This study was on oxidative stress status of rat fed with Pentraclethra macrophylla, otherwise known as African oil bean seed oil in English or Ugba in Igbo. Sixteen male rats were distributed into four groups. 1 (control), then group 2, 3, and 4 as test groups. They were fed with their formulated meal (5%, 10%, 20% inclussions) for 28 days. Group 1 was the control and were fed with the normal feed, while group 2, 3 and 4 which were the test groups were fed with test feed formula.. The parameters determined were MDA concentrations and catalase activity. Serum MDA significantly increased (p<0.05) while the catalase activity significantly decreased (p<0.05). This finding may be clinically significant to individuals with predisposition to increased generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and other degenerative diseases.

Ugba also called ukpaka is a popular food delicacy in Nigeria especially among Igbo ethnic group. It is rich in protein and is obtained by a solid state fermentation of the seed of African oil bean tree (Pentaclethra macrophylla Benth).
The natural fermentation of the seed which at present is still done at the house-hold level, renders the production nutritious, palatable and non-toxic (Enujiugha, 2002).
Its production, like many African fermented foods depends, entirely on mixed fermentation by microorganism from diverse source.
Pentaclethra macrophylla Benth is a large woody plant abundant in the rain forest areas of west and central Africa. It’s origin in Nigeria is believed to be around 1937 (Ladipo, 1984); where it is found in the South Nigeria, (Mbajunwa et al., 1998).
―Ugba‖ Pentaclethra macrophylla Benth belongs to the Family Leguminosae and sub-family Microsoideae (Keay, 1989 and NFTA, 1995).
Ugba seeds are irregular and oval; they are flat, black and hard pods. It is composed of oil, protein and small amounts of carbohydrate (Obeta, 1982).
(i) To determine the concentration of Malondialdehyde (MDA, which indicates the peroxidation status) and
(ii) The activity of Catalase (a marker of antioxidant status) in the serum of rats fed graded doses of African oil bean seed meal


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Cola nitida has been in use in the eastern parts of Nigeria for the management of certain ailments and as an aphrodisiac in the management of some sexual dysfunctions. However the effects of this extract in some health parameters in human objects have not been reported. This work, then, was aimed at investigating the effect of water extracts of kola pods on lipoprotein concentrations on albino wistar rats.
Rats were used in this study and they were divided into several groups and fed with a high calorie food (cow’s brain) so as to increase the blood lipoprotein concentration in the rat models. The effect of the water extracts of the sample used was compared with a known drug and the results statistically compared to ascertain the effect of the water extract on the rat models.
The results of this work indicate that water extracts of cola nitida pods can be used in the management of mild lipoprotein dysfunctions thus substantiating the reasons for its use in sexual erectile functions.
Cola Nitida has been used in folk medicine as an aphrodisiac, an appetite suppressant, to treat morning sickness, migraine headache, and indigestion (Esimone et al., 2007). It has also been applied directly to the skin to treat wounds and inflammation (Newall et al., 1996)on the teeth and gums. There has also been speculations as to its use in the treatment of peptic ulcer, however, in Nigeria there is no record of the incidence of peptic ulcer.
According to Esimone (2007), cola nitida tree is native to West Africa. Cola nuts are obtained from cola trees. Cola nitida belongs to the genus cola and family steriliaceae. They are commonly used to counteract hunger and thirst; in some cases it is used to control vomiting in pregnant woman and also as a principal stimulant to keep awake and withstand fatigue by students, drivers, and other menial workers.
Lipoproteins are found in the liver and cells. The liver is the largest organ inside the body. The liver is dark reddish-brown and
consists of two main lobes. There are over 300 billion specialized cells in the liver that are connected by a well organized system of “bile” ducts and blood vessels called the biliary system


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This work was carried out to investigate the effects of pterocarpus mildbreadii seed on the HDL- level of albino rats.High density lipoprotein(HDL) is a fraction of cholesterol,which helps to transport cholesterol from peripheral of cell to the liver.High density lipoprotein is carried out to investigate cardio vascular diseases.Fresh oha seed (pterocarpus mildbreadii seed) was collected from Amokwe in udi local government Area Enugu state. They were dried at room temperature for about a month in an open laboratory space, groud into coarse form and weighed on an electrical weighing balance. 3% tween-80 was prepared by dissolving 3% tween -80 in 97ml of distilled water. The grounded pterocarpus mildbreadii was dissolve in the 3% tween-80.A total of sixteen wistar abino rats used for this analysis. The rats were divided into 4(four) groups. Group 1contain 4 rats and received 0.5 each of 3% tween-80. Group 2 contain 5 rats and were administered with 1400mg/kg b.w of pteridocarpus mildreadii solution Group 3 contain 3 rats and were administered with 2600mg/kg. b.w of pteridocarpus mildbreadii solution. Group 4 contain 4 rats and were administered with 500mg/kg. b.w. of Edmard MRT complex.


1.0 Pterocarpus mildbreadii are trees with edible parts successfully budded, pterocarpus species (P.Soyauxii and P. mildbeadii are reported to have different patterns of leaf flush, one spontanous and the other intermitted making the first suitable for commercial production and the second the home production (Okafor 1978). Pterocarpus mildbreadii being the major case study both the vegetable and the seeds.
The vegetable is majorly used in our various home for cooking. Pterocarpus mildbreadii (Oha seed) are not consumed by the people from the eastern part of Nigeria. So it cannot be majorly stated the content of this oha seed.
The demand for vegetable oils as a result of diminishing source of oils and fats creates the needs for new sources as well as exploiting sources that are currently unexploited in order to supplement the existing ones (Minzangi et al. 2011).
As industrialists continues to rely mostly on the popular vegetable oil like coconut oil, soyabeans oil, ground nut oil, palm oil etc. for the preparation and production of their various products.


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Present investigations were carried out on the effect of ethanol extract of Desmodium velutinum stem on some liver enzymes of albino wistar rats fed with
high fat from cow‟s brain. Twelve healthy albino wistar rats were divided into four groups. Group I rats were fed with balanced diet (normal feed, that is grower‟s mash) and tap water. Group II rats were fed with fat diet (cow‟s brain) (3.6g/day) alone. Group III rats received combined mixture of 70% fat diet (cow‟s brain) with 30% ethanol extract of Desmoduim elutinum stem (2.7g/day), Group IV rats were fed with fat diet (cow‟s brain) and were administered with a drug atorvastatin (5mg/rat/day). The rats were sacrificed at the end of the experimental (two weeks) period. The plant extract was screened for its phytochemical constituents, using standard procedures. Phytochemical screening revealed the presence of tannins, flavonoids, saponins and alkaloids. The liver function tests was assessed by measuring the total bilirubin, total serum protein, direct and indirect bilirubin and liver enzymes such as Alanine amino transferase (ALT), Aspartate amino transferase (AST), Alkaline phosphate (ALP), Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) on the liver of the albino wistar rat. The serum, ALT, ALP, AST and bilirubin concentration of the albino wistar rat increased significantly (P>0.05) compared to their total protein concentration. The result obtained indicate that the ethanol extract of Desmodium Velutinum stem possess hepatoprotective activity on the fatty liver of albino wistar rat fed with fat from cow‟s brain. The studied plant showed variable amount of phytochemicals including flavonoid, alkaloid, saponin, tannins, terpenoid which were determined quantitatively using literature methods. The significant effect of the Desmodium velutinum stem ethanol extract was compared with standard drug, atorvastatin. The result in the present study suggest that the ethanol extract of Desmodium velutinum stem can be used in treating liver diseases.

The liver is the largest and most complex internal organ in the body. It plays an important role in the maintenance of internal environment through its multiple and diverse functions. Liver is involved in several vital functions such as metabolism, secretion and storage. Hepatitis or inflammatory disorder involves inflammation and change to the hepatocytes. Hepatitis is one of the most prevalent diseases in the world. Every year 18,000 people had been reported to die due to liver cirrhosis caused by viral hepatitis (Wang et al., 2008). Ectopic fat storage occurs in obesity, particularly in the liver leading to a condition termed non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) characterized by varying degree of liver injury that progresses from steatosis to tratohepatitis, fibrosis and necrosis. Due to its prominent association with insulin resistance/obesity, NAFLD is regarded as the hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome. Liver has great capacity to detoxicate toxic substance and synthesizes useful principles. Therefore damage to liver inflicted by hepatotoxic agents is of grave consequences. Experimental studies have reported that animal fed a high fat diet (HFD) for more than two months develop weight, hyperlipidemic, hyperglycemia, oxidative stress and insulin resistance (IR). Besides, consumption of a calorie-rich diet results in lipid accumulation, excess production of inflammatory cytokines and macrophage infiltration that favours the
progression of liver disease. Many medicinal plant/indigenous plant have been mentioned and well established as hepatoprotective agents.
Desmodium velutinum is a medicinal plant around the world. The extract of Desmodium velutinum showed significant anti-pyretic activity on experimental rats used. Desmodium velutinum is very rich in alkaloids and related amino compounds. It is a source of flavonoid, saponins and pharmacological active agent useful in the treatment of aches and pains. It also showed that one of the uses is for erectile enhancing property. Desmodium velutinum being one of the important medicinal plant in the world may have effect on the liver. However limited studies are available on the effect of Desmodium velutinum treatment on hepatoprotective effect of its extract on high fat diet fed animal. In this regard, the present study was aimed to investigate the effect of ethanol extract of Desmodium velutinum stem on liver function tests on albino wistar rats fed with high fat from cow‟s brain related to different hepatoprotective effect by comparing it to a known drug, atorvastatin treatment which is used to lower the level of cholesterol in blood. Since changes in the concentration and composition of plasma lipid and lipoproteins occur frequently in liver disease, these findings may be useful in following the clinical course of patient with liver diseases of various causes.
Liver disease is associated with characteristic changes in the lipid composition of the surface coat of plasma lipoprotein particles. Cholesterol accumulate as hepatic
secretion of lecithin cholesterol acyltransferase decreases, such abnormal circulating lipoproteins tend to induce corresponding changes in cell membrane lipid composition. Studies in both human and experimental liver disease confirm that this does occur and that it is wide-spread. Low density lipoproteins, which are rich in cholesterol can also be taken up by the liver or extrahepatic tissues by a receptor mediated endocytosis that specially recognizes apolipoproteins. It can be predicted that extra hepatic membrane dysfunction might be a general feature of severe liver disease. It is proposed that many of the cellular disturbances and metabolic abnormalities accompanying hepatic disease result from, or are exacerbated by lipoprotein induced changes in membrane lipid composition and function. Hence Desmodium velutinum may be a source of a pharmacological active agent useful in the treatment of high level cholesterol in the blood which has got both liver protecting and nutritional value.


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TITLE     ……      …… …… …… …… …… …… …… …… ……ii

CERTIFICATION  ……       …… …..   …… …… …..   …… ……iii

DEDICATION  ……    …… …… …… …… …… …… …… ……iv

ACKNOWLEDGMENT  ……      …… …… …… …..   …… ……v

TABLE OF CONTENTS  …..      …… ……    …… …… …… …..vii


GENERAL INTRODUCTION ……        ……  ……    ……   ……  ……  1

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM ……        ……  ……    ……   ……  ……  1

PURPOSE OF STUDY …… ……  ……    ……   ……  ……  ……  ……  3

SCOPE OF STUDY ……      ……  ……    ……   ……  ……  ……  ……  5

METHODOLOGY OF RESEARCH ……       ……  ……    ……   ……  ……  5

LITERATURE REVIEW ……      ……  ……    ……   ……  ……  ……  6



1.1     What Is Family Planning ……          ……  ……    ……   ……  ……  ……  13

1.2     Origin Of Family Planning ……       ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  15



2.1.0    Natural Family Planning……  ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  19

2.1.1    Kinds Of Natural Family Planning……     ……  ……  ……  ……  21

2.1.2  The Calendar Method……      ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  21

2.1.2    The Basal Temperature Method (B.B.T)……      ……  ……  ……  22

2.1.4    The Ovulation Method (O.M)……   ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  23

2.1.5    The Sympto-Therminal Method (S.T)…… ……  ……  ……  ……  24

2.2.0  The Artificial Method of Family Planning……    ……  ……  ……  25

2.2.1    Contraceptives……       ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  26

2.2.2    Abortifacients ……       ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  30

2.2.3    Silent Abortion ……     ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  31

2.2.4    Direct Abortion……      ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  34




3.1     Marriage and Family Planning……  ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  40

3.2     The Effectiveness of Natural Family Planning at Preventing and           Achieving Pregnancy……      ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  43

3.3     Factors Militating Against the Practice of Natural Family Planning…..45



4.1            Critical Evaluation…… ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  49

4.2            Comparison Of The Two Methods Of Family Planning……  ……  49

4.3            Conclusion……   ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  57

BIBLIOGRAPHY…… ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  ……  62




There is this popular perception that population growth impedes economic development and induces poverty; that it means increased infant and maternal death rates, and that it leads to environmental degradation and depletion of resources. Certainly, there are problems with poverty, poor health and overcrowding in some regions of the world; but could we then say that the world is simply overcrowded?

Through the media, we are all familiar with the tragedy of people starving to death in various places. Overpopulation propagandists often use the TV image of the severally malnourished children in Somalia or Sudan, or any other war-torn-areas as a basis to argue that population growth in developing countries is causing poverty and famine.

The population controllers to justify the violation of human rights throughout the world have used the myth of overpopulation. Speaking of this, Michael Schwartz said:

The myth of overpopulation is one of the most powerful in the world, and is the source of many of the attacks against our moral, cultural and family values. In reality however, it is nothing more than a rationalization for a world-wide war against the poor- a war which inhibits legitimate development and social justice.[1]

All these shouts about overpopulation is actually pointing to the fact that the world had a population crisis especially when we consider the fact that the issue of family planning had not been there right from when the world began.

Openness to life and the extension of love to others must be the dominant qualities for a successful and happy union. Yet maintaining the openness to life brings its own share of problems and tensions. We live today in a world in which the child is often looked upon as a burden, rather than a benefit. Each birth is analyzed in terms of the economic cost, without any measurement of the intangible benefits that accrue to parents, to the family itself and to society. The love of children that leads to parental generosity and sacrifice is often constrained by a propaganda effort, which has arbitrarily decided that the two-child family should be the norm for all couples.


Moreover, from my origin of family planning, we are to see that the quest for family planning is actually coming from well-developed organizations and associations who are bent on checkmating the population of the world. Then, although that so many organs had agreed to do something about the population of the world, several of these organs to say had never reached on a precise way to follow. That is why we can then talk of things like artificial and natural ways of achieving family planning.


Expectedly, many scholars have pondered and are still pondering on the overall effects of family planning on the entire human race. It is based on this fact that various camps had emerged as far as family planning is concerned. There is this group that feel that it is not appropriate to embrace family planning since they feel that the world is not overcrowded and therefore, not yet the time to be talking about family planning. Even, they argue that population growth is healthy and highly recommended as a way of balancing our eco-system. The other camp is that of those who support the idea of family planning but insisted that it should be achieved through the natural
means. There are a lot of others who are against this idea as they maintain that artificial method of controlling birth is more appropriate and easier than any other method.

Yet, despite this progress, a great number of married couples hardly know the basic techniques of family planning, and many more are lacking in confidence because they remain unaware of the dramatic advances that have taken place. In addition, many of these women are always at a lost on which method of family planning to take because they are uninformed in any type of family planning. And also, it will go a long way in creating more awareness and enlightenment to those women who have been forced into adopting a particular type of family planning due to several governmental, environmental and organizational polices. This work will also serve the purpose of bringing a basic knowledge of family planning to those who are uninformed. It will also provide information and assurance that will give new confidence and hope to couples who wish to use the natural methods reliably and effectively.


My work is centered more on the two methods of family planning including the analysis of both of them. However, for the purpose of precision and of the requirements of this study, the research is limited to the views of J. F. Kippley.



Owing to the nature of this work, which is historical and explorative, the method used is expository, descriptive, analytical and evaluative. The expository and descriptive method treated on the nature, origin and history of family planning. That of the analysis treats on the differences among the different methods of family planning as well as the merits and shortcomings. And then, the evaluative will help in accessing the different methods of family planning so as to find out the suitable and more risk free. As a philosophical inquiry, this study would try to analyze the ‘raison d’etre’ of the whole philosophy behind the issue of family planning.

In general, the work is divided into four chapters. Chapter one offers the meaning of family planning as well as the historical view on family planning. The second chapter exposes and examines the different kinds of family planning that are applicable in our society today. In chapter three, I will discuss the analysis of Mr. J.F. Kippley’s notion of family planning. Then, the fourth chapter will critically evaluate the whole intellectual exposure.



Before we proceed into our main work, it will be right to see the notion of various people who have either said or done something in favour of one of the two methods of family planning. Thus, studies have shown that while some people are greatly in favour of the natural family planning, others are on the other hand in support of the artificial method of family planning. We are therefore to see those various individuals and organization that did something in favour of one of the methods of family planning.

The first person to consider here is Pope Pius XI’s stand and condemnation of unnatural methods of family planning. For him, there should always be both a call to generosity in the service of life and the acceptance of the principle of spacing babies through natural family planning.

Pope Paul VI in his ‘humanae vitae’, one of his encyclical letter in July 25th, 1968, lending weight to the course of natural family planning made this assertion:

If we look further to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised by those who, guided by prudent consideration and generosity, elect to accept many children. Those are also to be considered responsible who, for serious reasons and with due respect for moral precepts, decided not to have another child for either a definite or an indefinite amount of time.[2]

Another person to observe his opinion is His Eminence, The Grand Imam Sheikh of al-Azhar University in Cairo, who once provided conference goers with a booklet which was prepared by his international Islamic center for population studies, saying that Islam categorically condemns abortion…except…to…preserve the mother’s life.[3]

On the other hand, below are the supporters of artificial family planning. The first person to be seen among this group is Margaret Sanger nee Higgins (1879-1966), an Irish American who was the one that introduced the phrase, birth control through her polices in the 1920s and 1930s. Margaret’s theory

was very famous in her time especially as to have influenced Hitler so much. Sanger’s objective was to eliminate what she called the unfit members of the society by massive sterilization programs. Unfit members of the public for her include the poor, illiterates, the handicapped and the criminals, the black Americans and the Africans. In a letter, which she wrote to Clarence Gamble on 19th Oct, 1939, she expressed her plans to stop the growth of black population in the USA. Margaret also introduced many groups to channel her views. Among these groups were the Planned Parenthood Federation in America which she founded and was its first president. Sanger’s group saw the Africans as ‘sub man’ and the typical English labourer as ‘sub sub man’ who should be eliminated from the society. For her, 70% of the American people were reckoned as ‘morons’ (morons for her means those with low I.Q), and she recommended that the government should conduct I.Q tests compulsively so that those with low I.Q. will be immediately sterilized so as to curtail their growth. For her therefore:

The burden of supporting these unwanted types has to be borne by the healthy elements of the nation. Funds that should be used to raise the standards of our civilization are diverted to the maintenance of those who should never have been born. [4]

Maria Stopes (1880-1956) on her part in supporting the course of the unnatural method of family planning founded the first birth control clinic in Great Britain in 1921. She also founded a society for constructive birth control and racial progress for which she was the first president. However, it is now widely recognized that these two women, Maria and Sanger were responsible for today’s sexual permissiveness, pornography, divorce, contraception and abortion through their actions.

Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834), an avowed elitist is another personality who was credited to have championed the birth of family planning. In his view, he believed that the poor should be eliminated for the sake of the society. Intrinsic to Malthus theory was a belief that the poor overburdened the world’s resources and that consequently, they should never really exist. Malthus view influenced many so that they began to see anyone who helps the poor as an enemy of the society since he was only helping to prolong and propagate evil.

Having said something about some individual views on family planning, let us then see the notion of some organizations and groups that lended wait to the support of one of the methods of family planning.

The Christian churches were not left behind in the issue of supporting one of the two methods of family planning. Thus, the church insisted that the practice of natural family planning is the only authentic method of family planning. Hence:

the church teaches that it is morally permissible for couples to calculate their fertility by observing the natural rhythms inherent in the generative faculties and to reserve marital intercourse for infertile times. Thus, couples are able to plan their families without violating the moral teachings[5]

Seeing the opinions of a non-profit organization, which was founded in 1971 by Mr. J. F. Kippley, The Couple to Couple League (CCLI), and the organization helps couples build healthy marriages through the practice of natural family planning. The league teaches engaged and married couples how to practice natural family planning. Also, it teaches the most up-to-date

methods in natural family planning. CCLI also distributes information on the hazards of unnatural birth control, chastity, raising children, and related medical news.

The population controllers like the Planned Parenthood Association of America which was founded by Dr. & Mrs. Sanger allege that the world is critically overburdened with people right now, and that this crush of humanity is destroying the environment and creating inconveniences for those who are living. Therefore, they said that it is essential that we slow or halt population growth by making contraception and abortion available to all of the world’s women. Since about 1965, the population controllers have also been hinting that, if we do not put the brakes on our runaway population, the use of massive and widespread coercion will be necessary in order to save the planet. On the whole, they advocated for zero rate of natural population increase. 7

Some of these population controllers include; International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA). Some other organization and countries that have extensively founded the population controllers are the World Bank, USA, and Rockefellers Foundation in America, Singapore, Bangladesh, China, South Korea, India, Brazil, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Egypt, turkey, Colombia, Nigeria, and others. Among the countries that said they will not lend easier support to abortion were Germany, Poland, Switzerland, France,

the Latin and Muslim countries, Kenya, Ghana6.

[1] E. Keane, Population and Development (USA: Human Life International, 1968), P. 56

[2] Paul IV, Human Vitae, n. 17, 25 July 1968, Trans. By Janet E. Smith (Washington, D. C: Catholic      University of American Press, 1991),  P. 286

[3] J. Kasun, The War Against Population  (USA:Ignatius Press,1999),  P. 128








Title …………………………………………………………………i




Table of Contents         …………………………..……………………



1.1   Introduction…………………………………………………….1

1.2   Nietzsche’s biography…………………………………………..4

1.2   Statement of the problem……………………………………….5

1.3   Purpose of the study ……………………………………………7

1.4   Scope of the study………………………………………………7

1.5       Methodology ……………………………………………………7








2.1   Notion of nihilism………………………………………………..8

2.2   Nihilism in the history of thought………………………………..9

2.3   Kinds of Nihilism  ………………………………………………19




3.1 Preliminary remark……………………………………………….23

3.2 Background of Nietzschean nihilism……………………………..23

3.3 God is dead; Nietzsche’s nihilistic thought……………………….24

3.4 Implication of Nietzsche’s nihilism……………………………….28




4.1 Preliminary remark………………………………………………..32

4.2 Moral nihilism……………………………………………………..33

4.3 Religious nihilism………………………………………………….36

4.4 Educational nihilism……………………………………………….42

4.5 Economic nihilism…………………………………………………47

4.6 Political nihilism…………………………………………………..49




5.1 Evaluation………………………………………………………….57

5.2 Conclusion…………………………………………………………62





1.1                INTRODUCTION

In the history of thought, Nietzsche occupies a fundamental position especially in the contemporary era. His ideas and postulations are not only thought provoking but brain storming; not so much because of his originality but for daring the ‘undared’. In the light of this, Copleston confirmed: “For whatever one may think about Nietzsche’s ideas, one cannot question his vast reputation and the power of his ideas to act like a potent wine in the minds of a good many people”.Nietzsche’s fame is not busted by his postulations of the Superman, Eternal Return, Transvaluation of Values and not even the Will to Power. The landmark that makes him remembered today is his famous nihilistic acclamation ‘God is dead!’ Nietzsche identified this calamity with European nihilism. The European culture, once a religious culture, had become religionless. However, since this culture was built on the foundation of the Christian religion, the death of God in the hearts of the 19th century European meant the collapse of the foundation of their culture, moral values, tradition, and this was for Nietzsche a tragedy. To buttress this Omoregbe opined: “Nietzsche foresaw and predicted in a prophetic way that Europe was heading for a period of gloom and eclipse, a period of instability, aimlessness, emptiness and darknes”.2 Furthermore, in his magnum opus ‘The Will To Power’ Nietzsche wrote:

What I relate is the history of the two centuries. I describe what is coming, what can no longer come differently: the advent of nihilism…for sometime now, our whole European                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             culture has been moving as toward a catastrophe, with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade: restless, violently, headlong, like a river that wants to reach the end, that no longer reflects, that is afraid to reflect.3

With regard to Nigerian situation, there is no gainsaying the fact that Nietzschean nihilistic principles have been directly translated into Nigerian experience. Nigerian situation is that whereby the concept of God has become a dead concept. This is so because God is dead in the hearts of Nigerians. Consequently everything is permitted; nothing is meaningful and nothing works, no central objective and rallying point. Morality is thrown to dogs and meaning goes with it. This explains why there are crisis, violence, lawlessness, assassination, armed robbery, embezzlement, injustice, anarchy and chaos in Nigerian society and this without mincing words or exaggeration is what I identified as Nigeria in nihilism. However to explore Nigerian nihilism with clarity and precision, and to bring it to limelight; moral nihilism, religious nihilism, educational nihilism, economic nihilism and political nihilism, remains the focal point of this memoir. Hence, what does Nietzsche mean by nihilism? What are the consequences and implications? And how do we evaluate Nietzschean nihilism with regard to Nigerian situation?

This project is divided into five chapters. Chapter one introduces the whole frame of the study with the general introduction and methodology. It further states the problem, the purpose of the study and the scope of the study. Chapter two focuses on definition of the term nihilism and traces its historical account in the history of thought, which is literature review. Chapter three centres on nihilism in Nietzsche where we shall see what he meant by nihilism and its implication. The exposition of Nigerian situation where we shall witness the influence of Nietzschean nihilism in Nigerian society is the proper locus of chapter four. Chapter five takes care of evaluation and conclusion. It is this final chapter that bears my opinion concerning the topic.


Fredrick Wilhelm Nietzsche was born in October 15th 1844 at Rocken in Prussian Saxony (present day Germany), into a family where his father and grandfather were Lutheran pastors. When Nietzsche was barely five years, his father died. Consequently, he was brought up at Naumburg in the feminine company of his mother, sister, grandmother and two aunts. Between 1854 and 1864 he studied at Pforta. There, his admiration for Greek thought was ignited, as he was particularly attracted to the Greeks gods, writing of Plato, Aristotle and Aeschylus. In October 1864, Nietzsche went to the University of Bonn. Later that year he moved to Leipzig, to further his philosophical studies under Ritsch. During his stay in Leipzig, Friedrich gradually abandoned Christianity, occupying his mind with atheism of Schopenhauer. As at 1869, Friedrich Nietzsche was appointed professor at Basel at the age of 24 years.

In the years between 1869 and 1889, Nietzsche had published a lot of works including ‘The Dawn of Day’, ‘Joyful Wisdom’, ‘The Birth of Tragedy’, ‘Beyond Good and Evil’ and ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’, etc. From his multiple works, he was able to posit ideas of the Superman; The Will to Power, Eternal Return, and God is Dead etc. As at 1888, with the publication of the Antichrist and Ecce Homo, clear signs of mental disorder manifested in Nietzsche. Though he was hospitalised in January 1889, he never recovered fully from the insanity till the end of his life. He died on August 25th 1900.


We live in the era when men are more concerned with power, pleasure, wealth and connection than character formation. An era when Hobbesian theory of man being wolf to man, the Machiavellian principle of might is right, and the Darwinian evolutionism of survival of the fittest are not only accepted but also cherished and adopted as the guiding principle in human relation. Today, what matters is how successful one is, with little or no regard to the means of the attainment of that success thus instead of the means justifying the end, the reverse is the case. Thus honesty is disregarded, indolence is extolled, probity is derided, and ostentation is paraded. Hence, there is apparent disregard of rule of law. Crime is committed with impunity. Therefore, there is loss of order and the society is chaotic.

This is not unconnected with Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche’s nihilistic proclamation. Having seen the meaninglessness, nothingness and absurdity of Judeo/Christian belief in God, Nietzsche announced to the world his shocking discovery that “God is dead”.4 He does not simply say that God does not exist, but that God is dead. What a catastrophe? Strengthening this, Omoregbe opined that: “What formerly gave meaning and sense of direction to human existence is no longer there. Men are now left simply with nothing, with emptiness and a meaningless existence”.5 Thus, the nothingness and nihilism of human existence, according to Nietzsche is the consequences of the death of God. It is this apparent lack of meaning and nihilism is what we are experiencing in Nigeria today. The situation in Nigeria has grown worse that she is “being described in international circles as the second most corrupt country in the world”6, by The Transparency International. It is to elicit this cankerworm or virus and to quarantine it that is the major problem of which this research sets out to resolve.




Among philosophers, the term ‘nihilism’ is mostly associated with Nietzsche. Thus, the sole aim or purpose of this project is to make clear what Nietzsche meant by nihilism and to see how far this has affected the situation in Nigeria.



Even though Nietzsche said many things, this study is limited to his idea of death of God, from which Nietzsche’s nihilism is interpreted. Nigerian situation is also a follow up to Nietzsche’s nihilistic doctrine.


This work is purely expository, interpretative and evaluative. Radically, Nietzsche’s dictum ‘God is dead’ is exposed as it were, which forms the base from which his nihilism is interpreted. This is followed by critical evaluation of Nigerian situation using Nietzsche’s nihilism as guideline.

1 F. Copleston, History of Philosophy, vol. 7, Part II, (New York: Image Books, 1965) p. 164

2 J. Omoregbe, A Philosophical Look at Religion, (Lagos: Joja Press, 1993) p.126

3 F. Nietzsche, The Will to Power, (ed.) W. Kaufmann et al., (New York: Vintage Books, 1967) p.3

4 S. Stumpf, Philosophy: History and Problems, (New York: Kingsport Press, 1971), p.386.

5 J. Omoregbe, A Simplified History of Western Philosophy, vol. II, (Lagos: Joja Press, 1991), p.171.









TITLE PAGE       …      …      …      …      …      …      …      …      i

CERTIFICATION         …      …      …      …      …      …      …      …      ii

DEDICATION     …      …      …      …      …      …      …      …      iii

ACKNOLEDGEMENT …      …      …      …      …      …      …      vi

TABLE OF CONTENT …      …      …      …      …      …      …      iv

GENERAL INTRODUCTION         …      …      …      …      …      …      viii

BRIEF PROFILE …      …      …      …      …      …      …      …      xii



1.1 What is nihilism?     …      …      …      …      …      …      …      1

1.2   Nietzsche’s conception of nihilism     …      …      …      …      3

1.3 Nietzsche’s conception of Christianity …      …      …      …      6

1.4 Anti-Christ     …      …      …      …      …      …      …      …      13

1.5 The death of God     …      …      …      …      …      …      …      15





2.1 Nietzsche’s conception of Morality      …      …      …      …      19

2.2 Master slave morality                 …      …      …      …      …      …      22

2.3 Moral valuation (good and evil)  …      …      …      …      …      28

2.4 Critique of the moral ideals         …      …      …      …      …      …      31



3.1 The will to power    …      …      …      …      …      …      …      34

3.2 The ubermensch (superman)       …      …      …      …      …      38



4.0 Critical evaluation   …      …      …      …      …      …      …      45

4.0 Conclusion     …      …      …      …      …      …      …      …      55


BIBLOGRAPHY      …        …        …        …        …        …        …        …        58


Statement of problem.              

Down the stages of the history of philosophy, the modern philosophy of consciousness, attention has been directed to the mastery of the natural world. This is a period whose character of rational optimism was diametrically opposed to tradition and authority upon which stood the veracity and logic of primitive religion. It has been a period oriented to the practical. The possession of and ownership of the real. With Kant, the practical reason is already being understood as will. Schopenhauer took up this indication from Kant and conceived reality as will and idea. He opines that the world is a meaningless and purposeless existence or will to live. Nietzsche however, finally accepts the fundamental notion of Schopenhauer that the will is the principle of existence, but he conceives this will not merely as the will to live, but as the will for power.

Along the way to the will to power, the anthropological subject has become central. This turn towards the subject excludes any supreme value in man. Thus, when Nietzsche proclaimed and declared the death of God, he believed that he was accomplishing the work, which other existentialist philosophers started but were unable to complete. Little did he realize the havoc he had caused to the contemporary man. Consequently he joined other thinkers of his time to sweep off the hold of God on the modern man.

With “the death of God” man could surpass himself and attain his greatness.

Now it is up to man to give his life meaning by raising himself above the animals. Our so-called human nature is precisely what we should do well to overcome…[1]


It becomes succinctly comprehensible that God, the supreme value was a barrier to man’s attainment of self-fulfillment. However, with the elimination of the idea of God, supposedly a vacuum will be created and thus nothingness could break out in all directions. This at least goes to show the nothingness of religion, which it’s values and morality, find their meaning in God. This is thus the focus of nihilism, which also involves the revaluation of these values. Through nihilism, Nietzsche was able to posit a new value that would replace the old and eliminated` supreme value.

Purpose of study.

This project is necessary in the face of the present-day unscrutinized quest for faith or religion. For this reason, it will follow a thought-pattern that will argue for the credibility of God and religion. Thus the major task of this work is to criticize without reservation this religious and moral demise of Nietzsche and restore the supreme value to its place in the world.

Scope of study.

This work does not however guarantee to exhaust the rigorous arguments concerning the existence of God. It does not even pretend to expose the whole philosophical thought of Nietzsche. It will evaluate and criticize Nietzsche’s arguments concerning the existence of God.

Method of study.

For the purpose lucidity this work will be largely critical and expository. More so, a brief historical survey of Nietzsche is adopted to bring to limelight, his conception about God.


Division of work.

This work is divided into four chapters. Apart from the introduction, the first chapter will x-ray the meaning of nihilism for Nietzsche, and the religion and its values as attacked and refuted by him. In chapter two, we shall be exposing the nihilistic morality as presented by Nietzsche. Chapter three centers on the remedies offered by Nietzsche as the ideal value after his nihilism of supreme value. Chapter four will evaluate Nietzsche’s philosophy of nihilism.


Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was born on October 15, 1844 at Bocken in the province of Saxony. He was the son and grandson of Lutheran ministers. His father died at the tender age of four and he grew up under the care of his mother Fran Nietzsche and his sister, Elizabeth.

At the age of fourteen, he was sent to the famous Pforta School where he studied classics, religion and German literature. In 1864, he went to the University of Bonn and studied theology. But having lost his faith in Christian religion in 1865 he abandoned theological studies, left Bonn and went to Leipzig where he studied philology. Here, also he came upon Schopenhauer’s works, The World as Will and Idea, which had an influence on him and confirmed his atheistic standpoint. He was also influenced by the Wagnerian music he came in contact with.

His outstanding intelligence merited him the appointment as a lecturer at the age of twenty, and later at the age of twenty-four, was yet appointed to the chair of classical philology at the university of Basal. He was at this school until heath forced him to resign his professorship in 1879. It was during this period that he came close to a relationship with Wagner but thy later separated. From 1880 to 1889, he lived life of solitude. He surprisingly became insane in 1889 and remained in that state of mental and physical paralysis until his death on August 25, 1900 at the of fifty-five.

Nietzsche was a prolific writer and wrote extensively even while ill. His major works include: The Birth of Tragedy, which he wrote in 1872. Between the periods of 1873 to 1876, he published the Untimely Meditations and Human, All-to-Human. Then, again between the periods of 1881 to 1887, he wrote these five books: The Dawn, The Gay Science, Thus spoke Zarathusthra, Beyond Good and Evil and Genealogy of Morals. In 1888, he yet produced these books: The Case of Wagner, Twilight of IdolsAnti-Christ, Ecce Homo, Nietzsche contraWagner and completed work, The revaluation of all Values (The Will to Power).

[1] F.Nietzsche Thus Spoke Zarathustra, in the portable Nietzsche Trans., ed. W. Kaufmann, (New York: Viking, 1954), p115












TABLE OF CONTENTS………………………………………..….vi


1.0            General Introduction…………………………………….…….1

1.1     Statement of the Problem…………………………….……….2

1.2            Purpose of the Study…………………………………….……3

1.3            Scope of the Study……………………………………………4

1.4            Methodology………………………………………………….4

1.5            Literature review……………………………………………..5


2.0            The Origin of Civil State…………………………………….11

2.1     The State of nature……………………………………..…………..11

2.2            The right to private property……………………………………..15

2.3            The social contact………………………………………………….19


3.0            The Lockean Civil State……………………………………………..24

3.1     The purpose of civil state…………………………………………24

3.2            The Separation of powers…………………………………………29

3.3            The Extent and limit of Representation……………………………..33

3.4            The dissolution of Government……………………………………..37


4.0            The relevance of Lockean civil state to Nigerian democracy…….40

4.1     The leadership question……………………………………………42

4.2     Security……………………………………………………………46

4.3     Human rights and social justice …………………………………..49

4.4     Checks and Balances ……………………………………………..52


5.0             Evaluation and conclusion………………………………………55

5.1     Evaluation……………………………………………………….55

5.2            Conclusion………………………………………………………59






1.1     General Introduction

John Locke was born on August 29, 1632 in Warrington, Somerset.  His father, John Locke senior, was a lawyer and a small land owner. The family had a puritan and a parliamentary background.  He studied at the famous Christ Church, Oxford. He studied sciences, especially medicine under Sir Robert Boyle and was later admitted into the household of the Lord Aschey as his physician and secretary. He later opened up a new chapter in his life and became involved in political affairs of the day.

