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21. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
D.A. Masolo Debating the Autonomy of Reason
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This paper questions the assumption of the bulk of Western philosophy that reasoning in general, and moral reasoning in particular, can be undertaken without any consideration of the unique cultural experiences of those who engage in it. It proposes a communitarian alternative for thinking about subjecthood. It further contends that there is need for professional African philosophers to assist their people in the quest for solutions to current pertinent socio-economic challenges facing them.
22. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Reginald M.J. Oduor Research Methodology in Philosophy within an Interdisciplinary and Commercialised African Context Guarding against Undue Influence from the Social Sciences
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This paper argues that despite pressures to conform to the research methodology of the social sciences, African philosophers must diligently work for the preservation of the distinct character of philosophy as a discipline. To do this, they will have to move away from the debate on the existence and nature of African philosophy, and focus their efforts on the quest for a criterion by which to distinguish philosophical works from non-philosophical ones, regardless of where the works hail from. They will also have to be busy engaging in other aspects of philosophical reflection, so that their discipline may grow in an all-rounded manner, and so that the research methodology of philosophy may be manifest to scholars from other disciplines. Only then will philosophy make its unique contribution to interdisciplinary research in Africa and beyond.
23. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Adeolu Oluwaseyi Oyekan Human Nature and Social Order: A Comparative Critique of Hobbes and Locke
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Central to most intellectual debates on political organization is the issue of human nature, for one’s understanding of it influences one’s prescriptions on how best society can be governed. This paper examines the contractarian theories of Hobbes and Locke in their attempts to identify the conditions for social order. Deploying a critical and comparative method, the paper identifies the failure of the two theories to recognize the complexity of human nature, a complexity which forecloses the plausibility of a descriptive straitjacket. The paper further argues that contrary to Hobbes’ pessimism and Locke’s optimism towards human nature, the individual has qualities which point to a delicate balance of both. Consequently, the paper highlights the imperatives of social order in a manner that accommodates the complexity of human nature. It concludes that it is on the basis of the appreciation of these dimensions of human nature that we can hope to evolve an enduring social order.
24. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Barry Hallen “Ethnophilosophy” Redefined?
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The meaning of the term “ethnophilosophy” has evolved in both a significant and controversial variety of ways since it was first introduced by Paulin Hountondji in 1970. It was first challenged by the Kenyan philosopher, H. Odera Oruka, as based upon Hountondji’s unfair appreciation of Africa’s indigenous cultural heritage. Barry Hallen and J. Olubi Sodipo, using a form of analytic philosophy as foundational, thereafter argued that Yoruba ordinary language discourse also served to undermine Hountondji’s critique. The later work of the Ghanaian philosopher, Kwame Gyekye, and the Kenyan D. A. Masolo have further legitimized the epistemological status of elements of African culture that once would have been labeled as of no genuine philosophical significance because they were ‘ethnophilosophical’ in character. The end result of this debate seems to be that both the form and content of philosophy in culture generally must be relativized.The most significant consequence of this would be that African and non-Western philosophy generally would finally be culturally liberated from the oppressive influence, indeed dominance, of what has conventionally come to be known as ‘mainstream’ (Western) philosophy.
25. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Sirkku K. Hellsten Empowering the Invisible: Women, Local Culture and Global Human Rights Protection
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This paper examines the problems that various contemporary human rights discourses face with relativism, with special reference to the global protection of women’s rights. These problems are set within the theoretical debate between the Western liberal individualism on the one hand, and African, Asian and Islamic collectivist communitarianism on the other. Instead of trying to prove the superiority of one theoretical approach over the other, the purpose here is to point out some of the most common logical fallacies and cultural biases that have led to false polarizations between the various theoretical foundations of human rights discourse. The paper highlights these errors and inaccuracies with a view to diminishing the dichotomies between the various philosophical foundations of human rights, particularly in connection to the promotion of women’s rights. This is done in order to pave the way for more open and impartial political, cultural and gender dialogue in the promotion of human rights both in theory and in practice.
26. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Atieno Kili K’Odhiambo, Samson O. Gunga The Impact of the Interaction between Verbal and Mathematical Languages in Education
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Since the methods employed during teacher-learner interchange are constrained by the internal structure of a discipline, a study of the interaction amongst verbal language, technical language and structure of disciplines is at the heart of the classic problem of transfer in teaching-learning situations. This paper utilizes the analytic method of philosophy to explore aspects of the role of language in mathematics education, and attempts to harmonize mathematical meanings exposed by verbal language and the precise meanings expressed by the mathematics register (MR) formulated in verbal language. While focusing on the integration of language use and meaning construction in mathematics education, the paper explores the relationship between the conceptual understanding revealed by the mathematics register and the procedural knowledge that refers to the mathematical content through ordinary discourse.
27. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Lawrence Murugu Mute Shattering the Glass Ceiling: Ensuring the Right to Vote for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities In Kenya
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Is it self-evident that every Kenyan adult citizen should have the right to vote at national and civic elections or referenda? This is not always the case: certain segments of the population are expressly or implicitly excluded by law or practice from the franchise. This paper suggests that the concept of unsoundness of mind should no longer be the basis for excluding persons with disabilities generally, and those with intellectual disabilities in particular, from voting. It traces provisions in law that disenfranchise persons adjudged to be of unsound mind; and provides interpretation using national law as well as international human rights norms to infer that general or automatic disenfranchisement is a human rights violation. It concludes that Kenya’s electoral authorities must ensure that neither their policies nor the practices of their officials disenfranchise some Kenyan adults from voting by equating such persons’ mental illness or intellectual disabilities with “unsoundness of mind”.
28. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Ademola Kazeem Fayemi Cultural Universals and Particulars in the Philosophy of Kwasi Wiredu: Some Comments
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This paper seeks to advance the horizon of Kwasi Wiredu’s philosophical defense of the compatibility of cultural universals and particulars. Wiredu reflects on language, biological identity, inter/intra cultural communication, as well as epistemic and moral fundamentals as cultural universals. In pursuing further Wiredu’s thesis on cultural universals, the present paper critically examines some of the inconsistencies implicit in Wiredu’s position. As a consequence, the paper extends the frontiers of the realm of universals by establishing the plausibility of causality as another instance of a conceptual universal, transcending all cultural particularities.
29. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
J.O. Famakinwa How Moderate is Kwame Gyekye’s Moderate Communitarianism?
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This article undertakes a critical examination of Kwame Gyekye’s main arguments for moderate communitarianism. Contrary to the general belief among African scholars, it contends that Gyekye’s moderate communitarianism, as he presents it in Tradition and Modernity (1997), is not as moderate as he believes it to be. The article also seeks to show that the gap which Gyekye claims exists between moderate or restricted and unrestricted communitarianism is not as wide as he suggests.
30. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Philomena A. Ojomo An African Understanding of Environmental Ethics
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Global concerns about the current environmental crisis have culminated in some controversial environmental ethical theories, among which are normative environmental ethics, sentientist ethics, biocentric ethics, ecocentric ethics and eco-feminist ethics. One of the underlying features connecting these environmental ethical theories is their grounding in Western perspectives and cultural experiences. Given that environmental concerns are global, and that the goal of environmental ethics is to address those concerns, critical explorations of environmental ethics need to go beyond the Western horizon. Nevertheless, very few African scholars have investigated the African people’s understanding of the current environmental crisis, and the African perspective on environmental ethics. However, Segun Ogungbemi and Godfrey Tangwa have pioneered philosophical discussions on environmental ethics from an African point of view. Ogungbemi defends what he calls “ethics of nature-relatedness”, while Tangwa proposes “eco-bio-communitarianism”. This paper is a contribution to the consolidation of an African orientation in environmental ethics through a critique and reconstruction of the African perspective on the environment as presented, separately, by Ogungbemi and Tangwa.