The meaning of an expression, or relation between words in general language usage is ascertainable if the special use of language is understood. A major criticism leveled against the language of law has been the idea that the language of law is indecipherable and barely understood by those outside the legal terrain. Most of the criticisms range from the alleged incoherence nature of the language of law, the classified nature of the language of the law, and the technical/restricted nature of the language of law. In clearing these bugs of misconception from the eyes of the critics, this work explores various ideas of Wittgenstein in finding appropriate solutions. This becomes the thrust of this work. In showing how Wittgenstein exonerates the language of law from these vilifying attacks, he thought that a word has its meaning only within the context of its use in a language and, its form of life. From his language-game thesis which forms one of the major bedrock in understanding Wittgenstein’s language ideas, one would readily understand that in order to comprehend the language of law, one must participate in the language game of lawyers. This is not a manipulation of language or of words. Participation in the language game constitutes a special way which enables one, within a language structure, and, with the assistance of the rules of the language, to understand the rational core of the designations of certain terminologies and concepts. In connection with law however, participation in the language-game allows one to be cognitive of the normative meaning of such designations.



  1. Background of the Study

Not only does law constitute a language, but a very special kind of language, for it is an attempt to structure the realities of human behaviour through the use of words. Law must pattern human activity in such a way as to allow at least the great preponderance of members of the polity to meet their felt needs and express their most deeply-held values. A legal system must, therefore, provide some means for peaceful change of the patterns of behaviour it enforces so that it can continue, in an orderly fashion, to meet the changing needs and values of those who live under it.

This work brings to light the crucial use of language in jurisprudence. Not only does the use of language crucial to philosophers of law, but in the special respect that lawmakers typically use language to make the law, and courts typically use language to state their grounds of decision. In this regard, philosophers of law need a good philosophical understanding of the meaning and use of language in order to address a seemingly pensive issue in jurisprudence of which the language of law has been adjudged of being too technical, private and secluded from those it is meant to cover. In a bid to address this issue, different philosophers have theorized and brought about diverse opinions and views to assuage this uprising. It was against this backdrop that the researcher, having in mind to remedy the situation, took-on the contributions of Ludwig Wittgenstein; a twentieth century analytic philosopher who arose and made his contributions to the philosophy of language in his two major works; Tractatus Logico Philosophicus and Philosophical Investigations. He made us to know in the latter that: “to understand a sentence means to understand a language. To understand a language means to be a master of a technique”.1 Thus, I would add that being a master of a technique implies being acquainted with the ‘form of life’ that gives rise to such technique. With the above statement from his Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein provided a framework upon which our language must be construed and understood. Having said this, a critical look at Wittgenstein’s conception of language and its implication to jurisprudence becomes imperative, and this is the thrust of this work.

  1. Statement of Problem

The assertion made by David Mellinkoff in The Language of the Law that: “law is a profession of words”2, is not doubtful, but the language of law has been adjudged and criticized of possessing the nature of deceit in that legal contents are not comprehendible to the legal laypersons. To this end, this work aims at exposing and addressing a major issue posed by the critics of jurisprudence as regards its language structure which according to them portrays law in a classified light. Also accompanied by this major challenge includes different questions that may arise such as; what makes an addressee or a client unable to capture the meaning of legal terms and concepts? Are those terms intentionally construed to keep the addressee or the client in the dark? Are they ambiguous that the addressee finds it unable capturing the meaning? Are the words incoherent, illogical, unintelligible, disjointed, indecipherable, or are they just meaningless and full of jargons as posited by many critics of legal language? Having listed these problems, this work will be geared towards ascertaining if Wittgenstein’s conception of language was able to address them.

  1. Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to critically examine Wittgenstein’s conception of language and its implication to jurisprudence, and to show to what extent his contribution have proffered answers to criticisms against the language of the law. In an endeavour to counteract the criticisms against the language of jurisprudence, this study spreads its tentacles to various areas in seeking redress leaning closely on Wittgenstein’s conception of language.

