AFRICAN IDENTITY, ITS RELEVANCE TO AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT

April 10, 2017

Author: Nnadozie Chibuike Micheal
Department: Philosophy
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

The crisis of Africa identity has overwhelmingly been traced to the advent of colonialism. Though, colonialism has ended, and Africans are now in charge of their personal affairs; the probes of poverty, societal degradation, underdevelopment and the likes that the continent is faced with are seemingly perennial. The daunting nature of African identity is based on its expansive and nebulous category that can be contextualized in and approached from a bewildering array of ideological positions. It is this positions that we tried to juxtapose, in order to find a way they can aid in the development of African continent. This work however, goes to give the Africa the confidence, that there should be no need for Africans to give up their right to think for themselves and instead lazily fit into negative stereotypes contrived by those who have little respect for Africa and spare no opportunity to ridicule her. Considering the divergence opinion and theories held about the identity of the African, we shall apply the method of Dialectics. This is to ascertain the clarity in the different theories held about African and her identity and its relevance to the development of the African continent. Africans are by this study, asked not to give up their destiny in their hands in projecting her unique cultural heritage, in such manner that she can face the current challenges of globalization.

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RELIGION AND THE PARANORMALS IN PAUL KURTZ’S EUPRAXOPHY: A CRITICAL APPRAISAL

April 10, 2017

Author: Ejikemeuwa Ndubisi J. O
Department: Philosophy
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

Human life is full of puzzles and wonder. Certain things in the world appear to be mysterious. More so, the human person is a being that desires to know. In a bid to understand the puzzles of life, some people make certain claims to knowledge. While religion makes claim to knowledge with reference to a supernatural being or a deity, the paranormals try to interpret the puzzles of life beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation. Religion and the paranormals tend to go beyond nature in their quest to understand nature. This study, therefore, concerned itself with a critical appraisal of Paul Kurtz’s Eupraxophy. Eupraxophy is the humanist philosophy of Paul Kurtz. It is concerned with the good and wellbeing of the human person from the point of view of the natural light of reason. Kurtzian Eupraxophy is based on the proper use of reason, critical intelligence and wisdom. It therefore rejects any supernatural interpretation of the world and sees the human person as the measure of all things. For Kurtz, every claim to knowledge must be empirically justified for it to be accepted as a true knowledge. Against the understanding of Paul Kurtz’s Eupraxophy, some fundamental questions quickly come to mind: How reliable are the claims of religion and the paranormals? Can the claims of religion and the paranormals be rationally and objectively demonstrated? Is there any basis for religious and paranormal beliefs? To what extent can we say that the claims of religion and the paranormals are meaningful or meaningless? Do religion and the paranormals have anything to add to human knowledge? So, employing the method of philosophical analysis, this onerous research work attempted to provide answers to the above and the related questions. This study observed that most of the claims of religion and the paranormals cannot withstand thorough rational justification. More so, the way and manners religious and paranormal believers practice their beliefs have some social, economic, political and health implications. It is the submission of this study that it is only the proper application of human reason that will help the human person to understand the puzzles of life and be able to solve human problems. The work, among other things, calls for a total transformation from the culture of believing-without-inquiry into critical inquiry- before-believing, especially among contemporary Nigerians. This, in the view of this study, is one of the ways to minimize the excesses or the irrationalities of religious and paranormal beliefs.

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AFRICAN COMMUNALISM: A PHILOSOPHICAL ANALYSIS

April 7, 2017

Author: Nwafor Ikechukwu Matthew
Department: Philosophy
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

