Western imperial hegemony over non-Western societies. On the other hand forms of imperialism in societies elsewhere, particularly Africa, remain understudied. The frame of Western imperialism with its operational principles has generally been represented by non Western scholars as economically exploitative, culturally repressive, politically...
Reality check: The possible detection of simulated environments through observation of selected physical phenomena
And yet, and yet… Denying temporal succession, denying the self, denying the astronomical universe, are apparent desperations and secret consolations. Our destiny… is not frightful by being unreal; it is frightful because it is irreversible and iron-clad… The world, unfortunately, is real; I, unfortunately, am Borges.” — Jorge Luis Borges, “A New Refutation of Time”
Remediating deficiencies in the implementation of the rules of ‘ilmuttajwid and ‘ilmul-qira’at in Nigeria
This paper delves into crucial issues surrounding attempts to make flawless Qur’anic recitation, in Nigeria, a permanent tradition. The paper identifies major militating factors against an error-free recitation of the holy Qur’an in Nigeria as a basis for locating appropriate remedial programmes. The study discovered that factors such as acquisition of deficient typologies, language interference, complexity...
Profiling a model for the administration of zakat in a multi-religious society: The case of south-western Nigeria
Islam is undoubtedly one of the world’s leading religions today with adherents cutting across all the continents. It is even said to be the world’s fastest-growing religion1. The practice of its tenets therefore is worldwide regardless of whether the adherents of the religion are the majority or constitute the minority group where they live. Like other tenets of Islam, adherents are expected to practise...
Book Review: The mind-body problem
Raymond N. Osei, The Mind-Body Problem in Philosophy: An Analysis of the Core Issues, Hope Publications Ltd., Ibadan, Nigeria, 2006. Pp. 225. ISBN 978-8080-18-9 This book begins without pretensions on the position the author wants to defend. The opening statement says “the position I intend to support is the belief that there is a material world and that this is all there is”. The author also...
Rawls in the African predicament: Some theoretical considerations
The colonial experience in Africa is an epochal phenomenon. This is because the postcolonial conditions became crippling enough to determine the direction that Africa would take. The colonial logic through series of sociocultural, economic and political “pre-texts” ensured the disruption of the African psyche and societies. One of the ways in which the Africa is coming to term with its disrupted existence is...
The critical presence of the other: Comparative philosophy, self-knowledge, and accountability
Western philosophy has traditionally taken justification as necessary for constituting genuine knowledge. On the contemporary scene, however, several influential epistemological theories (Gadamer, Polanyi, Kuhn, Sellars) see the project of epistemological transparency as undermined by the fact that implicit conditions necessarily underlie our explicit knowing. In this paper, I argue that “we” must engage...
Sin, punishment and forgiveness in ancient greek religion: A yoruba assessment
This paper looks in particular at the special sin of hubris in ancient Greek religious thought. It examines what constitutes hubris and some cases in which hubris has been committed and punished. It demonstrates with examples that hubris is an unforgivable sin in ancient Greek religion and examines the reasons for this concept. Finally, the paper interprets the operation of hubris in Greek religion from the Yoruba...
The quest for development in Africa and the dilemma of competing cultural paradigms
This essay reopens the debate among African politicians and intellectuals concerning which paradigm is the most suitable for achieving the goals of development in Africa at this present moment of her history. Since the early 70s, African intellectuals and politicians have reflected on this problem and the highpoint of the debate was that only a synthesis of our traditional cultural elements with other relevant areas of...
Giving voice: Instigating debate on issues of citizenship, participation and accountability
While there is a near unanimity on the need for participation there is yet no such agreement on the type and degree of participation to be adopted in a particular project. One thing that has never being doubt is the fact that local people have not being accorded their rightful recognition and respect by most intervention agencies hence the failure of some projects. So how does a project which seeks to address the issues...
Change and continuity in native political systems: The case of the Denkyira state
Using Denkyira (an Akan tribal group in Ghana) as case study, the paper analyses the emergence, subsistence and declivity of indigenous political systems in post-colonial Africa. It argues that whilst there has been continuity in the cherished values of democracy and development, there has been a change in the political and social institutions for their realization. And colonialism bears a heavy, though far from...
A retrospect towards change: Proverbs in gynocentric Yoruba written plays
Among the Yoruba of Nigeria, OWE (proverbs) are short veiled charter statements, highly valued as a socializing phenomenon. They originate from the observation of natural occurrences and human interactions. Proverbs, like myths, have been chauvinistically manipulated to vindicate women\'s disempowerment especially in important public shares, through socio-acculturation. However, despite an entrenched negative...
Yoruba deities in Aimé Césaire\'s Dramaturgy
The French Caribbean Literature is replete with African cultural archetypes, an important inheritance from the African origin of the predominantly black population. Most prominent of these archetypes are traceable to the Yoruba culture and faith system. This paper studies the esthetic use of Yoruba deities in Aimé Césaire\'s dramatic works. The study reveals that Césaire, who is ever conscious...
The I Ching or “Book of Changes”: A Chinese space-time model and a philosophy of divination
Although often written about, studied, cited, and referred to casually, the I Ching or “Book of Changes” as it is commonly known in English is not well understood in the context of Chinese metaphysics. In this paper, we wish to set the I Ching in the context of a particular space-time model of the Chinese. By “space-time”, I mean the relationship between the events in time, and locations of those...