One of the bases of his political thought was his teaching on the civil state which he best called civil society.  In order to demonstrate what a civil society is, he traced its origin to the state of nature from where men unite together to go into civil state.  He stated that,

This is done wherever any number of men, in the state of nature, enter into society to make one people, one body politic, under one supreme government, or else when anyone joins himself to, and incorporates with any government already made….1

From the state of nature, people enter into civil state through consent, to surrender their right of enforcing the law of nature to the society for them to setup a lawful form of government they thought fit2.

Democracy being a system of government under which the people exercise the governing power either directly or through representatives duly elected by them3, is taken to be one of the forms of government which people in the civil state may choose to set up. There is need therefore, to explore the ideals of the civil state by John Locke, and to bring out its relevance to the practice of democracy in the Nigerian setup.


1.2     Statement of the Problem

In the light of the above explication, it is good to ask the basic question:

what are the problems of Nigerian democracy?  Some of the problems are: the failure of leadership, inadequate checks and balances of the arms of government, lack of security of life and property, and violation of human rights. These problems among others make Nigerian democracy to be in shambles.  Every Nigerian is in one way or the other affected by this difficult situation facing the Nigerian State, and it is every one’s duty to make maximum effort towards solving these problems for the actualization of the ideals of democracy in Nigeria. Therefore, the ugly situation of Nigeria democracy is the problem that motivates the research.


1.3. Purpose of the Study

Following the afore-mentioned problems, the aim of the study is to first of all explore John Locke’s teaching on the elements of the civil state, and to demonstrate the necessity of this teaching in solving the problems facing Nigerian democracy.  In other words, this work seeks for the relevance of John Locke’s notion on civil State, to the practice of democracy in Nigeria.


1.3. Scope of the Study

Taking cognizance of Locke’s vast contribution and discussion in philosophy, this study is limited to his teaching on the civil state, and its importance to the remedy of some of the posing problems of democracy in the Nigerian State.


1.4. Methodology

The method of the work is expository and evaluative.  This means that Locke’s Civil State is explored and it is evaluated by showing its relevance to Nigerian democracy.

For proper comprehension, the work is divided into five chapters. Chapter one serves as the background which explicates the introduction, the statement of the problem, the aim, the scope, the method as well as the literature review.  Chapter two treats the origin of John Locke’s civil state, which is traced back to the state of nature.  Also Locke’s view of right to private property is stated in this chapter.  In chapter three, Locke’s civil state is exposed properly, with its basic features like the purpose of the civil state, the separation of powers of government, the extent and limit of representation, and the dissolution of government.  In chapter four, how the ideals in the Lockean Civil State can be of good help in tackling some of the problems facing Nigerian democracy, is duly considered. Finally, chapter five deals with general evaluation and conclusion.


1.5. Literature Review

In order to properly explain Locke’s notion of civil state, there is need to explicate the views some other thinkers have about the civil state.  A. Appadorai quoting R. Maclver in his book The substance of Politics stated that:

The state is an association which, acting through law as promulgated by a government endowed to this end with coercive power, maintains within a community territorially demarcated the universal external conditions of social order[1].

He agreed with Herbert Spencer that “the state is nothing but a natural institution for preventing one man from infringing the rights of another; it is a joint-stock protection company for mutual assurance5.

Following what is said above, from the ancient period, many philosophers in their political thought have in one way or the other viewed on the notion of civil state.  Each of them is influenced by the political affairs of his time, so they have related different views about the civil state. Therefore, the views of various philosophers of different epochs are to be reviewed.

Plato one of the ancient philosophers, in his political thought held that the state originated for the reflection of people’s economic needs.  This means that for him, as he is quoted by Stumpf in his book Philosophy: History and Problems, “a state comes into existence because no individual is self sufficing, we all have many needs”6.  The state exists for the service of

needs of men.  In other words, “men are not independent of one another,

but needs the aid and co-operation of others in the production of necessaries of life”7.  He divided the citizens of the state into three classes, namely: the guardians who are the rulers, the auxiliaries who are the soldiers of the state, and the common people who provide the material needs of the state.

Aristotle also in the ancient period stated that the state is natural to man.  As he is quoted by Stumpf, “it is evident that the state is a creature of nature and that man is by nature a political animal”8.  This made him to state that “he who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god”9.  The state for him exists for an end, and this end is the supreme good of man.  This means that, “the state comes into existence for the bare end of life, but it continues in existence for the sake of good life….”10

Thomas Aquinas in the medieval era viewed the state as a natural society, which has at its disposal the necessary means for attaining its end, which is the common good of the people.  For him “… the government of the state is instituted to secure the necessary conditions of the common good”11.  This means that,

The state’s function is to secure that common good by keeping the peace, organizing the activities of the citizens in harmonious pursuit, providing for the resources to sustain life, and preventing as far as possible, obstacles to the good of life”12.

Hooker a renaissance period thinker whose teaching had much influence on John Locke, viewed the emergence of the state as a natural inclination in man to live in society, and this is only achieved by common agreement of the individuals involved.  This according to Copleston means that “the establishment of civil government thus rests upon consent, without which there was no reason that one man should take upon him to lord or judge over another”13.

Furthermore, in the modern era, Hobbes according to M. Sibley in his book, Political Ideas and Ideologies, viewed the emergence of the civil state as,

When men contract with one another to leave the state of nature, they then enter civil society where the equality of nature gives way to subordination to the ruler14.

For Hobbes the sovereign is not a party to the contract, he only accepts his power from the contractors and he is absolutely free to act in any way he sees fit, subject only to the primary law of nature that he preserves himself.

Rousseau, another philosopher of modern period, viewed that in the civil state each person gives up his natural liberty in order to gain civil liberty in common with others under the supreme direction of the general will. Rousseau’s own view of the civil state according to M. Sibley, is that, “a legitimate civil state… implies that men have given up their natural freedom and have exchanged for it a civilized freedom broader and more certain than that which they previously enjoyed”15.

Finally, the foregoing is the concise conceptions of philosophers on the civil state.  With these in mind, it is proper to examine John Locke’s exposition of this topic.


1 J. Locke, The Second Treatise of Government, ed. T. Peardon (New York: Oxford Library of Arts Press, 1965), P.50.

2 Ibid. p. 60.

3 A. Appadorai, The substance of politics (India: Oxford University Press, 1960), p. 137.

[1] R. Maclver quoted in A. Appadorai, Op. Cit., p. 50

5 Herbert Spencer quoted in A. Appadorai, p. 50.

6 Plato quoted in S. Stumpf, Philosophy: History and Problems (USA: McGraw Hill Inc, 1994), p. 70.

7 F. Copleston, A History of Philosophy, vol. 1 (London: Continuum Books, 2003), p. 225.

8 Aristotle quoted in S. Stumpf, Op. Cit., p. 103.

9 Ibid.

10 F. Copleston, Vol. 1, op. cit,  p. 351.

11 F. Copleston, A History of Philosophy, vol. 2 (London: Continuum Books, 2003), p. 415.

12 S. Stumpf Op. Cit., p. 193.

13 F. Copleston, A History of Philosophy, vol. 3 (London: Continuum Books, 2003), p. 323.

14 M. Sibley, Political Ideas and Ideologies (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1970), p. 351.

5 Ibid. p. 396.








TITLE         …      …      …      …      …      …      …      …      …      i

CERTIFICATION                   …      …      …      …      …      …      …      ii

DEDICATION     …      …      …      …      …      …      …      …      iii

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT       …      …      …      …      …      …      iv

TABLE OF CONTENT …      …      …      …      …      …      …      vi

GENERAL INTRODUCTION         …      …      …      …      …      …      viii

Purpose of Study …      …      …      …      …      …      …      …      xi

Scope of Study     …      …      …      …      …      …      …      …      xiii

Methodology        …      …      …      …      …      …      …      …      xv


1.0            LITERATURE REVIEW        …      …      …      …      …      1

1.1     Ancient View About Africa     …      …      …      …      …      2

1.1            Medieval View About Africa   …      …      …      …      …      4

1.2                                    Modern View About Africa     …      …      …      …      …      6

1.3                                    Contemporary View About Africa   …      …      …      …      9


2.0            Martin Heidegger: The Question Of Being  …      …      …      13

2.1            The Fundamental Ontology: Dasein Analytic      …      …      17

2.2            His Methodology …      …      …      …      …      …      …      25

2.3.    His Concept of Phenomenology and Interpretations     …      28


3.0            African Distorted Images        …      …      …      …      …      …      37

3.1            Some Causes Of African Predicament        …      …      …      …      38

3.1.1    Geographico Cause        …      …      …      …      …      …      38

3.1.2    Historico Cause    …      …      …      …      …      …      …      42

3.1.3    Colonialism                   …      …      …      …      …      …      …      43

3.2            Phenomenological Interpretations Of African

Distorted Images  …      …      …      …      …      …      …       48


4.0     Critical Evaluations and Conclusion …      …      …      …      58


BIBLIOGRAPHY          …      …      …      …      …      …      …      …      62


What do you expect would come to the minds of many, assuming you stand on Mountain Everest and shout the word “Africa” to the hearing of all mankind? Arguably, many (especially Westerners) would immediately succumb to the idea that Africa is a place of tribal slaughters, massacres, urban slums, skeletal children, people infested with AIDS; a place where the earth is dry and cracked, a place of endless stream of refugees without a place to call home, without clothing, medicine, food or water, plus other images of savagery, inferiority complex and hunger.  According to Ezine Newsletter:

Those are the only images we see in C.N.N during the nightly news, during times of crisis and then there is nothing until the next war, skirmish or famine. Limited, selective images that make a continent look like it is always in upheaval.1

But these images about Africa are not only associated with the C.N.N. nightly news, they have permeated for hundreds of years in the West’s perception of Africa. Lending weight to this, the same Ezine Newsletter (African insight) on African images, opines:

For hundreds of years, Africa was a blank spot on Western maps, a place that did not exist and then during the Middle Ages it became a dark spot. It was referred to as the “dark continent”, where primitive people without history and civilization dwelled. Where chaos was the norm, even the capacity for an African to love was questioned since a savage being was not capable of love or Christian charity2.

In concrete, Africans, especially Blacks, having been besmirched with these subhuman statuses, it was as easy as rolling off a log to take this Dark continent filled with savages and ship them to ends of the earth as slaves. This explains the 16th Century African Slave trade, when Bartoleme de Las Casas (Bishop of Chiapas) threw off Christian anthropology aboard and made a clarion call for African slaves, who would replace the emaciated Indians in Hispaniola, Spain, 1517. It was also easy to plunder the riches of Africa, its people and resources, and to colonize them under the guise of bringing civilization and Christianity. No wonder, Jomo Kenyatta opined in his book, ‘Facing Mount Kenya’:

The missionaries came with the Bible in their hand and we had the land. They taught us to pray with our eyes closed, and then when we opened them we had the Bible in our hand, and they had the land.3

But a critical mind would ask, why was it Europe, rather than Africa that conquered and plundered? This, I shall briefly explain in chapter three of this project, while focusing on  the main point of my project.

Today, we could see the same tune played and danced according to the old methods. We could see veiled distorted images of African continent and “neo-asphyxiating colonialism”4 in the relations of Africa with the West. These we see in most actions of U.N, G-8 club, C.N.N news and other Western means.

Thus, in chapter one of this project, I will expose the views or distorted images about Africans starting from the Ancient to the Contemporary period. Chapter two of this project will navigate on Martin Heidegger’s task in his “Being and Time”, his idea of the fundamental ontology and his concept of phenomenology, which I will use to interpret these African experiences. Chapter three will dwell on African distorted images vis-à-vis the causes of African predicament. Later, I will use Martin Heidegger’s concept of phenomenology to interpret these distorted images. Chapter four will be on critical evaluation and conclusion.


My purpose of this project is to showcase and bring to “more” conscious awareness the varied distorted images with which Africans are labeled. These distorted images, though as old as the continent itself, have continued to form ominous clouds of hatred in the mental skies of most Westerners. The notion that Africans, especially Black Africans, are inferior has implicitly continued to petrify in the African relationship with the West. For instance, “eighty five years after the witch hunt against the African soldiers in Liverpool, Anthony Walker, a promising young black student from Liverpool was viciously murdered with an axe on 29 June, 2005 by white youths who were angered by the fact that Walker had a white girlfriend”.5 Imagine this.

To hedge West’s sheer and implicit distortion of Africans as inferior, Africans themselves have unconsciously submerged themselves to this status–quo. Very soon, they will become “untouchables”.

As a result of the above, this project is not only aimed at show-casing, but is also geared towards salvaging the tainted images of the Africans. It is aimed at confronting Euro centric superiority by asserting the fact that “we are all humans, irrespective of color, skin and race. Again, my intent is that there is more to complexification (coming together) than there is to particularization. Pierre Telhard de Chardin hit the truth when he remarked:

It is precisely this state of isolation that will end if we begin to discover in each other not merely the elements of one and the same thing but of a single spirit in search of itself.6

Again, like every other project on African experience, this project is an attempt to unmask the “un-freedom” of Africans hobbled by many “positive” and ‘’negative’’ elements (slavery, colonialism et cetera) as a result of the sub-human status created for them.

I shall interpret these images about African continent, using Martin Heidegger’s concept of phenomenology in his “Being and Time”. Remember, I am not using this concept as benchmark to African situation; instead, I am only interpreting his concept of phenomenology and situating it to African situation. Again, I shall not relegate to the limbo his question of the meaning of being by which he arrived at the fundamental ontology: ‘’Dasein’’-man. Thus “Dasein” is the gateway to other ontologies. It is because of the centrality of Dasein with its existentials that this project focuses on the distortions of African “Being ness”.


The scope of this project covers the whole of African continent, especially the black Africans, bearing in mind that some Africans like Egyptians are white in complexion. It covers the whole of African continent, because the word “Africa” already connotes negative undertones for most Western minds. Hear what was written on “milestones”, December 26, 2005 ‘Time magazine’, vol 166 no.25, captioned “The persons of the year”, with reports by Illa Garger, about Africa 13 years ago:

Africa has become the basket case of the planet, the “third world of the third world’’, a vast continent in free fall…. Africa has a genius for extremes, for the beginning and the end. It seems simultaneously connected to some memory of Eden and to some foretaste of apocalypse. Nowhere is day more vivid or night darker. Nowhere are forests more luxuriant. Nowhere is there a continent more miserable. Africa-sub-Saharan Africa, at least – has begun to look like an immense illustration of chaos theory, although some hope is forming on the margins. Much of the continent has turned into a battleground of contending doom . . .7

Even though, the reporter might have some reservations (Egypt or some nations of North Africa), he painted the whole continent black. Therefore the scope of this project is the African continent. But distinctions will be made when necessary.


The method of this project is expository, analytical and hermeneutical. By expository and analytical method, I will carefully expose the varied distorted images of Africans, starting from the ancient period to the contemporary period, with analysis when necessary. And by the method of hermeneutics, I will interpretatively unmask these distorted images of Africans using Martin Heidegger’s concept of “phenomenology” in order to see what lies behind them.

1 Ezine Newsletter.African Images, (November 2002-african Insights) p.1










Perhaps what has become so dominant in the affairs and the nature of man, almost exclusively, is the need to be treated well. What seemed as latent but constantly boiling in every individual of all ages is a quest to get a fair share of one’s natural entitlement. In other words, man searches for justice. Philosophers through the ages are not left out as they have contributed tremendously to the development and reorganization of human society. Hence their clarion calls for a better society. Thus it is on this note that we are going to review the opinions of philosophers, both past and present, concerning the political situation of any given society; paying more attention to the nature of political power and its structural systems regarding the affairs of the state in general.


1.1 Ancient Period

This period witnessed the concern of man to have a well ordered and organized state whereby its citizens will uphold the issue of moral values, especially as it pertains to the issue of justice and equity. As such, there are many philosophers in this period that were involved in the reformation of the state, but we are going to look at the contributions made by few of them. One of the philosophers of this period we are going to see is Aristophanes. He opined in his political philosophy that the system of governing the state should not be democracy but communism. Therefore he criticized democracy saying that many unqualified and lazy persons joined the legislative for the sake of financial rewards. And this is very obvious with regard to Nigerian political situation which we are going to see shortly. Thus many politicians are in politics simply because of money. He goes further to say that “in democracy, people are given political posts even if they were not equipped for it.”[1]In other words, many politicians are given certain positions they do not merit, that is, those we can call political office seekers. Hence he argues for communism as the best option for proper governance of the state. Communism for him will incorporate every member of the state and proper justice will be maintained.


Plato in his view outlined five forms of government, namely, aristocracy, timocracy, plutocracy, democracy and despotism, but he favours aristocracy. According to him, aristocracy stands as the best form of government where only Philosopher-kings should be rulers. He intended to establish an ideal society where the state of affairs and the people’s moral conscience will rule. However, he was deeply disenchanted with the type of politics practiced in Athens, particularly with the way the Athenian government executed Socrates, and had consistently failed to produce good leaders. Hence his clarion calls for upholding morality and the agitation for Philosopher-kings to be rulers. Moreover, his intention was to establish an ideal society where its leaders would be guided by reason and justice maintained. He saw them (Philosopher-kings) as the best option in the search for good leaders and the need to promote morality especially among the youths who are future leaders. Thus, Plato envisioned leaders with the aptitude for wisdom to govern the society and legislate for it.

Aristotle in his contribution viewed the state as the association of human beings where all man’s needs are provided. The existence of the state is for the provision of the natural needs of man; thus, the state is viewed as the natural association of man. And man being a rational and political animal should best secure good life in the society. ‘The good life’ here according to Aristotle includes political good, economic independence and virtuous life. As regards power, he said that, “the citizens at large administer the state for the common interest, so that the government is called by the generic name, a constitution.”[2] The power of those in office should be controlled by the law since good laws are supreme in the state. Aristotle as we could see in his politics elevated the citizens to the level of the administration of the government and as it pertains to the political power in the society. Equally, he opined that the common interest matters as much as it gives everybody equal opportunity to participate in the affairs of the government. Therefore he saw the government as involving, virtually, every citizen, as it is called by a generic name. So the constitution forms part and parcel of the government and it must be properly established and executed.