It is a common factor among many an African writer to associate Africanness with communalism implying that what makes one a bonafide African is one’s communalistic life pattern. This view often purports that communalism is peculiar to the African people in exclusion of others. But the view of Aristotle that man is a social being with that of John Donne that “No man is an island entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main,” points to the indubitable fact that man is naturally a communitarian being who seeks relationship and interaction with others both of his species and beyond. Man cannot but be in relationship because this constitutes his nature. If it is the case that all men are naturally endowed with the longing to be with, and relate with the other, the common ensuing question would be: why should only a particular collection of human beings be associated with what is the attribute of all? Why should communalism be so used in relation to Africans that it becomes definitive of them to the exclusion of all others? Would this position not be tantamount to concluding that only Africans are the real human beings since we had already seen that communalism is a notion that is of the essence of all human persons? The more acceptable fact that is crystal clear is that communalism is an experience that has versions hence the idea of Chinese communalism, Indian communalism, European communalism, our chief concerned African communalism and so on. What this fact indicates is that communalism cannot be of the essence of a special people with the exception of the others. A much better construal of communalism in relation to the Africans should be that which presents the experience as lived in a much fuller way by them. This cannot be taken to mean that communalism is essentially African in the same manner as to imply the extrication of other races from this albeit general human reality. African communalism is of degree (high degree) and not of essence. The high degree is because of the way communalism is deep-rooted in African culture following the African circumstances and environment that gave it a fertile ground. This research uses the method of philosophical analysis to investigate the true nature of the concept of African communalism. It maintains that though communalism is deep-rooted in the traditional African way of life, it is not an African “thing”. It is merely the African further step in improving on what is natural in all human persons. Because of this, it is not sufficient to define an African person whose personhood should be determined fundamentally by those natural factors like geographical location and hereditary. African communalism only complements them the same way nurture complements nature in the definition of a person. The work therefore advocates an integration of only the relevant aspects of this African traditional way of life to the modern African pattern of living.

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MONTESQUIEU’S THEORY OF SEPARATION OF POWERS: A PHILOSOPHICAL ANALYSIS

April 7, 2017

Author: Anumiri Obinna Justin
Department: Philosophy
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

Experience has shown that absolute power corrupts and gives rise to various kinds of autocratic tendencies. Baron de Montesquieu, a French Philosopher posited the theory of Separation of powers as a panacea to power abuse and arbitrariness in government. This theory subscribes to the idea that the three governmental powers should be invested on three different arms of government, namely, executive, legislative and judicial arms of government. In his L’Esprit Des Lois (The Spirit of
Laws), Montesquieu concludes that liberty would be lost and tyranny would reign supreme if the three governmental powers are not separated and wielded by three different personnel. The philosophical method of analysis is used in this research work to examine the theory of separation of power. Using this method to examine the application of this theory of separation of power, it will become glaringly clear that Montesquieu’s objective for advocating for it has not been completely realized in the countries that have developed constitutions predicated on this theory. There is still struggle for dominance, power abuse and power tussle among the three power holders. This research work suggests ways such as involvement of the citizens, use of referendum, plebiscite, commitment to the rule of laws and common interest in which power abuse among the three power holders can be stopped. Religion is also posited as an effective tool for checkmating the abuse of power.

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THE CONCEPT OF SOVEREIGNTY IN JOHN AUSTIN: A PHILOSOPHICAL ANALYSIS

April 7, 2017

Author: Chukwuanih Joel Joseph
Department: Philosophy
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

Sovereignty is the supreme, absolute, and power by which any independent state is governed. It is the attribute of the state, characterizing the possession by it of all the possible powers of independent statehood, including constitutional and legislative supremacy, which entitle its government to make and implement its own decisions in domestic affairs and in the conduct of international relations, without the prior consent or permission of an outside power. Sovereignty has assumed many different guises. It has frequently changed its content, its laws and even its functions during the modern period. Sovereignty is regarded as the self- sufficient source of political power from which all specific political powers are derived, the international independence of a state, combined with the right and power of regulating its internal affairs without foreign dictation. According to John Austin, a state is sovereign when it has a body within it which effectively commands the rest of the society and which is not effectively commanded by any outside force. The concept of sovereignty as one of the essential characteristics of nation-states have been problematic as scholars have divergent views on sovereignty based on its elements-absolutism, indivisibility, permanency, inalienable, universalibility and exclusivity. The proponents of the sovereignty argue that it helps to ensure equality and non-interference in state affairs by any external influence. The critics observed that absolutism and indivisibility always lead to tyranny and undermines international relations. Hence, the inevitable questions; should the concept of sovereignty be discarded? Where is the location of sovereignty? Can sovereignty be delegated? The above questions beg for answers. However, in this study, the method of historical and philosophical analysis is used in order to ensure thorough investigation. Therefore, some of the findings show that sovereignty as an essential element of state re-enforce and sustain equality of states as global actors through mutual cooperation in international community and legal independence, which empower them not be under any form of legal subordination within or outside their territories.

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