  1. The Thesis of the Study

Considering various efforts put forward by various theorists from diverse dimension in proffering remedy to the criticisms against the language of jurisprudence, this paper defends the thesis that Wittgenstein’s conception of language plays a therapeutic role for the understanding of language as used in jurisprudence and thus, using his language conception, a clearer understanding of law is achievable.

  1. Significance of the Study

The significance of this study lies not alone on the role it will play in convincing and clearing bugs of misconception from the mind of the critics of the language of law, but also in projecting a clearer understanding of law by the scrutiny of its language structure through the all embracing compass of philosophy which according to G. O. Ozumba ‘plays a therapeutic role of curing us of linguistic bewitchment’3. On the other hand, this work will be of much relevance to the academic body in-that it will broaden the students’ knowledge of language-use and how best it applies to jurisprudence. It will also facilitate and equip a researcher with the grundnorms of philosophy of language, and of the language of law..



Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

In Tiv metaphysics, the universe though made up of countless individual beings or forces is unitary and whole. It comprises of two realms of being, the supernatural and the natural. The former is the invisible while the visible is the latter. The natural is a product of the supernatural and it is sustained by the supernatural. This causal relationship necessitates the inbroken connectivity in Tiv metaphysics between the supernatural and the natural realms. The supernatural realm in this context can be likened to the mother who cares for the well being of her child, the natural realm.

In Ieren: An Introduction to Tiv Philosophy, Anshi Wang explained the universe as being “dichotomized into three parts; namely usha the ‘Beyond’ or ‘Above’, the tar ‘surface’ or ‘earth’ and the shin, makuv ‘below’ or ‘beneath the earth’. The usha is the abode of Aondo, the tar for man and other created things (both spiritual and temporal) while the mbakuv or shin is the abode of the physical body of the dead.”1 The usha and the ushin make the supernatural realm while the tar is the natural realm. God, Aondo, spirits of life, adzov and the Mbakuv, spirits of the dead, are spiritual entities or forces. Man, animate and inanimate beings and spirits of life, adzov, live on earth, tar. The spirits of life are invisible to the natural or carnal man but influence man either negatively or positively. However, as pointed out earlier, the supernatural controls the natural, Aondo, God and spirits both living above, in the earth and the ushin, below sustains and controls the activities of man. In fact, there is a necessary interaction among these forces, this does not imply the spirits interfere with human freedom. In his freedom, man is answerable and responsible for all his actions.

God, Aondo, for the Tiv, is a Supreme Being and creator of the entire universe and all that are in it2. Though above, God has revealed his power and precepts to mankind through the spirits of life and mankind must live by these precepts to experience peace, harmony, progress and development in the earth. Failure of man to live according to God’s will as revealed by spirits of life, is failure to experience good health, peace, progress and development. This implies man must commune with spirits before he can tap from the other forces in nature and use them to sustain the ontological order for quality life and peaceful co-existence. This is done by the Tiv elders through the use of tsav. According to Iyo, “the possession of witchcraft was the most powerful means of discipline in the hands of the elders who needed this to sor tar, that is, to exercise authority and power in such a way that political, economic and mystical acivities of the people in a given tar ran smoothly.”3 It is in trying to enhance the ontological order for a more cohesive, stable and developmental society that the Tiv introduced the philosophy of ya na angbian. Literally, it means ‘eat and give your brother’. This connotes what Julius Nyerere confronts in his political system of Ujamaa, which basically revolved around the indigenous practice of African Brotherhood, family Assembly and being your brothers’ keeper.”4 This principle “demands fair and equitable distribution of social and political resources among the various segments of Tiv society.”5 At the same time, it is a “philosophy of fairness and altruism, equity and responsibility.”6