1.2     Medieval Period

Having seen the contributions made by some political philosophers in the preceding period, let’s now talk of the medieval period. Here we have many philosophers to consider, as it were, but we shall concentrate on a few of them. Among them was St. Augustine. He was not a political philosopher as such, but contributed immensely as far as commonwealth and social order of any organized society are concerned. According to him, true commonwealth can never exist if there is no real justice in the community. “But”, he said, “true justice is found only in that whose founder and ruler is Christ . . . we cannot deny that it is the ‘weal’ of the community.”[3] As we can see, he is more of a theologian since he makes Christ the terminus ad quem of man’s existence. Nevertheless his defense of commonwealth and justice are very much indispensable in any political society. Hence for any meaningful political society to exist there must be real justice and commonwealth. Lack of these two principles of government characterizes the Nigerian democracy. And these, no doubt, must have their foundation in Christ just as St. Augustine upholds. However this justice must be equitably distributed and maintained. This, by implication, means that the power holders must pay attention to the citizens’ well-being; and the citizens must not be found wanting in obedience to the leaders. Secondly, Thomas Aquinas in his part also presented us with his doctrine of justice which begets common good. These principles are never found in a vacuum for they are within the reach of men with common good. For Aquinas, the object of justice is “right.”[4]What this means is that every individual’s right ought to be respected. Therefore, every member must respect his or her individual right and the right of others. On this point Isidore opined that, “a man is said to be just because he respects the rights of others.”[5] Finally Aquinas concluded that justice means rendering to an individual his right, all for the common good of the political state.

1.3    Modern Period

From the medieval to the modern period we have seen the contributions of some political thinkers and their ideologies. We can see in those periods the indispensable role of ethical values and how they contribute to the establishment of an ideal state. It is their view that true justice contributes to the shaping of the society, if well appreciated. However their thought appears to be more of utopia than real, especially, when we consider the political philosophy of Plato and Aristotle.

The modern period could thus be seen as the high point of political theory and ideologies. The philosophers of this period were so much concerned with the nature of political states and their governance. They were so much interested in how best a state could be governed through reasonable and courageous leaders, and at the same time ensuring good relationship among its citizens. Let’s see the political philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, in this modern period, which was summarized in the concept, SOCIAL CONTRACT. The “Social contract”, according to him, “is a contract by which men avoid the state of nature and enter into civil society…”[6] But prior to this civil society man was in a natural state that was characterized by warfare; a situation, where because of man’s freedom, there was struggle for glory, diffidence and urge for competition. A state of war, as opined by Hobbes, where ‘men live without a common power to keep them all in awe; they are in that condition which is called “war”. This happens when one sheepishly follows his inclinations and dispositions. However it is in this contract (social contract) that men surrender their powers and strength to sovereignty to be governed and legislated for. Thus he says, “…by conferring all their powers and strength upon one man, or upon an assembly of men, to bear their person, to reduce all their will into one.”[7] This contract so enacted is called a commonwealth. The contract establishes an absolute government. Commonwealth becomes the sovereign to whom the people entrust their power to provide for their peace and security. The sovereign exercises his authority by prescribing rules where every man may know what goods he may enjoy and what actions he may perform without being molested by any body. Summarily the sovereign exercises the political power, hearing and deciding disputes.

John Locke was also of the view that social contract should remain the best option for the civil society. In fact he was one of the flag-bearers of social contract, just as Hobbes. He did not see it as a situation of servitude on the part of the citizens to their rulers. Rather the citizens submitted their legislative and executive powers in order to be governed. Hence the pact makes them a “single body politic”[8], making them equal and free men, both the rulers and the ruled. It is important to note that this power is a fiduciary power, which means that it is given on trust. Therefore, the legislature must ensure good, justified governance, otherwise dissolved. Consequently, “there remains in the people a supreme power to remove or alter the legislative when they find the legislative act contrary to the trust reposed in them.”[9] Since it is only a power on trust, it means that the people are still in charge, unlike the absolute monarchy of Hobbes. Rousseau was also in this line of thought when he was talking about the ‘General Will’, which he said, belongs to the people. And so the people’s sovereignty cannot be alienated from them for it belongs to them. Having seen this, let’s see the situation of politics as it pertains to contemporary period.

1.4               Contemporary Period

Political thought and theories continued up till the contemporary period. However, the period witnessed a serious political crisis. There is less interest in politics as long as this period is concerned; and Alfred Cobban viewed political philosophy of this period as a discipline that has less attention. This view does not mean that the philosophers of this period were not concerned with political society and the system of governance during their time, but they lacked the interest and the zeal in redirecting their thought towards political situation of the society. In fact, there is a kind of decline as it pertains to political philosophy. The philosophers rather, paid much of their attention to the reality of the universe and the place of man’s existence in the world. They questioned how best one can live an authentic life in the world, not excluding the society, in which one lives. However these not withstanding, we shall see how they directed their thought towards the shaping of the individual’s reason in the society. Here we see John Stuart mill who began his essay “On Liberty” by writing: “The subject of this essay is not the so-called Liberty of the Will… but civil or social liberty: the nature and the limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by the society over the individual.”[10] This civil liberty offers every citizen an opportunity of participation in the government. A liberty that involves: liberty of conscience, which is, of expressing and publishing of opinions, liberty of association, and so on. As regards democracy, he voted Representative Democracy as the best form of government. The reason for this option is that it makes people more active and gives the individual better opportunity for intellectual growth, virtue and socially responsible life. Also the community, according to him, possesses the power of governance. Therefore, everybody has legitimate freedom to take active part in the government. Thus he says,

“the best form of government is that in which the sovereignty or the supreme controlling power in the last resort is vested in the entire aggregate of the community, every citizen not only having a voice in the exercise of the ultimate sovereignty, but being, at least occasionally, called on to take on actual part in the government, by the personal discharge of some public function, local or general.”[11]

This in no doubt presents a true government that is devoid of tyranny and despotism. Power is reasonably and considerably utilized.

The next person is Karl Marx who brought about his theory of dialectical materialism. According to him, the state is divided into two unequal parts, namely the bourgeoisie and the proletariat classes. It is a state of class struggle and conflict between the bourgeois class and the proletariat class. Such a state could be referred to as “a state of the survival of the fittest”; each of the classes struggling to survive. In fact, it is a situation, which involves a serious struggle of opponents. Thus, the state, according to him, is the society under the control of the bourgeois class. They, as the rulers, dictate their will and interests in the state in the form of law and institutions. This situation was viewed as characterized by struggle, antagonism, domination and all sorts of inhuman treatment. Therefore, it is his dream that there will be a time when everything will be normalized. This will eventually give birth to a classless society of citizens with equal rights. This will come about when the proletariat revolts against the ruling class and overthrow them in order to set up communism. Then this state of equal right will give everybody equal opportunity of participation in a true democracy. Communism according to Marx is:

“The positive transcendence of private property or human estrangement, the real appropriation of the human essence by and for man…genuine resolution of the conflict between man and nature, and between man and man…”[12]

By communism Marx meant a time when capitalism (the oppressive system), with its concomitant evils, will be destroyed through revolution by the oppressed (masses). This will bring to an end the exploitation of man by man, the end of alienation, the end of conflicts and antagonism among men. Also, private property and private ownership of the means of production will be abolished and the goods of the society will be owned by all. The same revolution will introduce a classless society where everybody will be equal and man determines for himself in his natural state. With the disappearance of class distinction in this new society which communism will usher in, the state will equally disappear since the state is simply an instrument of class rule. Thus, the final goal of Marxism is to set up “a classless and stateless communist society in which there will be no more conflicts, antagonism among men, exploitation, poverty, everybody will be free, happy and live in peace with his fellow man.”13 And so, the positive transcendence of human estrangement which Marx is talking about is realized when man has been able to subdue his tendency to keep acquiring, which is done through revolution against capitalism. This will then give man the opportunity to use and make real appropriation of the human resources to reach everybody in the communist society.

[1]M. I. Nwoko, Basic World Political Theories ( Ancient- Contemporary ), p. 15

[2]M. I. Nwoko,  Ibid. p. 28

[3] City of God, bk. ii. chap. 20, p.75

[4]Summa Theologica, IIa Hae, Quest. 57, Art. 1 ff.

[5]M. I. Nwoko, op. cit., p. 53

[6] M. I.  Nwoko, op. cit., p. 72

[7]T. Hobbes, Leviathan, p. 100

[8] M. I. Nwoko, op. cit., p. 82

[9]S. E. Stumpf, Philosophy: History and Problems, 5th ed., 1994, p. 273

[10] J. S. Mill, On Liberty, ch. 1, p. 267

[11]J. S. Mill, Representative Government, ch. 2, (p. 336 of G. B. W. W. vol. 43)

[12] K. Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscript of 1844

13 J. I. Omoregbe, A Simplified History of Western Philosophy, vol.11 Modern Philosophy,  (Lagos: Joja Educational Research and Publishers Ltd., 2001) P. 149








1.1  Self: An Existential Approach.

Existentialism is better seen as a style of philosophizing rather than a philosophy. Thus, the existentialists have some patterns of thought following their existential traits. Hence, they deny that reality can be neatly packaged in concept or presented as interlocking system. “An inquisitive style of thought that sets to adopt with ardent mastery the world in relation to man’s life in it.”1 Jean Paul Sartre, Soren Kierkegaard and Martin Heidegger made remarkable imprints among the existentialist thinkers. The basic style of their philosophizing begins from man rather than nature. A philosophy of the subject rather than the object per se. William Barrett’s definition of existentialism sets the existentialists’ agenda in motion:

A philosophy that confronts human situation in its

totality, to ask what the basic conditions of human

existence are and how man can establish his own

meaning out of these situations.2

From the foregoing therefore, existential approach to self is not very difficult to define.

Rene Descartes (1596-1650), the father of modern philosophy was the first to make a dialectical shift in the history of thought, breaking apart philosophy from the chains of scholastic ‘theocentricism’ to the modern ‘anthropocentricism’. In his famous cogito, he sets out to posit the “I” as the referential point of existence. Hence, the “I” becomes the starting point and the end point “terminus a quo and terminus ad quem” of his ontological status quo. The ‘I’ becomes the thinking subject.

But, a remarkable attempt to move the straight points of philosophy from the “abstract thinking subject to more concrete base, in the total, multi-dimensional human experience of involving in a world of affairs was carefully explored by John Macmurray.”3 Toeing the same line of argument, the existentialists owe their thought in agreement with John Macmurray’s view of the self as an ‘agent’ as against the traditional understanding of self as the ‘subject’.

In his own words, “the ‘I’ act (the self as agent) replaces the ‘I’ think (the self as subject) as the place where existential philosophy finds its beginning.”4 Thinking according to him is an abstraction from the totality of self as agent. Having given a skeletal view of the general notion of the existential self as the existentialism owe to Macmurray, it is very pertinent at this juncture to X-ray what three front liners existentialists have as their views in relation to self.

In order to bring the intrinsic meaning of the existential self to the fore, Soren Kierkegaard driving home his message made an allusion to the idea of the ‘anonymous crowd’. In his own words, Being in a crowd unmakes one’s nature as an individual self by diluting self.”5  He further stresses:

Acrowd in its very concept is untruth, by reason of the                 fact that it renders the individual completely impenitent           and irresponsible or at least weakens his sense of duty, vision         and responsibility by reducing it to a fraction.6

From a different angle, Martin Heidegger with a bold stroke shifted the nineteenth century continental philosophy away from the traditional concerns about theories and focused it upon the concern of thinking individual (self). He sets out to explore the deepest nature of self as an existing being.  Fascinated by the question of being (Zeins frage) he desires to explore the fundamental ontology – the phenomenological analysis of the ‘Dasein’. In his fundamental task of de-structuring the essential components of the Dasein he does not intend to joke when he remarks, “Dasein has a pre-ontological understanding of his own being because; being reveals itself gratuitously to him.”7 By making serious enquiry into the meaning of being through rational and fundamental questions, the existential approach to self in Heidegger’s line of thought is not very difficult to disclose, implying though it may be.

Jean Paul Sartre not dismissing his phenomenological background approaches the question of self as the only unique Consciousness. According to him,

The mode of the existence of the Consciousnesses

is to be conscious of itself and being conscious of

his consciousness, its law of existence is correctly



He further maintains that insofar as Consciousnessis conscious of itself, it is purely absolute. The central message of the celebrated book of Sartre, Being and Nothingness presents an existential concept of self “as the unique individual that is essentially free even though in chains, is a master of his own fate.”9 He therefore projects the self in conformity with the analysis of Cartesian thought, as individual human being seeking for apodictic certainty as a referential point of departure. The actual message of self in Sartrian philosophy may not be correctly sent without the cause to “make a veritable insight into the ontological and epistemological variations, wherein the Cartesian cogito becomes essentially manifested.”10   

Hans Gadamer would have been forgotten in the arc of intellectual history if not for his celebrated line ‘No one speaks from nowhere, thus, to speak implies speaking from a particular point of view. Bearing this in mind, the question of self in Sartrian philosophy may not be exhaustively explored without a necessary reference to his phenomenological background.


1.2 Existentialism: A Phenomenological Background.

The word “phenomenology” has quite a long history in philosophy. Occasionally, it was employed by Immanuel Kant to stand for the study of phenomena or appearances as opposed to things-in- themselves. Hegel, in his phenomenology of mind, used the word for his exposition of the manifestations of the stages of the mind, from perception, through the forms of consciousness, to the highest intellectual spiritual activities. Husserl’s Introduction to Pure Phenomenology bracketed,     


questions concerning reality and tends to devise method

for detailed and accurate description of various kinds in

their pure essences.11

A brief intellectual tour in the existentialists’ environment will reveal that, it was Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) that first picked up the intellectual relay- race in the German phenomenology. Thrilled by the Cartesian cogito, he plans to establish from a phenomenological background, the self, from the focal point of action as the existing agent. The undeniable influence he asserted on his successors, thinkers like Martin Heidegger, Merleau-ponty and Jean Paul Sartre carried along the phenomenological relay race. Due to the fact that existentialism owes its definitive emergence to phenomenology, invariably most existentialists are phenomenologist though the reverse may not be the case, notwithstanding, there is an undeniable fact of close tie that developed between the two styles of philosophy. The fact is obvious; “Phenomenology seems to offer existentialism the kind of methodology necessary to pursue the investigations into human existence.12 Fascinated by Cartesian methodic doubt, Husserl radicalized its tenets with a certain degree of consequence. The transcendental consciousness could no longer be characterized in    terms of a thinking matter, a ‘res cogitans’ but an acting matter. In his argument, he stresses that if consciousness only exists as consciousness of something, then, Husserl’s interpretation of the methodic doubt implies that the ‘physical ‘I’ would perish along the line, “because the ‘I’ presents the character of an object.”13 The existentialists developed   phenomenology to suit their own purpose. The point of divergence between Husserl and the existential phenomenologists is not very difficult to pinpoint. Whereas the former places emphasis on essence and approaches phenomenology as an apodictic science, the latter stresses on existence. The existentialists’ allegiance to existence could be seen in Sartre’s assertion ‘existence precedes essence’. In this regard, they refuted Kantian dualism that supposed some hidden ‘noumena’ of which the ‘phenomena’ is merely the appearance.

In his book ‘L’Action’, Maurice Blondel (1861-1949) argues, “the starting point of philosophy should be sought not in abstract ‘I’ think but in the concrete ‘I’ act.”14 To buttress this fact, the existentialists insist on action, for according to them, only in action does existence attains correctness and fullness. Where thought, passion and inward decision are lacking, there will be nothing worthy of the name action. Despite the premium existentialists place upon action, it does not seem to connote they are pragmatists. A proper juxtaposition of the differences and similarities of both the former and latter leads us into the next sub-heading. The pragmatists and the existentialists without doubts place a greater percentage on man as a deciding agent. But as the former views man as a functional man the later approaches him from the point of ‘Homo Viator’. The former to a greater extent highlights optimism from the utilitarian standpoint. They occupy themselves with issues of success in every undertaking, with a little or no attention to the tragic and frustrating sides of life as expressed in most existentialists’ writings.

Berdyaev clearly remarks the difference between the duo in his words, however close the latter could be at some points with the former:

They are distinguished from them by the fact that their interest

is in the intensity of life even its tragic intensity rather than its

outward expansion and success.”15

The existentialists acknowledge the obvious situations of man’s existence as a fact of life. This I plan to unmask in the preceding sub-heading.


1.3 Facticity of Existence

A simple look at this phrase elicits the two contending concepts: Fact and Existence. In philosophy of science, facts are said to be the ultimate tribunal. As such without facts, there would not be any result. The issue is not different in the field of law and other disciplines.

‘To exist’ from its Latin etymology ‘ex-sistere’ means, ‘to stand out’, ‘to emerge’. To ‘lie around’ seem to highlight the clearer meaning of existence in recent times- ontological location. Here, to exist implies to be located somewhere in the world, to have a place in the real world. In passing the message of what it means to exist, Martin Heidegger made allusion to the idea of ‘Dasein’. Jean Paul Sartre explores the content of the ‘Pour-soi’for-itself. The question above all is, what the facts of existence are in the existential mind? Existentialists use the word ‘Facticity’ to designate the limiting factor in existence. From etymology the word had been coined to translate the German ‘Faktizitat’ and French ‘Facticite’. It is as opposed to the background of the word factuality that has to do with objective state of affairs observable in the world.  It is an inward existential awareness of one’s own being. No one has chosen to be. As Augustine Farrer voices out “The loneliness of personality in the universe weighs heavily upon us, it seems terribly improbable that we should exist.”16 Man from time immemorial has formed some beliefs or even revelations about his origin and destiny. How truthful or valid such assumptions are, may not be our concern here. The only fact we know beyond doubt is that ‘we are’. Where we came from and where we are going remains under the confines of mystery. Existence never escapes from the tension between possibility and facticity. Facticity opens for us the radical finitude of human existence.