Did a biased jury convict Plato’s Socrates?
It is a matter of scholarly controversy how much of Socrates’ conviction of impiety and for corrupting the youths could be blamed on Socrates’ own defense, on the strength of the persecution’s argument, which has not survived, on prejudicial pre-trial slanders against Socrates . At a point in his trial, Socrates was convinced - and he effectively told the jury this – that he has ably disposed of...
Cultural identity and the future of Africa
The major challenge facing the development of the African culture today cannot be easily deciphered without unearthing the problems encountered by the exposure of traditional cultures to the beliefs and practices of other forms of life. Colonialism, capitalism and of recent, globalization are international trends that have called into question the views, ideas and thoughts of the traditional African culture. The result...
Transmitting philosophic knowledge without writing: The Ekiti Yoruba philosphic sagacity experience*
Based on recent field research among the Ekiti, South West Nigeria, this paper explores the question of philosophical sages. It attempts to find traditional experts, possessing the capacity for critical and rigorous thought, as required by philosophy, but without the ability to write. Two key questions arise: Do experts in philosophic thought exist among the Ekiti Yoruba, and if so, do they match, if not surpass, the...
Theoretical considerations on the impact of worldviews of development
The purpose of this paper is to examine the nature and mechanism of the impact of world views (ideologies, broadly speaking) on the development of society generally, with particular reference to Sub-Saharan Africa and Nigeria. It has been recognized long ago that the materialistic interpretation of society (that sees the value-base of a society – that is, its philosophical value system – as a creation of the...
The quest for an enduring social peace: The Nigerian situation
How can an enduring peace be assured a society? We subscribe to thesis that to achieve social peace, it is imperative that the culture of violence and war prevalent in virtually all societies is replaced with a culture of non-violence and peace. This requires embarking upon a process of peace education as a means of imparting and imbibing new set of values that are essential for constructing the right attitudes as...
The interpretation of “Jihad” in Islam
It is unfortunate that misconceptions has been given to the meaning and duty of Jihad by some European writers, by assuming that the word is supposed to be synonymous with war. This paper therefore focuses attention on the true meaning and duty of Jihad. It also aims at stating the different kinds of Jihad and the manner in which each of these kinds is carried out.
Debating the authentic: An outsider’s view of West African culture in Ghana
A visitor from a technologically advance Western culture travels to a distant land seeking something that is missing in his culture. Perhaps he feels it us an entirely new culture that he us seeking, or simply an escape from the rigid, mechanized reality of his Western existence. How old is this quest? The desire for the simple life, some kind of Eden or a return to the beauty of nature and a natural lifestyle, has...
Where have all the consonantal phonemes of Akan gone?
Schachter & Fromkin’s (1968) stated in the preface that This is a preliminary report on research that we have conducted over the past few years, under U.S. Office of Education Contract OE-6-14-028, into the phonology of the major Akan dialects of Ghana: Akuapem, Asante and Fante. No one realizes better than we how that “preliminary” a report this is, but we hope that, by issuing it in its...
Indigenous knowledge: The basis for survival of the peasant farmer in Africa
Indigenous knowledge is local knowledge which is passed from one generation to the next and which is peculiar to the community. Such knowledge has not been documented in the past as the mode of transmission was knowing by doing. Attempts to impost technologies that are foreign to the local farmer have not been successful in most cases. It is strongly believed that the local knowledge of the farmer should be...
From David to Solomon (1 Kings 1-2): An African perspective
Scholar have treated the story of the succession of Solomon to the throne of David exhaustively over the years that one is not sure whether a new thing can be said about it. However, when we look at the various monographs on the story a couple of problems in them remain unsolved. For example, the idea that Solomon attained the throne because his mother was the most loved wife of David does not have any foundation in...
On the historical evalution of schools in African Philosophy
Since William E. B. Dubois1 wrote The Negro in 1915, Black Folk: Then and Now in 1939, as well as The World and Africa in 1946, scientific facts of the Leakeys and other2 have demonstrated that African is th actual cradle of Homo sapiens. According to Cheikh Anta Diop, (1923-1986), the foremost Sengalese Africanist, the Nile Valley of Egypt, not Greece, was the cradle of Philosophy, and other human sciences, culture and...
Body-mind-self-world: Ecology and Buddhist Philosophy
Within yourself, no fixed positions: Things as they take shape disclose themselves. Moving, like water, still, be like a mirror, Respons like an echo. – Zhuangzi By the training of our nature we recover the Power, When Power is at its utmost, we accord with the Beginning. In according we attenuate, in attenuating we become Great, and blend together the twitters of the beaks, When the twitters of the beaks...
Roman Expansionism in the third and second centuries BC: A case for imperialism and militarism
Rome’s rise from the status of a small stage on the banks of the Tiber to that of a super power in a few years was undoubtedly a stupendous achievement; for on several occasions she had to fight for her very survival as a state among some pretty hostile neighbours. It is not surprising, therefore, that some scholars consider Rome’s prominent place in human history as divinely ordained1. However, it will be...
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