Today, with the coming of the colonialists and the imposition of capitalist system on the Tiv, the ethico-metaphysical setting of the pre-colonial Tiv society has being eroded by the forces of westernization. This has affected greatly the understanding and practice of the principle. The essence of introducing ya na angbian which had to do with the strengthening of unity7 and the holistic development of Tiv society is no longer totally captured in the modern conception of the principle. This is the motivation behind the evaluation of the modern conception of this Tiv philosophy of fairness and altruism, taking into cognizance, the ethico-metaphysical setting of the pre-colonial Tiv society as the basis from which the principle is applied in the socio-political arena today. Looking at its origin and conception, this study will establish in clear terms the true meaning of the principle, pointing out its misconception and shortcoomings.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The contemporary interpretation of ya na angbian places much emphasis on the idea of justice as fairness. But looking at the precolonial conception of this philosophy, it was not just concerned with sharing but sustenance of unity and the realization of the holistic development and progress of the society. This is fundamental and it has become expedient that conserted efforts have to be made to bring out the entire meanng of the principle; ensuring that the principle does not only stress on office distribution or powershift but true service to humanity which is the bedrock of development. In doing so, this study takes into cognizance questions such as: What actually is ya na angbian? Is the philosophy concerned with only sharing or service to humanity? What is the point of departure for ya na angbian as applied in the traditional Tiv society as well as the socio-political arena today? Is it possible for the principle of ya na angbian to be strictly applied today in the allocation and distribution of resources in Tiv land and beyond? Can the philosophy be effective in today’s individualistic society since it originated in the pre-colonial era at a time the Tiv practiced communal mode of production? Can the federal character principle be amended be capture the rotational and zoning philosophy of ya na angbian? Could ya na angbian deny competent people the opportunity to serve? These are some of the questions this study will be considering.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of studying the Tiv philosophy of ya na angbian is to expose, evaluate and project this element of African political philosophy which is fundamental in addressing the problem of corruption, greed, domination, discrimination, nepotism and marginalization not just in Tiv society of today but other similar societies as well. Other purposes of engaging in this study are to: (2) argue in favour of the fact that ya na angbian was an ethico-metaphysical principle in the pre-colonial time and establish the changes that have taken place in the understanding and practice of the principle since the imposition of British colonial rule on the Tiv people. (3)explain the indispensable nature of this theory to contemporary Tiv politics. (4) establish the fact that ya na angbian does not only entail sharing but unreserved and transparent service to humanity.

1.4 Significance of the Study

The study of the philosophy of ya na angbian is important giving that it will brings out the inadequacies in the modern conception of the principle and explain its true meaning and how it ought to be practiced. Ya na angbian postulates a socio-political theory that has relevance all over the world as regards the distribution of leadership positions and wealth and true service to humanity. The theory of ya na angbian which emphasizes equitable and just sharing of power and wealth has the potential of saving the Tiv from prejudice and bias that has bedevilled their corrupt society, particularly in terms of ethno-religious crisis, corruption, greed, self-centredness and marginalization. It will also avert the problem of gross individualism, nepotism and domination by unscrupulous African leaders who see themselves as the only competent people that are qualified to rule in their respective societies. The work will also serve as a source of literature for future research in this area.

1.5 Scope of the Study

This work is restricted to critical examination of the principle of ya na angbian in Tiv social and political philosophy. An expose’ of the ethical and metaphysical background of pre-colonial Tiv society is necessary and so this study seeks to elaborate on the continued relevance of this philosophy and how it has survived the storm of colonial rule and post-colonial developments. We shall also bring out the importance of this philosophy to national politics and sue for its entrenchment in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Other relevant materials to the Tiv philosophy of ya na angbian will also be considered to bring out other perspectives to the understanding of the concept.