Robert Cumming gave a clearer insight to facticity as portrayed in Sartre’s ideology. The “for-itself” is, insofar as it appears in a condition which it has not chosen, it is, in so far as it is thrown into the world and abandoned in a situation.”17 In the thought of Heidegger, facticity means that man finds himself in situation where he is bound to be. ‘Throwness’, ‘Geworfenheit’ in Heideggerian thought underlines to a greater extent the intrinsic meaning of facticity. “Being thrown into existence, without his prior knowledge the ‘Dasein’ finds himself in a circumstance that is not his own making.”18 Facticity is an outright revelation of the limitations of the ‘Dasein’. In a case, the ‘Dasein’ realizes some givens beyond his control, things he cannot alter even if he wants to.

Some factors project certain unavoidable existential situations. Death, Temporality, Guilt and Alienation tend to summarize those inescapable conditions of life. As Heidegger rightly puts, death is the possibility of the impossibility of existence. Heidegger is one of the existentialists that never approached the issue of death with reservation. At death alone could the ‘Dasein’ be correctly defined. He sees death as the last possibility of all, that which makes impossible any further possibility. In temporality, man’s nature as being time-bound is re-defined. Man as creature of time must pass away in time. The transience of human life is one of the most poignant aspects of finitude. No matter, whatever may be the case; man must be a client to the tribunal of birth and death.

Pessimistic though the existentialists may seem to be, as some thinkers argue as opposed to pragmatists, they have always not failed to recognize the obvious fact of disorder in human existence. Thus, man experiences guilt and sometimes feels alienated from what he encounters around him.

Karl Marx pointed the fact of alienation in the revolutionary changes in man’s material condition. From the existential angle, alienation implies that one is mortgaged in inauthentic existence. Without facticity, Robert Cumming, avows “Consciousness would choose its attachment to the world in the same way as souls in Plato’s republic choose their condition.”19

1 J.Macquarie, Existentialism (New York: World-Publishing Co, 1972), p.14

2 T.Ajayi, Freedom, Choice and Responsibility (WAJOPS: vol.7, AECAWA Publication, 2004), p.79.


4 Ibid, p.126.

5S.E.Stumpf, Philosophy: History and Problems (U.S.A: Mc Graw- Hill, 5th (ed.), 1971), p.487.

6 Ibid, p.488.

7 C.Ekwutosi, unpublished lecture note on Heidegger’s Metaphysics  (Pope John Paul II Seminary Awka, 2005), p.2

8 R.Cumming, The Philosophy of Jean Paul Sartre  (New York, Random House, Inc., 1965), p.51.

9 The Cambridge Companion to Sartre, (ed) Christian Howells (U.S.A: Cambridge Uni.Press, 1992), p.68.

10 Ibid.p.69.

11 J. Macquarie, Op.cit, p.22.








Title …    …    …    …     …    …    …    …    …    …    …     …   …     …  i                                                                                                                  Certification     …    …    …    …   …     …    …    …    …     …   …    …  ii

Dedication       …    …    …    …    …    …    …     …    …      …   …   … iii

Acknowledgment    …    …    …   …    …    …     …    …      …   …   …  iv

A Brief Profile of St. Thomas Aquinas …   …     …    …     …    …   …   v

Table of Contents …     …   …   …     …     …     …    …     …    …   …  vii


1.0                INTRODUCTION …   …    …     …    …    …    …       …       …     1

1.1.   Background of the Study …    …    …    …    …     …       …      …     3

1.2.   Statement of the Problem     …      …     …    …      …       …      …    4

1.3.   Aim of the Study…     …    …      …      …     …      …       …     …    5

1.4.    Scope of the Study     …     …       …    …     …      …       …     …     6

1.5.         Methodology of Research   …      …     …    …      …       …      …     6

1.6.          Division of Work …    …    …    …     …    …       …       …      …     7



2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW   …    …    …    …    …     …     …     …     8

2.1. Views of Some Thinkers on Conscience …   …   …      …        …     …    8

2.1.1. Ancient    …     …     …        …       …        …     …     …     …   …   8

2.1.2. Medieval …      …     …       …       …        …    …      …      …   … 11



3.0. THE GENERAL CONCEPT OF CONSCIENCE     …   …     …   17

3.1.   Synderesis and Conscience …    …     …    …   …      …     …     …   21

3.2.   Kinds of Conscience …      …     …     …    …    …    …    …     …   23

3.2.1. Conscience in Relation to Objective Morality …      …      …      … 24

3.2.2. Conscience in Relation to Judgment of Action …     …     …       … 28


4.0. AQUINAS’ NOTION OF CONSCIENCE      …     …      …    …    30

4.1. The Binding Force of Conscience …    …    …   …    …      …    …    37

4.2. The Problem of Error in Conscience      …   …    …    …     …     …   41



5.1. Critical Evaluation …      …      …      …    …     …    …      …      … 46

5.2. Conclusion   …      …     …      …      …      …    …    …       …     … 57

BIBLIOGRAPHY …    …      …      …    










TITLE PAGE                       ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          i

CERTIFICATION              ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ii

DEDICATION                     ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          iii

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT..           ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          iv

TABLE OF CONTENT      ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          vii

GENERAL INTRODUCTION     ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          x


1.0.           IDEALISM AND ITS MEANING   ..          ..          ..          ..          1

1.1.      KINDS OF IDEALISM         ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          5

1.1.1.  SUBJECTIVE IDEALISM                ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          5

1.1.2.       OBJECTIVE IDEALISM                 ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          6


2.0.           THE FOUNDATION OF HEGELIAN IDEALISM            ..          ..          9

2.1       THE IDEALIST LINEAGE: HIS PRECURSORS  ..          ..          10

2.2.       HEGELIAN IDEALISM: AN OVERVIEW           ..          ..          ..          14

2.3       DERIVATION OF THE DOCTRINE         ..          ..          ..          ..          17


3.0.           CRITICAL EXPOSITION OF HEGELIAN IDEALISM    ..          21

3.1             HEGEL ON ETHICS AND POLITICS        ..          ..          ..          ..          23

3.1.1.  THE STATE AND THE INDIVIDUAL IN HEGEL          ..          ..          24

3.2             DETERMINISM IN HEGELIAN IDEALISM        ..          ..          ..          26


IDEALISM     ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          29


3.4             TRANSFORMATION OF HEGELIAN IDEALISM: FURTHER CRITICISMS ..          ..          ..          ..            ..          ..          ..          37


4.0       THE IMPLICATIONS OF HEGELIAN IDEALISM FOR THE INDIVIDUAL HUMAN PERSON     ..            ..          ..          ..          41


INDIVIDUAL            ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          43

4.2             EROSION OF AUTHENTICITY AND UNIQUENESS    ..          45


PERSON        ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          48


5.0       EVALUATION AND CONCLUSION.       ..          ..          ..          ..          50

5.1.            CRITICAL EVALUATION  ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          50

5.2.            CONCLUSION.         ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          57

BIBLIOGRAPHY   ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          59



Throughout the history of philosophy, one peculiar trait has marked all the philosophers and served as their uniting factor. It is the desire to form a coherent and unified interpretation of reality natural to the reflective mind. Starting from the Greek philosophers, this trait is found in their quest for the “urstoff” of all that exists (thereby remaining cosmocentric in their interpretation) through the theocentric interpretation of the medieval era. In the light of this trait, the modern period becomes over-laden with anthropocentricism. In sum, we can bluntly say that philosophy has this single task of forming a unified interpretation of reality to perform.

However, the actual task to be performed presents itself in different ways at different times. For example, the development of physical science in the post-mediaeval world meant that the philosopher who wished to construct an overall interpretation had to grapple with the problem of reconciling the scientific view of the world as a mechanical system with the demands of the moral and religious consciousness. Descartes was faced with this problem. And so was Kant. Even though kant rejected the ways of dealing with this problem which were characteristic of his predecessors and offered his own original solution, it is arguable that in the long run he left us with a “bifurcated reality”[1]. On the other hand, a supersensous world of the free agent is provided. There is no valid reason to assert the existence of the phenomenal realm, as well as a theoretical proof of the supersensuous reality. Even though Kant made effort to bridge the gap between the two realities in a way comprehensible to the remote mind, he however related a problem which the German idealists refused to pass over in silence. Thus, German idealism culminating in Hegel, made effort to make the whole of reality intelligible to the human mind, provided that this mind can be regarded as the vehicle, as it were of absolute thought reflecting on itself. The result of this was the Absolute idea in Hegel’s philosophy or Hegelian idealism.

The point to be made is that Hegel’s point of departure was the theme of the relation between the infinite and the finite or more precisely, between the universal, collectivity and the individual. Hegel evaluated everything on the platform of the Absolute infinite, making the finite, including the human person, a product of the Absolute, and universal. Now, a mind-boggling question surges up: what is actually the role of the individual in this universal? It is obvious at this point that Hegel in order to solve the Kantian dualism created an existential problem for the individual human person who appears to be at sea in the whole Hegelian set up.

Hence the problem, which obviously faced Hegel as an idealist, was that of including, as it were, the finite within the life of the infinite without depriving the former of its reality[2]. The difficulty of solving this problem is responsible for a good deal of ambiguity in metaphysical idealism when it is a question of defining its relation to theism on the one hand and Pantheism on the other. However, the problem lingered on and constituted the fundamental springboard of existentialist trend. As such, it becomes consistent to ask: How can the human person become fully himself, free and independent in this existential order vis-à-vis the Hegelian abstraction that kept his reality or rather existence somewhere beyond this order. Could the individual human person be said to be free, responsible and actually existing yet remaining a moment in the “self-development” of the absolute thought or universal. If the state is the supreme will of the individual and if the individual exists for the good of the state as an institution, is the human person free from this mere objectification or relegation? How could this utilitarian principle of the many against one contribute to his survival? How could man’s authenticity be assured in this all-consuming absolute universal? In the present era, the submerging of the individual takes other forms in the society. These forms constitute the various ways the implications of Hegelian idealism become evident in our society. The powerful evidence towards political and social totalitarianism with its reduction of personal responsibility and its evaluation of personal value in terms of service to the collectivity are not apart from these forms and consequent implications. This constitutes a hard nut to crack as there arises the need to reaffirm the free individual in the face of this powerful tendency.


In the light of the foregone (statement of the problem), one easily discovers the task or aim of the whole work. The work is an effort to reinstate the concrete existence of the individual human person which has been swallowed up in abstractions through absolute idealism. Thus, it is primarily targeted on Hegel who is a prime absolute idealist, and it is a reaction against the abstraction of his idealism, which has depersonalized the individual human person. This would be more effectively done via existentialist emphasis on man to restore the essence of individual human person. Thus, it is a piece of evaluative criticism of  idealism with Hegel as a reflex point.


Within the limits of this consideration, the work even though it exposes idealist tenets, does not claim an absolute and total exposition. Even at that, it does not expose these tenets to empty idealism of its content. However, in order not to build on the blues, Hegelian idealism is chosen as the reflex or focal point of our reflections. Be that as it may, the work does not claim to expose equally the whole edifice of Hegelian system, but exposes through critical inquiry and analysis some aspects of this system as it relates to the individual human person. Even when the writer toes the existentialist line in his criticism, he does not claim to exhaust all themes of the existentialist in order to buttress the deficiencies of Hegelian system.


In line with the purpose of this work, the method employed here is simply expository. This exposition would be addressed via critical analysis and evaluative techniques in order to produce a comprehensive corpus that suits the entire intellectual edifice.




The work is divided into five chapters that are linked to one another with each succeeding stage being a further elaboration of the preceding one. The work comprises one theme running through all chapters but in a developmental manner from the first to the last chapter. Chapter one delves into idealism that exposes Hegel as an idealist. Chapter two discusses the idealist predecessors of Hegel as the springboard of Hegelian idealism. This gives us the impetus for a critical exposition of the system to be made in chapter three. Having critically exposed Hegelian idealism, a room was created for the fourth chapter that draws out the implications of this system for the individual. Lastly, chapter five aims at practical solutions by evaluating the two sides of the human person: individuality and collectivity. Consequently, the curtain is drawn with the writer’s standpoint on the whole quagmire.



George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, greatest of German Idealists and one of the renowned philosophers of western tradition was born at Stuttgart on August 27th, 1770. He was the oldest son of a minor state official. In his school years at Stuttgart the future philosopher was not spectacular. However, at this period, his attraction to the great genius, especially the plays of Sophocles and above all in the Antigone was evident. At the age of eighteen he entered the University of Tubingen as a student of theology. However, he showed little aptitude for theology. The certificate which he received in 1793 commended his excellent talents but declared that his industry and knowledge were mediocre and above all deficient in philosophy. He seems to have profited most from the companionship of his friends, notably Holderlin and Schelling, with whom he read Kant and Plato. The friends studied Rousseau together and shared a common enthusiasm for the ideals of the French Revolution, which obviously might have stirred up in Hegel the later development of his philosophical ideals.


After his stay in Tubingen, Hegel became a family tutor at Berne in Switzerland and Frankfurt respectively. During his residence in Switzerland he wrote a life of Jesus, a critique of positive religion and several studies in the history of religion. Later, his attention turned to questions of economics and government, and he left writings on the reform of the Prussian land laws, a commentary on James Stuart’s Political Economy, and other studies of similar character which have since been published. In 1800, he produced a sketch, which is generally regarded as the first systematic statement of his philosophy.

At the time, when Schelling was in his heydays, Hegel made a request from Schelling demanding him to suggest a suitable town for a brief period of studious withdrawal as well as “a good beer”. He joyfully acclaimed the success of his friend in the academic world, which spurred on ambitions in him (Hegel). Consequently, he said: “the ideal of my youth has necessarily taken a reflective form and been transformed into a system… how can I return to influencing the life of mankind?”[3] Shelling must have given him an enthusiastic answer which pushed him into abandoning his previous plans and joined him (Schelling) at Jena. At the university, he became a privatdocent (an unsalaried university lecturer) and gradually famous, through the series of lectures he delivered. As such, before Schellings’s departure from Jena, in 1803, he and Hegel collaborated in the publication of the journal of critical philosophy. This work however, strengthened the impression that Hegel was to all intents and purposes a disciple of Schelling[4]. On the contrary, with the publication of his first great work, The Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), Hegel showed his divergence from Schelling. It was while he was engaged in the details of publication of this work that his academic career was brought abruptly to a halt by the Napoleonic campaign culminating in the battle of Jena in the autumn of 1806.


The “Phenomenology of spirit” appeared in 1807 despite the war, but Hegel himself was at loose ends. Two volumes of his science of logic were published in 1812, and a third in 1816, and he was offered professorships at Erlanges, Heidelberg, and Berlin. He accepted the invitation to Heidelberg, but after the publication of his “Encyclopedia of the philosophical sciences” in 1817, the offer of Berlin was renewed and accepted and he occupied the vacant chair following the death of Fichte.

His thirteen years of professorship at the University of Berlin brought him to the peak of his career and made him a recognized leader of philosophic thought in German world. His prestige thus rose until his name was linked with that of Goethe. His publication of “The philosophy of Right”, was significant as the last of the large works published in his life time. His lectures on aesthetics, the philosophy of religion, the philosophy of history, and the history of philosophy were constantly revised and improved and finally published posthumously. In 1830, he became the rector of the university and was decorated by Frederick William III of university of Berlin until his death from Cholera in 1831 at the age of sixty-one.

[1] F. Copleston, A history of Philosophy, Vol. 7 (New York: Continuum pub. Co, 2003), P. 6.

[2] Ibid., P. 12.

[3]R.M. Hutchins (ed) Hegel-The Philosophy of Right – The Philosophy of History (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 1982), P.V.








TITLE.      .         .         .         .         .         .         .         .         .         ii

CERTIFICATION.      .         .         .         .         .         .         .         iii

DEDICATION.                      .           .           .           .           .           .          iv

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT.    .         .         .         .         .         .         v

TABLE OF CONTENTS.     .         .         .         .         .         .         vii 



1.0          General Introduction.         .         .         .         .         .         .         1

1.1           Purpose of the Study  .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .      .     1

1.2             Statement of the Problem .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .        .   3

1.3           Scope of the Study .     .    .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .        .  4

1.4           Methodology       .       .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .        .  6

1.5           Division of the Work .     .      .     .     .     .     .     .    .        .   6

1.6           Literature Review     .      .       .     .     .     .     .     .    .       .   7


2.0          Historical Background    .      .         .          .         .        .       12

2.1           Thomas Hobbes     .      .      .       .         .         .         .        .       .     12

2.2          John Locke            .      .      .       .         .        .          .        .       .     15


3.0          The Social Contract Theory  .         .            .         .         .        .     20

3.1          Thomas Hobbes on Social Contract  .         .         .         .        .      20

3.2           John Locke on Social Contract       .           .         .         .        .      31


4.0 Comparison of the Two Philosopher’s Ideas of Social Contract           Theory. .     .         .         .         .         .         .         .         .     39

4.1          Comparison of Hobbes and Locke’s Ideas of Social Contract.      39

4.1                        Contrasting Hobbes’ and Locke’s Ideas of Social Contract.        .      45


5.0           General Analysis and Evaluation.         .         .      .       .        50

5.1           Thomas Hobbes’s Social Contract  .         .        .       .       .    50

5.2            John Locke’s Social Contract           .         .       .       .      .   56

5.3            Conclusion.             .          .           .         .        .       .     .        60

BIBLIOGRAPHY.            .          .          .           .        .        .        . 63





Across the century, the social contract theory, nearly as old as philosophy itself, has been used and employed by many philosophers. Thinkers like Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. John Rawls and Jeremy Bentham have employed it in different ways. This implies that the way the social contract theory is understood differs, at least insignificantly, from one philosopher to the other.

Theories of social contract differed according to their aims; some were fashioned to justify the power of the sovereign; some to safeguard the individual from oppression by an all-powerful sovereign.1

Despite all these differences, the theory has one central point it pursues. This central point runs through the various meanings of social contract theory as expressed and maintained by various scholars.

It is an agreement in which the people decide to journey from the state of nature into the political society, by relinquishing their executive power to an absolute Monarch.  It is also an agreement under which people contract to surrender their liberties in return for the guarantee of responsible government.

As if every man should say to every man, I authorize and give up my right of governing myself, to this man or to this assembly of men, on the condition that thou give up thy right to him, and authorize all his actions in like manner.2

Be it as it may, the major purpose of this project revolves in stating and analyzing the theory of social contract as seen and conceived by Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. Also, it posits to tackle certain questions like:

a) Does the theory of social contract in Thomas Hobbes share any similarity with that of John Locke?

b) Do they contrast at any point at all?

c) Can it be said that the social contract theory according to the two philosophers under consideration is completely the same?


