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41. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 4 > Issue: 1
Peter M. Mumo Holistic Healing: An Analytical Review of Medicine-men in African Societies
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Since the advent of modernity and Christianity in Africa, indigenous African holistic healing, and especially its psychological aspect, has been given negative publicity. This article examines ways in which African traditional medicine men made and continue to make a significant contribution to healing in their societies. It argues that due to the numerous challenges in contemporary African societies, there is need for a pragmatic approach, in which all innovations that can alleviate human suffering are taken on board and encouraged as long as they do not compromise people’s health.
42. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 4 > Issue: 1
Jacinta Mwende Maweu The Morality of Profit In Business: Transforming Waste Into Wealth Through The Iko Toilet Business Venture In Nairobi, Kenya
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The main argument of this theoretical paper is that the pursuit of honest profits in a voluntary market exchange is not only moral but also ingrained in human nature, in that human beings pursue activities that benefit them and avoid those that cause them loss. Through an examination of the Kenyan business venture called Iko Toilet (which is a mix of the Kiswahili word ‘iko’ meaning ‘there is’ and the English word ‘toilet’ to literally mean ‘there is a Toilet’), the paper contends that there is no inherent contradiction between doing well (engaging in honest voluntary business transactions) in order to do good (maximize legitimate profits).
43. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 4 > Issue: 1
Oriare Nyarwath The Luo Care for Widows (Lako) and Contemporary Challenges
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This paper examines the Luo custom of caring for a ‘widow’ and for the home of a deceased husband, its rationale and some of its contemporary challenges. The paper maintains that this custom is still the best alternative available to the Luo widow and for the care of the home of one’s deceased brother, especially in the context of Luo culture. However, it recommends a number of adjustments to the practice to discourage some of the abuses that are becoming prevalent in it, with a view to making it more amenable to some of the challenges of our time.
44. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 4 > Issue: 1
J.O. Famakinwa Revisiting Kwame Gyekye’s Critique of Normative Cultural Relativism
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This article examines Kwame Gyekye’s critique of normative cultural relativism. It argues that the implications of normative cultural relativism mentioned by Gyekye do not necessarily undermine the theory. Nevertheless, the article concedes that the fact that Gyekye’s arguments do not undermine normative cultural relativism does not make the theory itself plausible.
45. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
Reginald M.J. Oduor Odera Oruka’s Account of the Foundation of Human Rights: A Critique
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While H. Odera Oruka is best known for his views on sage philosophy, he spent a considerable portion of his philosophical career agonizing over the question of human rights. The present paper argues that there is need for further philosophical reflection on Oruka’s account of the foundation of human rights with a view to refining it.
46. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
Jacinta Mwende Maweu A Critical Assessment of Odera Oruka’s Theory of Punishment
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This paper is a critical examination of Odera Oruka’s theory of punishment in his Punishment and Terrorism in Africa. It argues that although Oruka clearly highlights the weaknesses of the Retributionist and Utilitarian accounts of punishment and therefore calls for the Reformist view of ‘treating both the criminal and society’, he is mistaken in calling for the abolition of punishment simply because it cannot reform the criminal. The paper contends that the reform of the criminal is only one major function of punishment and not the only one, and so we cannot call for its abolition on the basis of this single consideration. The paper further urges that Oruka’s theory of punishment is rather deterministic: according to him, the criminal commits the crime because of the criminal forces which he or she has very little control over, so that he or she cannot be held morally responsible for his or her actions.
47. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
Fayemi Ademola Kazeem H. Odera Oruka and the Question of Methodology in African Philosophy: A Critique
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This paper examines the contribution of Henry Odera Oruka, a Kenyan philosopher, to the discourse on the problem of methodology in African philosophy. It interrogates the veracity of various critical reactions to Oruka’s thesis on philosophic sagacity, as well as his rejoinders to some of them. The paper posits that in spite of the formidable critiques against philosophic sagacity as an approach to African philosophy, there are still some aspects of it worthy of note. In building on the strengths of philosophic sagacity, the paper suggests a transition to the method of ‘hermeneutico-reconstructionism’ in contemporary African philosophy.
48. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
Chigbo Joseph Ekwealo Contextualizing ‘Philosophic Sagacity’ among the Igbo of South-Eastern Nigeria: An Examination of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart
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This paper validates Odera Oruka’s assertion that Philosophic Sagacity is a pervasive phenomenon among African peoples. It argues that whereas Oruka mostly focused on the Kenyan social environment in defense of his thesis, his observations are also applicable to African communities outside Kenya’s borders, especially in their precolonial settings, where there were people who interrogated the rationale of their cultures’ beliefs and practices. Towards this end, the paper deploys textual exegesis on Chinua Achebe’s epic novel, Things Fall Apart, set among the Igbo of South-Eastern Nigeria.
49. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
Oriare Nyarwath Understanding Social Freedom and Humanism in Odera Oruka’s Philosophy
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H. Odera Oruka’s philosophy, as can be discerned from his various works, revolves around the issue of social justice. In this paper I seek to show how Oruka’s idea of social justice is inextricably bound up with his conceptions of human rights and humanism, and his contention that one of the fundamental principles of social justice is the recognition and realization of the human minimum as the most basic universal human right.
50. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
Oriare Nyarwath H. Odera Oruka: A Biographical Sketch
51. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
Gail M. Presbey Kenyan Sages on Equality of the Sexes
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This article traces the larger theme of egalitarianism within the context of equality of the sexes throughout H. Odera Oruka’s interviews with Kenyan sages, whom he asked to share their views on the topic. Often, the sages asserted men’s superiority to women. This paper analyses the sages’ responses, as well as Odera Oruka’s rejoinders to their comments. I have broadened my study to include five sages interviewed by Frederick Ochieng’-Odhiambo, included in his dissertation completed under Odera Oruka’s supervision (1994). I find that the sages’ arguments for women’s inferiority were weak and flawed. Many contemporary Kenyans find fault with views similar to the sages’. The one sage who did elaborate on women’s equality failed to acknowledge that men discourage women from taking action to improve their situation. This article does not reject sage philosophy as an approach to the topic but insists that further study, including women sages, is needed to address the shortcomings of the sage interviews included in Odera Oruka’s Sage Philosophy (1991).
52. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
Anke Graness From Socrates to Odera Oruka: Wisdom and Ethical Commitment
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Odera Oruka’s Sage philosophy project, his definition of philosophy, the method of interviewing sages, and the differentiation between folk and philosophic sages, have been discussed and criticised at length. Unfortunately, less known is Odera Oruka’s work on Ethics. This is especially regrettable, as his philosophical work had two main objectives:· The liberation of philosophy in Africa from ethnological and racist prejudices (Sage philosophy).· The reconstruction of the dimension of sagacity in philosophy which got lost in technical and analytic language during the last decades. Philosophy becamea kind of expert knowledge with specialized terminology, thereby losing its holistic outlook and practical relevance.For Odera Oruka, who situates himself in the Socratic tradition of philosophy, philosophy is not a science in the ivory tower, but has to contribute to the bettermentof the life of the people - it has to be made practical. Philosophers have to deploy the results of their thinking to the well-being of their communities. This is what he considers, following Socrates, the sagacious dimension of philosophy.The aim of the present article is to highlight the ethical dimension of Odera Oruka's work, and to show the inseparable relationship of the Sage Philosophy project and his works on ethics, with a special focus on his concept of global justice. At the same time, the article attempts to show the relevance of Odera Oruka's work to the world philosophical discourse.
53. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
D.A. Masolo Care versus Justice: Odera Oruka and the Quest for Global Justice
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The Kenya-born philosopher Henry Odera Oruka (1944 - 1995) persistently, and consistently, made proposals for a different moral approach to addressing, and possibly solving, some of the root causes of human conflicts across the world. I will call it “taking suffering seriously” as the basis of his idea of a global-level collective justice which, for him, raised the idea of the ethics of care to the level of global justice. I propose in this paper to show that this concern can be found to be pervasive in Oruka’s works, connecting many of his well known positions as well as less known ones, and to discuss its philosophical merits.
54. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
Francis E.A. Owakah Race Ideology and the Conceptualization of Philosophy: The Story of Philosophy in Africa from Placide Tempels to Odera Oruka
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Philosophy in Africa has come a long way. From the 18th and 19th centuries when it was totally ignored or denied altogether, to when it was given a lower status by ethnophilosophers. Today we talk proudly of an African philosophy. What is often forgotten is its history and the players behind its historical moments. This paper tells the story of how racial ideology had defined the course of philosophy in Africa. We are particularly concerned with telling the story of Henry Odera Oruka, and how he contributed to raising the status of philosophy in Africa.
55. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
Robin Attfield Henry Odera Oruka, Ecophilosophy and Climate Change
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The purpose of this paper is to explore what Henry Odera Oruka, a renowned ecophilosopher and Director designate of an Ecophilosophy Centre, would havethought and argued in the sphere of climate change if he had remained alive beyond 1995 and up to the present time.The methodology of the paper combines an analytic and normative study of ethical issues concerning climate change that arose during the 1990s or have arisen during the subsequent period, with a critical examination of relevant international conferences of the period 1995 to 2012, and of intervening developments, together with inferences grounded in Odera’s knowledge, experience and interests to conclusions about attitudes, arguments and stances that he would have been likely to form in the course of that same period.The central argument of the paper is premised on key concerns of Odera, not least his concern for a “future beyond poverty” for Africa (the title of the World FuturesStudies Federation Conference that he organised in Nairobi in 1995), and for characteristic African values. It is also premised on the impression likely to have been made on Odera by the remarks of Michel van Hulten at this Conference. It argues accordingly that Odera would have been likely to defend some version of the Contraction and Convergence strategy, modified to take account of recent discoveries about humanity’s carbon budget, and the extent to which much of this budget has already been consumed in the period since 1990 by the industrialised countries, to the detriment of developing countries such as the countries of Africa.This paper is relevant to Thought and Practice through presenting to scholars with broad interests in the humanities and social sciences an original examination of climate change ethics and its bearing on Africa, and of Odera’s likely attitudes, arguments and stances in this field, thus supplying suggestions about further research needing to be undertaken on these intellectual, social and political issues, with their special and vital importance for contemporary Africa.
56. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 4 > Issue: 2
F. Ochieng-Odhiambo, C. Iteyo Reason and Sagacity in Africa: Odera Oruka’s Contribution to Philosophy
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Commentators on the four trends in contemporary African philosophy as enunciated by H. Odera Oruka frequently focus on the merits and demerits of each trend. However, many of them are obblivious to the way in which sagacity emancipates African philosophy by putting reason in its rightful pivotal position. This article argues that while the professional philosophers accused ethno-philosophers of doing disservice to African philosophy, they too stand accused of the same. This is due to the fact that both ethno-philosophy and professional philosophy function within the Western grid and therefore in the interest and service of theWestern world. Philosophic sagacity, the article argues, discards the undesirable elements of ethno-philosophy and professional philosophy, while retaining desirable ones, namely, the Africanness in ethno-philosophy and the objectivity in professional philosophy. Because philosophic sagacity is African and objective, it is a desired tool of change in Africa. It can, for example, be used to address negative aspects of ethnicity that bedevil Africa. There lies the most important contribution by H. Odera Oruka to philosophy in general and African philosophy in particular.
57. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Ada Agada African Philosophy and The Challenge of Innovative Thinking
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This paper argues that the continued emphasis on ethno-philosophy and the relative absence of intellectual passion and curiosity are the greatest challenges facing African philosophy. The paper rejects the racist lamentation of scholars such as Olufemi Taiwo who blame the West for Africa’s absence from the stage of world philosophy. It highlights the link between L.S. Senghor’s doctrine of negritude, the philosophy of Innocent Asouzu, and the emerging synthesis of consolationism to underline the fact that African philosophy has made some progress, although things could be much better. The paper concludes by urging African philosophers to be more radical and innovative in their thinking, as innovation and originality are the only conditions for the universal acceptance of, and interest in, African philosophy.
58. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Helen Lauer African and Non-African Time: To Contrast or not to Contrast?
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This essay offers a critique of the controversial proposal that peculiarities in African thought concerning time have a negative impact upon African economic development. The proposal under scrutiny takes the form of two corollaries whose notoriety dates back to John S. Mbiti’s (1969) infamous claim that African cultures lack an indigenous concept of the distant future. It is shown that these joint hypotheses appear to be either self-refuting or false. In consequence, the proposal that a cross-cultural scrutiny of time will reveal defective concepts is reconsidered. It is proposed that deficiencies in the perception of time that bear a negative impact upon African economics are instead the cache of foreign experts who fail to appreciate conventional uses of time in Africa as rational strategies for risk avoidance, damage control, for resisting hegemonic authority, quelling foreign expropriation of African resources, and for maximizing efficiency given scarce capital and inadequate infrastructure. What begins as a deflationary dismissal of a long-standing debate over African indigenous thoughts about time concludes with a promising speculation about African idiosyncratic practices of time-management that are instrumental in negotiating the vicissitudes of spiralling underdevelopment.
59. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Kai Kresse 'Building a humane society'
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This paper discusses Odera Oruka’s philosophical work from the perspective of its emphasis on the ‘practical’ impetus that Oruka himself underlined. In different ways, his various projects - his sage philosophy, his philosophy of liberty, his environmental philosophy and, perhaps most importantly, his critiques of African (and implicitly Kenyan) social and political realities - can be seen as manifestations of his commitment to the practical relevance and social significance of knowledge, and his conviction about the potentially liberating force of philosophical critique. Here, I try to provide an overall sketch of this agenda, seeking toinitiate more thorough and detailed discussion for the future. As a main reference point for discussion, I look at how the term ‘humanism’ has been used (and can be used) to describe Oruka’s work, in contrast to the invocation of this term by some nationalist political ideologies, in particular Moi’s so-called ‘nyayo philosophy’. Oruka’s work could be more explicitly appreciated and explored, I argue, for the ways in which he observed and actively criticized instances of inhumanity and ‘false humanism’ in post-colonial Africa.
60. Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
[email protected], Adekunle O. Shodipo, Faith O. Oviasogie Leadership and Accountability
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A sizable number of scholars have argued that development in any nation is a function of a leadership that subscribes to the principles of accountability in government at various levels. This paper employs the methodology of historical research, which involves the analysis of secondary data obtained from relevant books, journals, internet resources, magazines and newspapers, to examine leadership and accountability as they relate to the challenges of development in Nigeria, with particular reference to the management of public resources. It observes that these challenges are premised among others on poor leadership at various levels of government. The paper concludes that for the living standards of Nigerians to be enhanced, there is need to enforce strict compliance of public officials with rules governing the management of public resources, thereby curbing corruption.