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editorial
1. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Jonathan O. Chimakonam Editorial
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2. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Babalola Joseph Balogun Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights: The Yoruba Example
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Some foundations have been provided for the social validity of human rights in Western philosophical literature. Some African scholars have also sought to ground the notion of human rights within the traditional African cultural beliefs and practices. There is, however, a dearth in literature on the Yoruba notion of human rights. Perhaps this may be due to scholars’ attitude that any talk about human rights is incompatible with the communalistic social structure of the Yoruba. The present paper challenges this prevalent attitude by providing some philosophical foundations for human rights within the limits permitted by the Yoruba world-view. The paper attempts a theoretical reconciliation between the Yoruba claim to communitarianism and the possibility of human rights.The paper concludes that, in spite of the seemingly antinomic relation they bear to each other, the idea of human rights is neither practically meaningless/unintelligible in a communitarian society, nor is it conceptually incompatible with the communitarian ideology.
3. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Simon Mary Asese Aihiokhai An African Ethic of Hospitality for the Global Church: A Response to the Culture of Exploitation and Violence in Africa
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Barely seventeen years into the twenty-first century, our world continues to be plagued by endless wars and violence. Africa is not immune from these crises. As many countries in Africa celebrate more than fifty years of independence from colonial rule, Africa is still the poorest continent in the world. Religious wars, genocides, ethnic and tribal cleansings have come to define the continent’s contemporary history. Corruption, nepotism, dictatorship, disregard for human life,tribalism, and many social vices are normalized realities in many parts of the continent. Rather than despair, a radical refocusing on Africa’s rich history of hospitality that affirms the flourishing of all life ought to be embraced. This article aims to do exactly this by exploring Africa’s role and place in the history of three Abrahamic religions; Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. While celebrating Africa’s unique role as the gateway for the realization of divine hospitality, this article aims to serve as a witness to an ethic of life that is relevant for the global church’s vision and mission to a pluralistic world and for the mission of the churches of Africa to addressing the social, cultural, and political crises faced by the continent. To achieve these, this work appropriates a comparative theological method that sheds light on the centrality of Africa in these three Abrahamic religions with a bias for the flourishing of life.
4. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
J. Chidozie Chukwuokolo Methodological Anarchism or Pluralism? An Afro-Constructivist Perspective on Paul Feyerabend’s Critique of Science
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In this article, I argue that methodological pluralism is not identical with methodological anarchism. While the former connotes the existence of different methods that could be legitimately employed in different disciplines or contexts, the latter tends to suggest the non-existence of any legitimate method at all. Consequently, I contend that Afroconstructivism, a recent development in African philosophy supports methodological pluralism but repudiates methodological anarchism. The corollary of this is a critical re-evaluation of Paul Feyerabend’s critique of method. My basic argument is that the epistemological framework ofAfro-constructivism accepts Feyerabend’s repudiation of the hegemonic imposition of the method of modern science as valid. However, I argue that an Afro-constructivist interpretation of Feyerabend’s critique gives credence to methodological pluralism as against methodological anarchism. I buttress this position using the methods of logical analysis and argumentation. I begin with an analysis of the question of method, Feyerabend’s critique of method and Afro-constructivism,and then proceed to examine the merit of Feyerabend’s critique from the perspective of Afro-constructivism. At the end, I submit that the logicalproduct of Feyerabend’s critique of method is methodological pluralism.
5. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Ojah Uti Egbai Questioning the Group-Based Approach to Social Equality in the Post Apartheid South Africa
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In this paper, I investigate whether the pursuit of group-based social equality should constitute a political goal or not. I explain that social equality refers to the mechanism for horizontal presentation of opportunities to individuals in a given society to express their abilities. It could also mean the right to vie, contest, compete or take advantage of certain opportunities or even to the freedom to pursue or obtain certain opportunities among free citizens in any society. I argue that the position of the mainstream European South African population seems to be that this should be an individual-based exercise since the sectional policy of apartheid has been disestablished. However, the majority of native South Africans appear to hold that since the post-apartheid South African society is heavily lopsided that the pursuit of social equality, especially by the natives who experience great economic disadvantage as a political goal, should be group-based in order to address comprehensively the social and economic ills of apartheid. This groupbased approach is challenged by European South Africans who arguethat it introduces another form of inequality that places them at a disadvantage. I will analyze the arguments on both sides and attempt to justify the group-based approach in the light of the post-apartheid peculiar circumstances of native South Africans.
6. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Oforbuike S. Odoh An Integrativist attempt to dissolve and Reconstruct Richard Rorty’s Conception of Ironism
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Richard Rorty draws a distinction between an activity of using old words in new senses for self liberation or private autonomy and an activity of searching ‘‘for theories which will get at real essence.’’ He calls those who engage in the former activity ‘‘ironists,’’ people like Proust, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Hegel and Derrida, and calls those who engage in the latter activity ‘‘metaphysicians,’’ people like Plato, Descartes and Kant (RORTYa 1989, 96—97). The ironists, he says, have radical and continuing doubts about their final vocabularies, because they have been impressed by other vocabularies. Unlike metaphysicians who search for words closer to reality, ironists engage only in playing off new words against old ones. When Rorty realized that this distinction is implausible, that both groups shared a certain unavoidable metaphysical link, he then called for replacement of theory with novel in ironism, which implies replacement of philosophy withliterature. Theory, he says, is about general ideas, while the novel is about people. This paper is aimed at averting this implication, by arguing that interpretation of the novel (which is the essence of it) implicates metaphysics and is theory-laden, and that ironism should not be seen in the Rortyan way as that opposed to metaphysics, but as a new (pragmatic) way of doing metaphysics. Integrativism, an African method of philosophy, is employed to dissolve Rorty’s distinctionbetween ironism and metaphysics, and to redescribe ironism as ‘‘innovativism.’’ The method of this work is argumentative, conversational, critical and redescriptive.
7. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Diana-Abasi Ibanga Is Deep Ecology Inapplicable in African Context: A Conversation with Fainos Mangena
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In 2015, Fainos Mangena published an essay entitled “How Applicable is the Idea of Deep Ecology in the African Context?” where he presented a number of arguments to support his thesis that deep ecology as discussed in the West has no place in the African context. Mangena later presented a counter-version of deep ecology that he claims is based on African philosophy. In this paper, I interrogated Mangena’s arguments for rejecting deep ecology and found that they were based on certain erroneous presuppositions. Further, I developed a critique of Mangena’s Shona version of deep ecology which shows it to be impractical, unappealing, and based on a misunderstanding of the true nature of the modern African environment. I employ the method of conversationalism in this work.
editorial
8. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Jonathan O. Chimakonam Editorial
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9. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Motsamai Molefe Critical Comments on Afro-communitarianism: Community versus the Individual
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This article draws our attention to the centrality of the normative idea of personhood in elucidating a robust Afro-communitarianism. To do so, it visits the debate between the so-called moderate and radical communitarians to argue that the assertion that a community takes priority over an individual is not an implausible position. It argues that this assertion, given a nuanced moral interpretation, can offer a promising African perspective on how to secure a life of dignity withoutnecessarily appealing to rights but to the normative idea of personhood. It submits that the idea of personhood entails a morality of duties that prioritizes the well-being of all. It is this prioritization of the well-being of all as the proper moral-political goal of Afro-communitarianism that moral-theoretically captures the essence of the assertion that a community takes priority over an individual.
10. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Ada Agada The Apparent Conflict of Transcendentalism and Immanentism in Kwame Gyekye and Kwasi Wiredu’s Interpretation of the Akan Concept of God
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In this paper I compare Kwame Gyekye’s transcendentalist interpretation of the Akan conception of God with Kwasi Wiredu’s immanentist interpretation. I highlight the tension between the two thinkers’ interpretations of Akan religious thought within the broader conflict between transcendence and immanence. Using the analytic, critical, and interpretative method, I show how the reconciliation of Gyekye and Wiredu’s divergent, yet paradoxically overlapping visionscan be effected in the idea of panpsychism. In the process of effecting this reconciliation, I open up a new area of research in African philosophy of religion that African philosophers will find rewarding to engage.
11. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Ndumiso Dladla Towards an African Critical Philosophy of Race: Ubuntu as a Philo-Praxis of Liberation
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Although 1994 is popularly represented as a year of major transition from an oppressive society to a democratic one in South African history, it did not mark the end of White Supremacy but instead its evolution from one constitutional form into another. This is because the so-called “right of conquest” remains affirmed in South Africa by the much celebrated constitution Act 108 of 1996. Since the early 90s, Ubuntu has been employed by the elite parties involved in the “negotiations” for the transition to the “new” South Africa, to justify the new society. This perverse employment of Ubuntu has been largely supported with the aid of sophistic academic posturing by the largely white academic establishment in South Africa and its network of international allies. Using African philosophical hermeneutics as a method, we will ground another interpretation of Ubuntu which stems from two interrelated roots. The first root is a firm understanding of and engagement with the Bantu languages and cultures which are its primordial philosophical basis (and thus crucial) on the one hand. The second is the study of the history of Ubuntu as lived and living philosophy responding to the challenge of the conquest of the indigenous people in the unjust wars of colonisation. Towards this end we will draw from the experience of Ubuntu-inspired movements in the history of the wars of resistance and the struggle for liberation ongoing since 1652.
12. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Diana-Abasi Ibanga Philosophical Sagacity as Conversational Philosophy and its Significance for the Question of Method in African Philosophy
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In this study, I aimed to carry out a comparative analysis of the methods of conversational philosophy and sage philosophy as contributions towards overcoming the problem of methodology in African philosophy. The purpose was to show their points of convergence and probably, if possible, their point of divergence as well. I did not intend to show that the method of one is superior or inferior to the other. The objective was to provide an analysis to show that the two methods are essentially the same with little variations. Thereafter, I highlighted their significance as methods of doing African philosophy and discussed their problems aswell. I used the methods of analysis and hermeneutics. From the study, I concluded that conversational philosophy is an extension or a modified form of sage philosophy. The implication of this conclusion is that sage philosophy and conversational philosophy should overlap each other in research and purposes.
13. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Motsamai Molefe, Mutshidzi Maraganedzha The Function of “It” in Ifeanyi Menkiti’s Normative Account of Personhood: A Response to Bernard Matolino
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This article is a response to Bernard Matolino’s criticisms against Ifeanyi Menkiti’s elucidations on the normative notion of personhood in African philosophy. This article argues that Menkiti’s article is best understood to be ultimately focused on articulating the normative notion of personhood; so understood, Menkiti’s analysis eschews many of the objections made against it by Matolino. We show that the confusion lies in a general failure in African philosophy to distinguish three distinct senses of the notion of a person. We further show how the referent ‘it’ as used to pick out infants by Menkiti, contrary to Matolino’s analysis that suggests that it is an instance of ‘mal-function’ may be charitably construed to be capturing the idea that infants have moral status and/or that they are morally neutral. A defense of Menkiti’s idea of personhood is crucial in a search for a robust African perfectionist ethics.
book review
14. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Ada Agada African Philosophy in the Search of Authenticity and the Condition of Universality
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tribute
15. Filosofia Theoretica: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Odia Ofeimun Abiola Irele: A Tribute to the Master
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