As earlier stated, social contract theory has been used by many philosophers in various ways. Thomas Hobbes and John Locke also saw it from different perspectives to a certain level. Hobbes, the first to give its full exposition and defence postulates that social contract is an agreement to which the people surrender their will, freedom, and power to an absolute sovereign called the Leviathan. In his words …Thomas Hobbes saw the contract as one in which the citizens relinquish their freedom inherent in the state of nature to an absolute sovereign.3

For John Locke, who came after Hobbes…he conceived  social contract to exist wherever some citizens united into one body having a common established law and judicature to appeal to with authority to decide controversies between them and punish offenders. According to Locke:

Social contract exist wherever any number of men so unite into one society as to quit every clue of his executive power of the law of nature and to resign it to the public in all cases that excludes him from appealing for protection to the law established by it4

The problem consequently hinges in the confusion and discrepancy inherent in trying to understand the two philosophers’ theory of social contract.

1.3                   SCOPE OF THE STUDY

It is worthy of note to point out here clearly that the theory of social contract is not the generality of the works of our two philosophers. For instance, Hobbes is noted for his Leviathan, he has other works he wrote. The Leviathan is primarily a book on social and political Philosophy; Hobbes had not intended to restrict his attention to that subject caught up in the ocean tide for scientific discovery. He was deeply impressed by the precision of science and all by Certainty.5

On his own side, John Locke wrote other works in addition to his social contract. Locke’s most important and influential political writings are contained in his Second Treatises of Government. The second treatise contains Locke’s own constructive view of the aims and justification for civil government and is titled, Essay concerning the true original extent and ends of civil government.6

Locke’s books were the product of long years of reading and reflection. As at fifty-four, he has not published something of importance though he has written a good deal that remained in manuscript.  His letter on toleration appeared both in Latin and English in 1689.  His great essay concerning human understanding saw the light of the day in 1690. And in the same year, he published the two treatises of government.

Most importantly, it should be understood that this project does not intend in any way to handle all the philosophical works of these philosophers in view. The scope of this study is simply limited to their theory of social contract. It does not tackle any other issue outside this. That is to say that other philosophies postulated by the philosophers are outside the scope of this work.

For a more academic and scholarly work its scope extends to juxtaposing the theories in order to discover certain points at which they agree and at which they disagree.

1.4                       METHODOLOGY

The method of this research work shall be expository and analytical. I intend to expose the different views of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke on social contract. Since   social contract theory does not mean exactly the same thing to both of them. After the exposition of their thoughts, a comparison and a contrast and critical evaluation will follow. Over and above all, this research uses scholarly, academically and philosophical method.

1.5                  DIVISION OF WORK

This work is divided into five chapters. Chapter one is an introduction to the work. Chapter two is the historical background of the two philosophers. Chapter three exposes their idea of social contract. Chapter four compares and contrasts the ideas of both philosophers on the subject matter. In Chapter five, social contract in Thomas Hobbes and John Locke will be critically evaluated. Lastly the work is brought to a conclusion.


Thomas Hobbes was the first to give full exposition and defence of social contract. He does not have the monopoly of the idea. Just as many ideas and theories of philosophy have been used in different ways. Social contract theory has also been used and applied differently. Here my effort is channelled towards analyzing the concept, social contract as various philosophers understood it. This literature review is a critical analysis of the different notions of social contract. Philosophers to be reviewed include Plato (ca428-ca348BC), Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), and Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-17178).

Plato is of the view that the individuals and state are logically related. It is through the individual that the society emerges. This implies that the individual exists before the state, as the state radiates the individual constitution of the citizens. The citizens jointly radiate the qualities of the state. Moreso, the state emerges due to the economic needs of the people. This implies that one man cannot make a state; he needs others to solve his economic needs. He needs the artisans, the cooks, the dry-cleaners, the doctors, the lawyers to help him out in various ways or he cannot be all these at a time. This network of economic relationship and interaction brings about the formation of a state. Apart from these, wars have their root in passion, desires which are the most fruitful source of evils both to individuals and state7. To settle the war, we employ the tripartite nature of the soul as divided by Plato. They are: craftsmen, representing the appetitive element, the guardians representing the spirited element and the ruler representing the rational element.

For Aquinas, the state is a natural institution. It is obtained from the nature of humanity8. Unlike Plato, who holds that humanity’s needs are not only natural and material needs, they also have a super-natural ends. He stated that the state can be explained in terms of God’s creation comprising the state and the church. The church comes into play here in order to help man attain this ultimate goal. Left alone, the state is not equipped for this. The state needs to meet humanity’s social nature. It secures the common good by maintaining the peace and controlling obstacles to the good life. This function of the state in controlling obstacles to the social life is the point of connection between the state and the church; the state is under the control of the church.9This does not make the church a super-state.

According to Rousseau in his book, the social contract begins with the oft-quoted line “man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains” (49)10. He started by describing the state of nature. He sees the state of nature as that in which every person is independent. No one depends on the other for his well-being. A geometric progression in the growth population made people to invent social contract. This invented social contract brings about all sorts of vices.

Social contract came about the need to find a form of association which will defend and protect the whole common force the person and goals of each associate and in which each, uniting himself with all, may still obey himself alone. It is the total alienation of each associate joined with all his rights to the whole community. He gave the reason why people should obey the laws of government as contained in his book; ‘social contract’. What can make it legitimate and not how the change evolved is of his interest. This he explicates further,

The really condition of man eludes empirical investigation. Our interpretation, therefore, must take the form of a hypothetical account11.

According to him, man in the state of nature does not need social attachment and moral qualities. He is motivated by ‘amourde soi’ a natural sentiment. Which is directed by pity and reason gives rise to humanity and virtues. Man has also the reasoning power, free-will and capacity to become better. Man is faced with the task of procuring the means for his own continuous existence and as with the other species; they were guided in this effort by the instinct12.

Due to the increase in the number of people in the society, social bond is developed. The acquisition of private property is also introduced. Man begins to look for what he calls ‘mine’. The natural sentiments are replaced with the artificial sentiments (amour proper). This produces injustice and all sorts of evils. An individual begins to make for himself more than he needs.  Intense and unhealthy competition is inevitable under this condition. The political society is established as a solution to the societal ills. It is established through the contract or agreement to guarantee equality and protection for all.

1 P. Edwards, (ed.), The Encyclopedia of philosophyvol.7, (New York: Crowell Collier and Macmillan, Inc., 1967), P.466.

2 S. E. Stumpf, Philosophy, History and Problems (New York: fourth Edition, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1994), P.233.

3 Ibid. P. 233.

4 S. P. Lamprecht, The Moral & Political Philosophy of John Locke, (New York: Russell & Russell inc., 1962), P.133.

5S. E. Stumpf, P.225.









TITLE         …      …      …      …      …      …      …      …      …      i

CERTIFICATION         …      …      …      …      …      …      …      …      ii

DEDICATION     …      …      …      …      …      …      …      …      iii

ACKNOWLEDGMENT         …      …      …      …      …      …      …      iv

TABLE OF CONTENTS        …      …      …      …      …      …      …      vi

INTRODUCTION         …      …      …      …      …      …      …      …      ix




1.1 Plato’s biography    …      …      …      …      …      …      …      1

1.2 What is a State?       …      …      …      …      …      …      …      3

1.3 Theories of the Origin of the State        …      …      …      …      …      6

1.3.1 The Divine Theory         …      …      …      …      …      …      …      7

1.4 The Social Contract Theory        …      …      …      …      …      …      8

1.4.1 Thomas Hobbes and the social Contract Theory  …      …      8

1.4.2 John Locke and the social contract Theory           …      …      10

1.4.3 J.J. Rousseau and the social contract Theory       …      …      …      11

1.4.4 The Force Theory …      …      …      …      …      …      …      13

1.5 The Natural or organic Theory   …      …      …      …      …      14

1.6 The State: The need of having the state          …      …      …      …      16

1.7 The ideal State: The true state, according to Plato   …      …      17

1.8 Laws: The Ideal way of ruling the people, according to Plato… 19



2.1 The notion of leadership   …      …      …      …      …      …      21

2.2 Mahatma Gandhi, an example of a true leader        …      …      …      22

2.3 Great leaders of history     …      …      …      …      …      …      24

2.4 Qualities of a good leader  …      …      …      …      …      …      26



3.1 Leadership; Nigeria style   …      …      …      …      …      …      30

3.2 Executive lawlessness       …      …      …      …      …      …      33

3.3 Election and political instability …      …      …      …      …      37

3.4 Religious crisis                  …      …      …      …      …      …      …      39

3.5 Economic crisis        …      …      …      …      …      …      …      44




4.1 Education       …      …      …      …      …      …      …      …      49

4.2 The philosopher king        …      …      …      …      …      …      …      55


5.0 Evaluation and conclusion          …      …      …      …      …      …      60

BIBLIOGRAPHY                   …      …      …      …      …      …      …      64



Plato was a writer, a thinker and a teacher. He stands with Socrates and Aristotle as one of the shapers of the whole intellectual tradition of the West. “He came from a family that had long, played a prominent part in Athenian politics, and it would have been natural for him to follow the same course. He declined to do so, however disguised by the violence and corruption of Athenian political life, and sickened especially by the execution in 399Bc of his friend and teacher, Socrates.”[1]

Plato sought a cure for the ills of society, not in politics, but in philosophy. It is because of this political instability in Athenian society that Plato wrote his famous book, “The Republic”, and arrived at his fundamental and lasting conviction that those ills would never cease until philosophers become rulers or rulers become philosophers. He believes in the “ideal State”. To Plato, it seemed natural that competence should be the qualification for authority. The ruler of the State should be one who has the peculiar abilities to fulfill that function. Looking at history, the world can boast of some rulers who had natural competence, rulers who are philosophically inclined and these same rulers gave a good account of themselves when they ruled. Some of these great rulers are Odumegwu Emeka Ojukwu, Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Martin Luther King Junior of America, Mahatma Gandhi of India, kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe of Nigeria, Leopold Sedar Senghor of Senegal, Ken Saro Wiwa etc. These great men of history distinguished themselves as prominent and reliable personalities during the difficult periods by helping to bring under control, moments of hardships and difficulty. During the most difficult moment for the Igbo’s (Biafran War), Sir Odumegwu Ojukwu stood as a giant between the poor and helpless Igbo’s and their armed enemies. He left everything he owed, believing to die for his people. Nelson Mandela of South Africa showed what is takes to be a great leader, by choosing to be on the side of his people, and remain in prison to being on the side of the enemies, and becoming free.


Taking a look at the situation in Nigerian politics, it seems that we (Nigerians), like the Athenians, are faced with the same leadership problems. Our today leaders have proved to be incapable and philosophically uncritical. This has seriously affected us negatively both socially, politically an economically. With Plato’s Republic, all hope is not lost on our political leaders. Since Plato’s Republic was written in order to arrest the political quagmire in Athens, we hope that Nigerian leaders will become philosophers. “Plato’s idea of rulers becoming philosophers or philosophers becoming rulers is a positive idea.”[2] It has helped towards the development and liberation of many countries like Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, India, etc. He had through his Republic, saved many societies, countries, from difficult moments or early extinction. It is highly commendable. Plato, through the Academy, which he founded, trained young men who are to be philosophically sound, so as to be qualified to become future philosopher kings.

[1] Plato, The Republic, Desmond Lee, Great Britain, Haze Watson pub. Ltd.1980, p. 1

[2] Ibid p.







(A Dialectical Inquiry)


Title page……………………………………………………………………….




Table of contents…………………………………………………………………….



1.1       Statement Of The Problem……………………………………………………

1.2       Purpose And Scope Of The Inquiry…………………………………………..

1.3       Method Of Research………………………………………………………….

1.4       Literature Review…………………………………………………………….



2.1       The Historical Evolution Of Globalization…………………………………..

2.2       Globalization In The Contemporary Era……………………………………..

2.2.1   Concept Of Globalization…………………………………………………….

2.2.2   Basic Features Of Globalization……………………………………………..

2.2.3   Current Framework Of Globalization………………………………………..

2.2.4       Major Instruments Of Globalization…………………………………………..

2.2.5       Key Players In Globalization………………………………………………….



3.1       Contextual Understanding Of Development…………………………………..

3.1.1   Concept Of Development……………………………………………………

3.1.2   Concept Of Underdevelopment……………………………………………..

3.1.3   Concept Of Sustainable Development………………………………………

3.2       Africa’s Development In History……………………………………………

3.3       Stages Of Imperial Influence On African Development…………………….

3.3.1   Slavery In Africa…………………………………………………………….

3.3.2    Colonization In Africa………………………………………………………

3.3.3   Neo-Colonization In Africa…………………………………………………



4.1       Impacts Of Globalization On Africa…………………………………………..

4.1.1   Positive Impacts Of Globalization…………………………………………….

4.1.2   Negative Impacts Of Globalization…………………………………………

4.2       The Implications Of Globalization To Sustainable Development In             Africa……………………………………………………………………….

4.2.1   Economic Implications………………………………………………………………

4.2.2   Political Implications………………………………………………………………..

4.2.3   Social Implications………………………………………………………………….

4.2.4   Cultural Implications………………………………………………………………..

4.2.5   Environmental Implications…………………………………………………..



5.1       Globalization With A Human Face……………………………………………

5.2       Africa’s Self-Determination…………………………………………………..








Human quest for sustainable development can be traced back to the very onset of human existence.  This explains why human history is replete with various attempts by man to better his conditions at various points in time.

In our own time, this noble quest has assumed a more generic status in an attempt to transform the whole world into a global village, where humanity would share a common developmental experience.  This emerging global order, known as Globalization, is a continuous process and no one can claim to possess a full knowledge of its dimensions or even to exist outside its influence.

While its proponents have stressed the opportunities and benefits of this phenomenon, there is also increasing disillusionment towards it among many schools of thought in both developed and developing nations.  The rationale behind these changing perceptions and attitudes includes lack of tangible benefits to most developing countries especially those in Africa.

Hence, there are myriads of questions that challenge the philosophy of globalization and the authenticity of its numerous claims and promises.  This explains why a critical inquiry into the intricacies of the current globalization process is not only pertinent but also inevitable.


Expectedly, many scholars have pondered and are still pondering on the overall effects of globalization on the entire human race.  These studies are not only necessitated by the controversy hovering around the phenomenon, as explained above, but by the apparent marginalization and increasing impoverishment of its less privileged participants.

I, therefore, wish through an existential inquiry into the dynamics and the philosophical background of the current globalization process, to expose its contents. This would then enable us to extrapolate its possible implications to the quest for sustainable development in Africa.

As a philosophical inquiry, this study would try to analyze the raison d’etre of the current globalization process. My major contention is that sustainable development is all about human beings and business is about ethics.  Hence, the terminus ad quem of globalization should be the holistic development of humanity in ways that are sustainable for people of all races and for all generations.


I wish to employ both expository and evaluative approach to this study.  Thus, we shall delineate the philosophy of globalization vis-à-vis the existential status of Africa. These would serve as the premises for extrapolating the implications of globalization to African development.

In general, the work is made up of five chapters. Chapter one offers a synoptic view of the entire work as well as the views of various scholars on globalization. The second chapter exposes and examines the concept and nature of globalization as it pertains to this study. The notion of sustainable development and its current status in Africa is discussed in chapter three, while the fourth chapter carefully extrapolates the implications of globalization to sustainable development in Africa.  Then, as a finishing touch, the fifth chapter critically evaluates the whole intellectual exposure.

With genuine humility, I do not intend to undertake an exhaustive inquiry into this topic: globalization and African development. Therefore, my research will be in tandem with those already carried out by erudite scholars on the subject.


Globalization is certainly at the heart of the contemporary age as an indispensable factor in its developmental process.  Hence, our effort in this brief literature survey is to explore how some scholars conceive the globalization process vis-à-vis its implications to sustainable development in Africa.

Obviously, many scholars see globalization as a mere economic phenomenon, involving the increasing interaction or integration of national economic systems through the growth in international trade, foreign investments and trans-border capital flow.  However, one can also point to the rapid increase in cross-border socio-cultural and technological exchange as important and integral dimensions of globalization. In this light, Anthony Giddens, a renowned sociologist, simply defined globalization as the “decoupling of space and time.”[1]  He emphasized that through instantaneous communication, knowledge and culture can be shared around the world simultaneously.

This idea is more explicitly portrayed by Rund Lubbers, a Dutch political economist, who defined globalization as

               A process in which geographic distance becomes a factor of diminishing importance in the establishment and maintenance of cross-border economic, political and socio-cultural relations.[2]

In agreement with the afore-mentioned scholars, David Held and Anthony McGrew, in their entry for Oxford Companion to Politics, made a subtle attempt to characterize globalization and its effects on socio-cultural as well as on political structures. They conceived globalization as

               A process (or set of processes), which embodies a transformation in the spatial organization of social relations and transactions, expressed in transcontinental or interregional flows and networks of activity, interaction and power.[3]

Observably, a common denominator here is the optimism of these scholars about globalization. For them, it is a universal process of transforming humanity into a single society or what Marshall McLuhan termed the global village.[4] This transformation, for Henry Alapiki, is usually accompanied by the intensification of universal social relations “which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa.”[5] In fact, Jan Scholte expressed this view more elaborately when he wrote that:

               Globalization refers to processes whereby social relations acquire relatively distanceless and borderless qualities, so that human lives are increasingly played out in the world as a single place … Globalization is thus an on-going trend whereby the world has – in many respects and at a generally accelerating rate – become one relatively borderless social sphere.[6]

While these scholars view globalization from a “social relations” perspective, others emphasize a more specific economic dimension. The tendency here is to view globalization as a rapid increase in cross-border socio-economic exchange under the conditions of capitalism.  A typical representative of this school is Prof. Oyejide who states that:

               Globalization refers to the increased integration, across countries, of markets for goods, services and capital.  It implies in turn accelerated expansion of economic activities globally and sharp increases in the movement of tangible and intangible goods across national and regional boundaries.  With that movement, individual countries are becoming more closely integrated into the global economy. Their trade linkages and investment flows grow more complex, and cross-border financial movements are more volatile.  More importantly, globalization has been created, and continues to be maintained by liberalization of economic policies in several key areas.[7]

However, the anti-globalization schools view the phenomenon as a worldwide drive towards a universal economic domination by supranational institutions that are not accountable to democratic processes or national governments.  Thus, from the perspective of international “political economy,” Aja Akpuru- Aja and A.C. Emeribe argue that:

               The engineering mechanism of globalization remains the revolution in science and technology, particularly as it affects transportation and electro-communication systems.  The net result is the creation of a global village, a single market system, a global factory and a global office.  One result of globalization is grotesque and dangerous polarization between peoples and countries benefiting from the system and those that are merely recipients and reactionaries of the effects.[8]

Against this backdrop, one can rightly adduce that globalization seems to transcend mere flow of trade or social relations to perpetrate some form of economic, political and socio-cultural imperialism. This may imply a sort of donor-recipient polarism.  In this case, globalization cannot be a benign force since it would certainly create a world of winners and losers.  This explains why its implications to developing countries, especially those in Africa, appear to be precarious.

Yet, the pro-globalization thinkers maintain that:

               There is mounting evidence that inequalities in global income and poverty are decreasing and that globalization has contributed immensely to this turn around … The gap between rich and poor is also shrinking with most nations in Asia and Latin America.  The countries that are getting poorer are those that are not open to world trade, notably many nations in Africa.[9]

The basic logic here is that poor countries that have lowered their tariff barriers have gained increases in employment and national income.

Sequel to this, the World Trade Organization argues that “trade liberalization helps poor countries to catch up with rich ones and that this faster economic growth helps alleviate poverty.”[10] Succinctly put, Professor Ron Duncan of the AustralianNationalUniversity argued point blank that:

               Although globalization may increase inequality in some countries, this can be remedied with structural responses.  A rise in poverty among the poorest countries results from their not taking part in globalization.[11]

But are we really to blame the poverty in Africa and other under-developed countries on their abstinence from globalization?  Certainly this is not the view of some thinkers, who maintain that globalization is even responsible for the increasing impoverishment and marginalization of the so-called “Third World.” The most frequently used data are those from the UNDP 1999 Development Report. This report shows that the past decade, the decade of the most intense globalization, has shown increasing concentration of income, resources and wealth among people, corporations and countries.[12]

Situating these findings to the African setting, Yash Tandon, a Ugandan political scientist, argued that:

            Anybody with any degree of intellectual integrity would see that the globalization of Africa or the integration of Africa into the global economy from the days of slavery to the contemporary period of capital-led integration has on balance of costs and benefits been a disaster for Africa, both in human terms and in terms of the damage to Africa’s natural environment… it is also a measure of their (World Bank/IMF officials) intellectual dishonesty or ideological brainwashing that they cannot see the connection between globalization and Africa’s poverty.[13]

This judgment is in indeed harsh, but it seems to represent the views of many thinkers. For instance, Obiora F. Ike, a theologian and social philosopher, affirms the veracity of this judgment when he questioned and answered thus: “Is globalization good for Africa’s future? Not at all.  I would argue that its present form has been exaggerating the gap between Africa and the so-called developed world.”[14]


Thus, Mbaya Kankwenda, a Congolese scholar, concludes that:

            Globalization has a strong dogmatic and doctrinal dimension.  In this respect it concerns the globalization of market fundamentalism and its paradigm, which in reality is nothing but the keeping in step of developing countries, hence Africa, taking the continent as an object rather than a subject and partner.[15]

This is why he considers the globalization of Africa as a forced insertion into the global community through developmental aid conditionalities, resulting in harsh economic and political reforms in Africa.

Surely, the Church is not passive to the dialectics of globalization since it sees humanity as a single family.  Thus, in Centesimus Annus the church opines that:

            It is necessary to break down the barriers and monopolies, which leave so many countries on the margins of development and to provide all individuals and nations with the basic conditions, which will enable them to share in development. (Centesimus Annus, no. 35).[16]

This view was expressed in the caveat by Pope Benedict XVI (while a cardinal), that: “The economic inequality between the northern and southern hemispheres of the globe is becoming more and more an inner threat to the cohesion of the human family.”[17]The danger of this threat is already portrayed in the new forms of terrorism in the international arena, which paradoxically are the products of, as well as a problem to globalization.

However, the Church appears to be very optimistic about the possibility and advantages of globalization, since its dangerous tendencies can be easily eschewed.  Thus, in his 2004 World Day of Peace Message, Pope John Paul II repeatedly stressed the fundamental but very simple principle that must guide all our reflections on globalization. According to him,

            Humanity, however much marred by sin, hatred and violence, is called by God to be a single family … this recognition can give the world as it is today – marked by the process of globalization – a soul, a meaning and a direction.[18]

He, therefore, expresses optimistically that: “Globalization, for all its risks, also offers exceptional and promising opportunities, precisely with a view to enabling humanity to become a single family, built on the values of justice, equity and solidarity.”[19]In this way, the Church addresses the question of globalization and its effects on the unity and sustainable development of humanity.

As can be deduced from the above expressions, the Church is especially concerned about inequalities as well as the alienation of individuals and communities from economic and social progress.  Indubitably, these seem to summarize the major predicament of Africa in the current globalization process.

To this extent, we have tried to highlight the views of various schools of thought on globalization vis-à-vis its impacts on Africa. Certainly they contribute to our understanding of the phenomenon.  Yet, it is obvious that more elucidations are still necessary for us to appreciate the existential implications of the current globalization process towards sustainable development in Africa.  This will be our pre-occupation in the subsequent chapters










It is in the nature of man as a social being to live together in a community. But, to achieve his utmost fulfilment, man desires to live in peace and harmony with his environment, persons and things alike. Hence, every nation continues to search for a workable system that would permit her citizens to live together in peace as much as possible. It is this quest by man for harmonious living that Rousseau addressed in his Social Contract, which he also refers to as: ‘the Principles of political right;’ a living reality which must be found present wherever there is a legitimate government.  This living reality according to S.E. Stumpf, is the fundamental principle underlying a political association; this principle helps to overcome the lawlessness of absolute licence and assures liberty, because people willingly adjust their conduct to harmonise with the legitimate freedom of others.1

By this Rousseau seems set to present a prototype for all legitimate governments, which when conformed to, the sky would be the limit of the political freedom, liberty, equality and rule of law to be witnessed therein.  And even Rousseau emphasised that no demarcation should exist between morality and politics. On this statement is hinged the belief that Rousseau inspired the French revolution of 1789.

However, the theory of social contract is so important in social and political philosophy that it did not start from Rousseau. Political philosophers like Plato, Hobbes and Locke had used it to situate the origin of the civil society.  Plato holds that the origin of the state is a reflection of people’s economic needs; “a state comes into existence because no individual is self-sufficing; we all have many needs,” there must, therefore be a division of labour.2  Thomas Hobbes in his Leviathan says of people giving up their rights of governing themselves, to this man or to this assembly of men, who undertakes the function of protecting man from the strife and war of the state of nature, which he says leaves “the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”3 On the other hand, John Locke talks of man uniting into a commonwealth and placing themselves under government, for the preservation of their property. ‘Property,’ here in Locke’s thought refers to ‘lives, liberty and estates.’ 4

Rousseau prefers to take a middle position on the thoughts of his predecessors.  He presents the problem of social contract as not simply to find a form of association, which will protect the persons, and goods of each member.  But also to find an association in which each member will still obey himself and remain as free as before.5  This point brings out the reason why the peoples’ consent becomes important in major decisions affecting them.  Thus, Rousseau summarises the essence of the social contract in these words:

Each of us puts his person and all his power in common under the supreme direction of the general will, and, in our corporate capacity, we receive each member as an indivisible part of the whole.6

The general will he referred to is the will of the “Sovereign”, where the sovereign stands for the total number of citizens of a given society.  Such being the case, the general will of the sovereign is the single will, which reflects the sum of the wills of all the individual citizens.

Now, the thoughts espoused by Rousseau in his social contract have some affinity with the principles of democracy, especially the use he made of the general will.  These principles of democracy are distinctly shown in the definition of democracy, given by the Chambers Twenty-first Century Dictionary as ‘a form of government in which the people govern themselves or elect representatives to govern them.’7 Obviously democracy means rule by the people, the common people. A state of society where freedom for the people, justice and equality of rights and privileges; both political, social or legal equality are recognised.

Similarly, these principles of democracy are clearly enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Hence section 14(1) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria declares it thus; “The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be a state based on the principles of democracy and social justice.”8  Further, same section 14(2a) of the 1999 constitution declares, “Sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this constitution derives all its powers and authority.”9 And section 14(2b) has it that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.”10

However, the factual experience of the Nigerian democratic practice for three good republics now, betrays the fact and makes the constitutionalised principle a huge hoax. The principles of democracy have been completely distorted and misrepresented.  It was as if Franklin Roosevelt had Nigeria in mind when he talked about people being fed up with a democracy that breeds unemployment, insecurity, hunger and hopelessness.  Nigerians have continued to wait to no avail for the dividends of democracy.  The present dispensation leaves no light at the end of the tunnel.

Thus, in this work the researcher hopes to make some deductions from the social contract theory of Jean Jacques Rousseau, and apply them to the Nigerian Democratic process. The aim is to effect a re-direction of our deceptive democratic principles and engender proper implementation of democracy in all its facets.


The democratisation process in Nigeria since independence has remained nascent in every republic; its practices and processes have remained new, strange and fresh, and in most cases have always ended up in confusion, frustration and chaos. What has continued to go wrong? Ray Ekpu succinctly captures the situation in his article the “End Justifies the Means,” when he said: “…the ingredient standing between Nigeria and greatness is leadership… As far as politics and leadership are concerned Nigeria is still a psychiatric case due in part to the haemorrhage inflicted on it by most of its leaders.”11 True to fact, Nigeria’s forty-five years of independence have seen various administrations, military and civilian, all of which can be described as having struggled to make Nigerians strangers in their own land.

Worse still, despite the huge financial resources claimed to have been expended on the overall administration of the country and the provision of amenities, the socio-economic and political situation in the country have deteriorated almost irredeemably.  While political office holders only scramble for public resources, infrastructures are completely neglected, inflation is galloping, civil servants and pensioners are owed their entitlements for several months, unemployment has almost reached unmanageable levels, and poverty remains a menace people must face.

It is on this backdrop that intelligent observers would agree that the first forty-five years of our independence have been, even as S.G Ikoku has put it “a monumental failure.”12 What we experience now is the rule of minority instead of the rule of majority, which is the true principle of democracy. Evidently, Nigeria is not practising any “true” democracy. At best what we have is “deceptive” democracy.  This essay proposes to tackle, some of these problems.


1.3            PURPOSE OF STUDY

The researcher was spurred by the words of the Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka; when he said that: ‘the man dies in all who keeps silent in the face of tyranny.’13  Thus, this work seeks to diagnose the political arthritis and democratic rheumatism that have bedevilled Nigeria since independence, and attempt a treatment with the deductions or implications drawn from the Social Contract of Jean Jacques Rousseau.

1.4            SCOPE OF STUDY

There is no doubt that Jean Jacques Rousseau has several works to his credit, but the concern of this work is the social contract (of 1762).  The context of study would be limited to the Nigerian democratic experience.

1.5            METHODOLOGY

The method of approach employed in this work is philosophical, expository, and evaluative. More so, narrative technique is adopted by the researcher to bring to limelight, the condition of Nigerian democratic experience since independence.

1.6            DIVISION OF WORK

The Work is divided into five chapters.  Chapter one gives a general introduction of the essay, the statement of the problem, method used, scope of study and purpose of study.  Chapter two exposes the social contract theory of Rousseau, while chapter three takes care of the Nigerian democratic practice.  Then, chapter four brings chapters two and three together in a general analysis.  At last we shall conclude with critical evaluation and conclusion in chapter five.

1 S.E Stumpf, Philosophy: History and Problems, 5th edition (New York: McGraw-Hill Inc., 1994), p. 296.







Since time immemorial, people have held the view that men are superior to women. This vision of male supremacy is clearly reflected in all traditional families and societies to an extent that even women were made to accept that they are inferior nature.
Over centuries, men and women have so internalized this culture of male supremacy, that even when a woman is known to be in possession of the actual power, especially in a family where the woman has the economic power the man would still be expected to assert his authority proudly as the captain of the family ship and the Lord of the society. From the above background men by nature cling to authority and learn to lord it over women.
Meanwhile, the awareness of certain biological advantages like physical force convinces men  that they are endowed with supremacy nature and the right to control women to their own advantage.
In early time, men used because of their intellectual capabilities to justify their supremacy. One of the most influential defence of men is to be found in Aristotle’s writings, where he argues for the justifiability of slavery and the domination of women. Using the analogy of the soul and body, Aristotle argued that men are born to rule women, just as the soul which is superior rules the body and reason rules passion, men should rule woman. For Aristotle, “the male is by nature superior; and the female inferior ; and the one rules and the other is ruled”
Aristotle was making his argument from the point of ancient biology, he felt free to universalize the inferiority of women. In another instance he went further saying that women represent a defaced human nature. The female he argued is “a mutilated male”
The topic “feminists critique on Aristotle’s gender perspective” is really apt within the global crusade for women liberation and empowerment. This crusade can be seen both in the civil societies  and among individuals. The core question is should women be treated as persons with right, dignity and voice within the community? They should be acknowledged as citizens members of the civil society. In recent times, there has been an incessant cry on the plight  of women  in the society, due to this cry that some feminists took as a duty to fight for the unhealthy treatment of women which was traced right from Aristotle’s writings.
Aristotle was born in Staigeira in 384 B.C His father was a physician and it was no doubt from interest in biology. At the age of seventeen, Aristotle went to Athens to study and there he joined Plato’s academy and remained for over twenty years a pupil of Plato, studying  under him in the academy. After Plato’s death, Aristotle left the academy and began to develop his own philosophy. He eventually founded his own institution, the lyceum, where he lectured and carried out a lot of scientific research. The members of this school frequently help academic discussions while walking up and down on ambulatory, and this earned them his name peripatetic, and the school became known as the peripatetic school. Aristotle’s main interest beside philosophy was in the empirical sciences, especially biology. Aristotle was invited to Macedon in 343 B.C by Philip, King of Macedon to educate his son Alexander who was then about thirteen years old. Aristotle thus became the tutor of the Alexander the Great.
Aristotle wrote books on a variety of subjects, logic, physics, metaphysics, ethics, politics, psychology, biology, Aesthetics and Rhetoric. His works on logic are collectively known as Organon, those on physics include De Caelo and De Generatione et corruptione. His works on psychology include the De Anima and biological works include his History of Animals his famous work metaphysics is a collection 0f lectures that were considered difficult to understand. His works on Ethics include the famous Nichomachean Ethics and Magna Moralia. His politics was based on a study of 158 different constitutions including the constitution of Athens.
Some men up till recent times have not found the situation of women’s predicament as a problem. They are in most cases not concerned with the plight of women. Even in learning about women, men are not interested, they have accepted this situation as normal and any contrary situation is considered as abnormal. Women are valued in most cases only for their outward appearances and services they render to men’s passions. It is worthy noting that the women who suffer this unhealthy treatment are our mothers, sisters, in-laws, wives and daughters.
The courage for this topic came from two sources, the first is the personal experience of how people ignore women and regard them as inferior to men and a belief that it is important to seriously what people have said about women. Women are still in many places treated as non persons, inferior, second class citizens and weak gender. The second source was an increasing awareness of and interest in what seemed to be some central tensions in feminist thinking and in the relationship between these tension and philosophical theories.
I am to explore some of these tensions and in particular to look at these which centre on the idea of a specifically female philosophical  perspective. Women have wanted autonomy and have appealed to philosophical theories to express this, but some women have also argued that many conceptions of autonomy are male defined. They have wanted equality with men and have fought against their exclusion from theories put forward by men and my journey in this topic is to make necessary effort to identify and discuss what seem to me to be central tension in feminist thinking and the way in which these have involved both a use and a critique of philosophical theories against gender equality.
In this work emphasis will be based mainly on certain violent practices committed against women especially African women. Some of the various ways in which women have suffered violence will be explored both from the societal circle and that of the individual.
The method to be employed in this research work be expository, evaluative and practical. On expository part, I shall expose some of men’s actions that affect women physically and psychological. It will be evaluative, since  I am going to evaluate certain tensions in the feminists thinking and the relationship between these tensions and philosophical theories.  Finally, it will be practical since some research work is experimental and deals with the observable facts of our daily life as Africans.
Meanwhile, this work is divided into five chapters; in chapter one, general introduction on the nature of the work. In chapter two, literature review on the topic from different philosophical theories. In chapter three, Aristotle’s theories on soul and body as an analogy used in as position of women and men also in his theory of  women and slavery, in the subsection of the chapter, the effect of the above theories on women. In the fourth chapter is the ideology of feminism and types of feminism, also in the subsection of the chapter, is strategies for justice on women. Lastly, in the fifth chapter is the evaluation of the whole work and conclusion of the whole work.










1.1     The concept “Man”

Man by his very nature is an inquisitive being. The innate desire, says Aristotle, is both for pragmatic motives and for the sake of knowing. Man wants to know and conquer the realities around him and beyond him. But has not been able, even to unveil the mysteries of his own being “existence.” These various obscurities of man to himself, varied concepts and images of man have been presented according to various ages as below.

1.1.1 The Ancient Notion of Man

The Greek philosophers, interpreted man from ontological perspectives Democritus and other atomists conceived man as wholly composed of atoms and matter. Man is a material reality and possesses characteristics such as singularity, individuality, and concreteness in its being. It is universal and abstract in its qualities.

Plato, the scribe of Socrates on the other hand laid more emphasis on the spiritual aspect of the being man. For him, the soul pre-existed the body before its union with the body. According to him, the soul pre-existed in the world of forms before it came into the world where it got imprisoned in the body, a vessel and from within this prison exercises its activity.

For Aristotle, however, man is the only being that has rationality: he reasons, deliberates, imagines etc and so is the only being, animal that possesses the soul, which is in the form of the body. He writes:

Man is a soul. The soul has two parts: the rational and the irrational. The rational soul has the power of scientific thought. The reason is capable not only of distinguishing between different kinds’s of things, which is the power of analysis. It is able also to understand the relationships of things to each other, able to deliberate and discover as well the guides for human behaviour.1

Irrespective of the fact that, no universal concept has been accepted, even the notion of science that man is a machine. Moreover, that man is a composite of cells predetermined by genes. This Aristotelian solution proves most satisfactory.

1.1.2 The Medieval Notion of Man

This is the period of the confluence of philosophy, and theology but more theologically dominated. The Christians, interpreted man as coming from God. For Augustine, because man is unique and unrepeated, he sees him as single specie. Boethius helped him by completing that concept to differentiate man from other animals such as rats, goats etc. For Him, man is not only an individual person but also a rational being. He said; The person is an individual substance of rational nature.2

For Aquinas, man is a rational subsistent. He is composed of body and soul in his capacity as a “physical substance.”3 He has his highest capacity in the intellect and this makes him a rational animal or a “subsistent rationale” (a rational subsistent).

Gaurdini in his elegant thought saw man as an autonomous being that decides for him. His notion about man is:

Person means that I, in my being definitively cannot be in habited by any other, but that in relation to me, I am only with myself, I cannot be represented by another, but I am guaranteed to myself.4


1.1.3 The Modern Notion of Man

Anthropomorphism rules this period. Here man is seen as man and later on, as a Supreme Being. He is the measure of all things. It is based on the gnoseological phase since it is all about psychological perspectives.

Descartes, the rationalist posited that there are two separated substances: the res cogitans et res extenza – The mind and body or the spiritual and corporeal. He says man cannot be composed of mind and body as in the scholastic sense but rather that the mind makes use of the body, as a pilot, would the Plane. He concluded, therefore, that man is the mind. His idea should not be accepted since the mind needs the body to actualize its activities hence function well.

Freud, thought man, the true “I” to be the subconscious. For in the subconscious, the requirements of the society and the subconscious meet.

1.1.4 The Contemporary Notion of Man

This is the period of dialogical concepts. It attacks vehemently the Psychological and ontological theories of man. Mounier, in his essay “le personalisme” (personalism) condemned the psychoanalysts, idealists and the Empiricists, who maintained either the concreteness or the spiritual substance of man alone. Rather, he embraced incorporate existence or incarnate existence of thought and body.

Other concepts are analyzed thus: economic man (Marx), existent man (Heideggar), symbolic man (Cassirer), Utopic man (Block), Problematic man (Marcel), Cultural man (Gehlem), A thinking reed (Pascal), An image of God (Origin), Will of Power (Nietzsche), Anguished man (Kierkegaard)5 etc.

We say then, that whether Psychological or ontological, all human beings whether, he or she, white or black, Christian or Moslem, is globally a person made up of four indubitable fundamental elements: autonomy in being, self-consciousness, communication, and self-transcendence. He is free and social. In communication, he intersubjectivises with others in correspondence to love, friendship etc. In self-transcendence, he climbs the ladder of God. He meets the real absolute and eternal.

Nonetheless, Man as man, as Higgins formulates, means nothing less than the fact that man is also a moral being. He summarized man by the means of Aristotle’s four causes: the material, formal, efficient, and final causes. These four causes make the boldest attempt at satisfying every branch of study that claim to have the concept man. Higgins sees man, in Aristotle’s sense, as a unified whole, a complete substance formed by infusion of two widely differing constituents. One of this is the material element, the undetermined and determined part of him-his body.

…by union with a formal or determined cause, this material element put life into a human body, of which its end is a rational animal. This formal cause or soul is a life principle, the absolute, internal reason where man performs his vital action.6

As for theologians, the efficient and final causes may be regarded as indispensable aspects of man. Augustine (St.), for instance believed that our souls will never rest until, they find rest in Him from whom they come.

1.1.5 Igbo Notion of Man

In every age, every culture around the world has a certain picture of man, vis-à-vis his essential nature.

Conceptually, the Igbo equivalent meaning for “man” is “mmadu.” Dr. E. M.P. Edeh gives an analysis of the concept mmadu (mma-di), meaning “good that is.”7 Implying that he shares in the being of his maker, the highest good (God).

Another school of thought gives the analysis of “mmadu” as “mma-ndu,” “the goodness of life.” Here, the concept “the good” is a quality associated with man. He is considered the highest good of all creatures. This concept has a profound implication for the Igbo. If “man” (mma-ndu) is the greatest good,” it follows that for the Igbo, the being of man is an indubitable fact since His life (ndu) is an issue for him (man)8

Concisely, there is one indubitable truth about man:

There is man. He is there, I am here. Man is a man in the world as J.F. Douceel, noted of the trend of contemporary philosophy. Man does not simply live in the world. He also made us live in it.9

Thus he writes:

Man essentially lives in the world that is made up of complex sets of horizons. Man lives in a certain situation in which he can generally not change. It is up to him to assume this situation and make the most use of it.10

The Platonic-Aristotelian notion of man is therefore crucial with regards to the human existential understanding and our discussion that will be made clear as we proceed.

1.2 Body and Soul

The body is one of the elements of man that is naturally sensible and clear in existence. It is the concrete part of man, yet it does not constitute the human reality absolutely. It exists with the soul to make the actual human being. With this fickle nature of the body and soul, we shall look into, the body and soul as a problem; it’s relationship and functions.

1.2.1    The Soul And Body Problem

Philosophy and anthropology have problem on the usage of the term that designates the psychological faculty in man. Anthropology speaks of mind, philosophers and theologians refer to it as “spirit.” For the scientists, it is operational (i.e. the both terms). It is then left to the philosophers, theologians, and scientists to choose the best, concerning the nature and origin of man.

The issue of body and soul, at one extreme is the attempt to separate the human body and soul by the Platonic idealism, using the dualism of Descartes. At the other end is the attempt to reduce the mind and body relationship to animal psychology and behavior giving no acknowledgement to man’s soul as truly spiritual entity. “Neither pure spirit nor brute animal, man is an organic spirit and spiritual organism.11

 1.2.2    Soul and Body Functions

The body performs both external function as walking, talking, hearing, seeing, taste, smell etc and internal activities as biochemistry and the metrics of genetical informations etc. The somaticity of man transcends and develops into nuclear operations. Mondin. B writes; “Man is able to manage his body, train it, and render it capable of performing movement of admirable perfections”.12

He is a symbolic being, which is a sign of life health, vigilance, and command. However, man has some characteristics in common with the animals such as growth, reproduction, movement etc.

Epistemologically, the body is a vital instrument of acquiring knowledge to Aristotle and Hume, it is through the body that the world manifests itself to me and I project myself on the world (Phenomenology).

Lastly, the body is the source of evil and likewise a curse to the soul according to the Platonists and Manicheans doctrines.

1.2.3    The Relationship between the Soul and the Body.

The union of the soul and the body originates as a single being-man. For Aristotle, being soul alone is not man, nor to be body alone but the blend of these two elements. Other supporters of this opinion include; Cajetan, Albert the great, Aquinas and Rosmini. For Hume, their relationship is that of subjective and reflection.

Plato himself says that the soul is identified with the true essence of man. Freeing the soul is a necessary condition to eliminating the body. Other proponents of this opinion include: Spinoza, Augustine, and Descartes etc.

Kant, in his agnosticism rejected all attempts and regarded all soul-body reports as nothing but fallacious. At this point, we say that the soul-body relationship is substantial because the body and the soul cannot operate in isolation. The soul and the body is not a substance because neither the soul nor the body has atoms of autonomous existence or self-initiation. Both of them participate together at the moment of generation. Therefore cannot be identified as a simple accident or a complete substance.


1.3 The Origin of Man

The search for the origin of man dates back to at least the written history of man. This gave rise to some evolutionary theories under Psychological cum biological, scientific, theological, and philosophic thought.

1.3.1    Psychological Cum Biological Thought

In this approach, man (Homo erectus, Homo vivens, Homosapiens, Homo volens etc) is regarded as a unique composite of man and spirit, of body and soul.

For Traducianism, the parents generated both body and soul through the instrumental fission of the ovum and sperm alone. According to it, man originated from a complex structure of molecules called DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid).

On another note, the soul of man has a proximate spiritual source, the soul of the offspring, must be the soul, which must be an emanation of the souls of the parents.

1.3.2    The Theological Thought

According to the theological thought, it is believed the supreme being (God) from whom all things were made and who holds the entire universe in his hands also made man.

Let us make man in our image and likeness; let them have dominion over all other creatures… So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.13

Right down the history, man is an indubitable being that exists in the world otherwise, there would be no history for there would be no man to talk about the past, the present or even predict the future.


1.3.3 Philosophical Thought

According to the emanation theory, human race emanated from some live forces in the world and some great men fashioned by the gods of Pantheon (The Early Greek pyramid text record). Also, the creationists, pictured man to be descendants or rather, products of Gods so that all things come from divine architecture and genealogy – Theory of creationism.

In the 19th century, man was believed to have originated from animals not from gods. An instance is the Darwin’s. “The Descent of man” Here Darwin treated man’s origin and history in the context of animal origins or evaluation. In the evolutionist, theory man is believed to have descended from common ancestors among the primates by natural evolutionary process like isolation, adaptation, natural selection, and mutation.

1 Stumpf, S.E. Philosophy: History and Problems [London: McGraw-Hill Book. CO., 1989], p.96.

2 Mondin B, Philosophical Anthropology,[ Rome: Urbanian Univ. Press, 1985], P.247.

3 Ibid., p.194

4 Ibid. p.250.

5 Ibid., p.21

6 Higgins. T.J.S., Man as Man: The Science and arts of Ethics [Milwaukee: Bruce Pub., Co., 1968],    p.157.

7 Edeh E.M.P., Towards an Igbo Metaphysics,[ Chicago, Loyola University, press, 1985], p.100.

8 Ekei. J.C., Justice in Communalism [Lagos, Realm Comm. Ltd., 2001], p.92.

9 Donceel. J.F., Philosophical Anthropology,[ New York: Sheed and Ward, 1967], p.454.

10 Ibid. p.455.

11 New Catholic Encyclopedia,[ New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., Vol V, 1966], p.671

12 Ibid., p.232

13 Gen., I: 26-27











The concept of freedom is an analogous one, predicated in different ways to beings of very different types. The various forms of attribution depend, to a certain extent, not by defining the same specific content, but by indicating formal relation, which remains the same. This relation can be put negatively or positively.

Negatively, freedom means being free from the relation of not being bound to a given being or law, of being independent from something and of not being determined by a given principle of determination. This negative concept is also a relative one because every finite being belongs to a world and is related to the other being in the world. It may be free from this direct relationship to this or that, but only because their place are taken by others.

A being fully free in the negative sense could not be a being in the world, without relationship fully isolated, it would be based on nothing and be nothing.1

Thus in contrast to the negative, relative concept, there is a positive absolute concept of freedom. A being is positively free in so far as it is in possession of itself and possesses in this relationship the sufficient condition for all its being and relations. Here, freedom means self-possession being completely present to oneself, completely self-sufficient.

According to Maslaw

Freedom is the basic acknowledgment

that the individual is more important

than his society.2

However, human freedom is clearly neither merely negative and relative nor fully positive and absolute. Man has dominion over himself and so also over parts of the world. But he is non-the-less inserted into the world and dependent on the beings he finds himself. The basic mode of human freedom may be called transcendental freedom, which is the fundamental propriety of man by which he alone can say he is.

It follows that man can never be deprived of this transcendental freedom, which is part and parcel of his existence. But its emptiness and importance point on to another mode of freedom. Man is not simply there, he does not simply grow, he has to be, he is a task absolutely imposed on himself he has to decide to be himself or what he will be and there is no way in which he can evade this decision.

This mode is called the freedom of decision or existential freedom. This directly implies freedom of choice since an arbitrary freedom would be no freedom, a man free in this sense, will leave his actions at the mercy of mood whim or chance.

Freedom in general may be defined as

the absence of obstacles to the realization

of desires.3





Freedom! Everybody wants it, it makes a man a human being, poets praise it, and politicians promise or proclaim it. Some people have given their lives to win it for themselves or for others, but what actually is it? St Thomas Aquinas sees it as absence of coercion. Coercion or compulsion bears on the external action and corresponds to the absence of external coercion. This is variously named according to the kind of activity involved.

Thus we have physical freedom, civil freedom, political freedom, freedom of self-realization, freedom of choice, and freedom for self-perfection. Psychological freedom or freedom of choice corresponds to absence of internal coercion, that is the power of the will to will something or not. External is contingent on internal freedom, since the former has no meaning without the latter, but the converse is not necessarily true.

A Survey of Yves R. Simons book ‘Freedom of Choice,’ contrasts to some extent the St Thomas Aquinas notion of freedom. For example he investigated on freedom and voluntariness, and said that  “there is unqualified voluntariness without freedom”4



Man is full of dynamism, and his activities are equally the same. Hence his conception of freedom differs according to their different activities. Man’s activities are not just determined by external factors like a piece of stone that is moved or a computer game that is moved by the pads. It sometimes comes from his awareness of his own freedom and ability to decide for himself. Among all these, freedom still remain verse to comprehend at each moment, but for better apprehension, I will examine briefly the kinds of freedom in the following sequence.

Human Freedom

This is simply a matter of accepting the Universe because you understand its mathematical necessity. This done, you will gain peace of mind, be free from passions and be able to return good for evil. This human freedom implies that man has the natural ability to act at length without being injurious to others.

Freedom Of Religion

Freedom of religion could be identified as the right of a person to have free exercise of religion without compulsion or coercion. He is allowed to worship anything, anywhere, anytime according to the dictates of his conscience. Murray said on his own part that religious freedom is ‘…an immunity from Coercion in what concerns personal relation with God’5

For the authenticity of religion to be realized, many societies adopt freedom of religion.

Freedom Of Choice

This is the principle of action by which man judges freely. Apart from this, Aquinas maintained that freedom of choice is not a habit but a power since it proceeds from man. He called it an election. He compared ‘man’ and ‘animal’ and stated that man acts out of comparism in the reason, while animals acts from natural instinct. Since man acts out of comparism, he acts by free Judgment and equally retains the power of being inclined to many things. Thus man has free choice.

Freedom of choice refers either to the act of the will, or to the object of the will. In the first instance, there is freedom of exercise, in the second, freedom of specification. Freedom of exercise means that the will is at liberty to choose or not to choose, to operate or not to operate. The point to emphasize here is that one is not compelled to act.

Freedom Of Self-Perfection

Here St. Thomas believed and taught that man ought to tamper and train his Soul, and the dignity of man lies in self-mastery. Now, man’s nature is constituted in such a way that reason and will must always guide and direct his actions. In so doing man has self-control, since that makes him a person. Any man who allows passion, money, power etc to overtake him, is not free, since he feels free outwardly, but inwardly remain enslaved to vice, greed, power, pride, and ambition.

Fulton Sheen in his book ‘On Being Human’ maintained that freedom is not gained at once, but a gradual process, which continues until one reaches the peak. Man is not expected to become an angel, but man, which is his ontological vocation, man cannot be perfect in an imperfect world.


Freedom of Self Realization

Each man is a microcosm, in other words, said to be represented in a small scale. He occupies an important and irreplaceable position in the entire universe. He is a being who has a mission in the world. And the achievement of this mission is the realization of himself. Each man is a bundle of potentialities. These potentialities when realized or actualized become the individual’s contribution to development of the entire human family.

Self-realization, according to Anthony Storr is said to be:

The fullest possible expression in

life of the innate potentialities of

the individual, the realization of

this uniqueness as a personality.6

It consists in productiveness, spontaneous activity as opposed to compulsion, love and active solidarity with human beings. It consists in accepting oneself as the bearer of human potentialities and being ready to grow through creative activity. It is the man who uses his powers that answers the fundamental question of his individual existence. Freedom of self-realization is only possible in and through the facticity, which surround each person, it cannot be more than this. They include, height, colour, strength, intelligence, sex, race etc.

Karl Rahner held that:

Freedom is only freedom in the

concrete sense, when all those

freedoms are combined.7

Aquinas on his own part noted that,

Freedom is seen not as independence

from an absolute but as independence

From the relatives.8

In the history of philosophy and social thought, freedom has a specific use as a moral and social concept to refer either to circumstance which arise in the relations of man to man to specific conditions of social life. Philosophical argument about the meaning or the nature of freedom is concerned with the legitimacy or convenience of particular application of the term. Bertrand Russels often held that freedom in general is that absence of obstacles to the realization of one’s desires.


This medieval theologian understood freedom to be the harmony of the will and the act. And the consideration is the divine influence and the will. Implicitly, the relation of harmony, the divine influence and the will is freedom. Hence, a free act is constituted by the assent of the will rather than by the decision of the will. It implies then that this cannot be freedom as self-determination.

The term in Aquinas closest in meaning and usage to the contemporary term freedom, is perhaps liberty9

But for John Locke;

It is to be free from constraint and violence from others, which cannot be, where there are no law10

Freedom may mean absence of constraint and this is what is proper to man. There is no right minded individual who would applaud constraints. Being free from constraint means being free from choice imprisonment.



While we reject the view that man is not free, or that freedom is an illusion, we must not accept the Sartrean exaggerated notion of freedom. According to Sartre in his book ‘Being and Nothingness’, man is absolutely free. Man he said, is condemned to be free and man’s authentic existence is realized to the extent that he makes use of his freedom.

Man is free, yes, but his freedom has to be limited by certain things such as his body, will, environment, desires and passion, pressures from heredity, society etc.

Walter Farrel in his book ‘A Companion to Summa’ vol.iii supported this when he used the analogy of a wild bird beating out its life against the windows of a desolate house into which it has wondered, to awaken pity on us. Also in man, who is confined to a space and who is imperfect and limited, struggling day in and out to be unlimited and free. We find such a situation in the incessant discoveries by science to know if it can give meaning to human life, but what happens, we still experience some sort of imperfection in all these.

Also as a social being, man is limited by his very nature of being forced to be social by nature, he is compulsorily limited to stay where his body permits him to be. The existentialists emphasized this when they said that man as a social being in the world is subjected to the laws of nature.

We should not say that limitation is the essence of human freedom because man’s insatiable tension towards the absolute and good is limitless, rather as an incarnate being, a being in the world, his body which situates him in the world limits his freedom. It then follows that man is not absolutely free, since there are some limitations.


Since freedom is transcendental distance and transcendental spontaneity, it is essentially part of man. But this primordial freedom is still only the basis for existential freedom, the realization of man as person, it is not yet this personal being in actual reality, transcendental and transcendental freedom are actuated only in the decision of the existential freedom for its own essence – as basic form. But R.S. Peters held that:

Freedom means not doing what one wills

without restraints but accepting

the law or the real will of the community.11

It follows that human freedom can never be a simple state of man or a specialized propriety, but neither is it simply the actuation of selfhood, nor pure act without the history like the divine freedom. But on the contrary, human freedom is history by its very nature. Man is wholly claimed by the works to be done and the states to be achieved. He becomes truly a person by going freely out of himself- to throw himself into the work to be done.

Thus human freedom is not a state, as it is in things, freedom from this or that compulsion nor is it as in God a pure act of self-consciousness. Freedom is the history of a person’s coming to himself, which culminates in fully conscious self-possession. In the strict sense, only the individual is with himself, self-possession can be predicted only analogously of a community or a people.

All these p