John Locke defined property right as right acquired through fixing of property by means of mixing personal labour with natural resources. Locke asserts that what constitutes primary title for property is labour. In the state of nature, a man’s labour is his own and what he mixes with his labour becomes his own. He focuses attention on propounding natural right to property. As man has the right and duty to self-preservation, so has he the right to the means required for this purpose. He argues that God, who gave the world to men in common, gave them reason to make use of it to the best advantage of life and convenience. However, he sets limit to what a man can mix with his labour and convert to his property. For him, the same law of nature that gave man property also sets acquisition limit such that as much as one can use for the advantage of life before it spoils can he with his labour fix as property. The implications of Locke’s position on property right is that if mixing of labour with resources lying in nature is the only criterion for property right then those who acquire theirs through other means such as inheritance, gift, transfer and trade cannot claim any property right in them because they did not mix any personal labour with resources lying in nature to fix them as property. Though, Locke is correct by proposing mixing of labour with resource lying in nature as the condition for property right, it is not the only means of property acquisition. Property can also be acquired through inheritance, transfer, gift and transaction on already acquired piece of property. However, its strength is that it addresses the prevalent social ill of demanding and receiving emoluments without proportional work output.



  • Background to the Study

I had an experience about villages in Umualor community that declare lands which had been apportioned as personal lands communal and began afresh to reapportion those lands to individuals who were ready to build houses thereby depriving the owners who had no fund to start building houses on their own portions where they already have other economic trees their rights to those lands and economic trees. Very often the Government acquires someone’s personal land for construction purpose without compensation in the name of overriding public interest. People, especially widows and orphans sometimes came to my office to complain about having their personal belongings claimed from them by usurpers. These experiences have inspired me to undertake a research on how legitimate property right can be acquired.

One of the problems facing philosophy today is the issue of property right. The problem focuses on property as a general term for rules governing access and control of land and material resources. These rules are disputed with regard to their general shape and their particular application. In the words of Heinrich Rommen, ‘“thou shall not steal” presupposes the institution of private property as pertaining to the natural law’[i]. Consequently, there are interesting philosophical issues about justification of private property ownership despite the opinion of some philosophers. For instance, John Rawls argues that questions about the system of ownership are secondary or derivative questions, to be dealt with pragmatically rather than as issues in ethical philosophy.[ii] Many more philosophers have developed theories aimed at analyzing the problem of property ownership. John Locke is one of such philosophers. He argues that God gave the world to men in common, and gave them `reason to make use of it to the best advantage of life and convenience. There must necessarily be a means of appropriating those resources owned in common some way or another.[iii] In line with this, Frederick Copleston states that Locke is of the view that, though God has not divided the earth and things on it, reason shows that it is in accord with divine will that there should be private property.[iv] John Locke undertook an intellectual excursus on justification of private property ownership.  His theory of property right is built on the nature of property and the nature of the labour. Private property ownership arises from naturally existing resources through application of labour.[v] Labour is both the justification and the means to have legitimate private property. Locke’s theory also seems to place limits on the property acquisition and sets precedence to the ultimate need to protect property by means of governance. [vi] Previous studies on Locke’s concept of property right focused attention on analysis, clarification and evaluation of the concept of property. Little or no attention was paid to articulating its implications in daily life and applying it to specific situations, hence, the need for this study. This project is concerned with issues that relate to this.

1.2. Statement of the Problem

The problem of this study is whether labour can be the only criterion upon which property right can be based. If labour is the only criterion for claiming property right, it implies that inheritance, transfer, mortgage and gift-giving cannot yield property right. On the contrary if inheritance, transfer, mortgage and gift-giving are sources of property right, then John Locke’s assertion that what constitutes title for property right is labour[vii] is not absolute. If this is true, then Locke’s theory can only specify necessary but not sufficient conditions for an individual to become the legitimate owner of an object which has not previously been owned by any individual.  This is the problem which this work sets out to analyze.


1.3. Thesis of the Study

In this work the author sets out to defend the fact that though labour gives right to private property as Locke claims, labour is not the only means of acquiring right to private property. Property right can also be acquired through inheritance, transfer, mortgage and gift.

1.4. Purpose of the study

The main objective of this study was to investigate the implications of labour as the only criterion for property right in John Locke. Specific objectives were to: (i) expose Locke’s notion of property right, (ii) investigate the implications of Locke’s position on property right and (iii) highlight the strengths and weaknesses of Locke’s concept of property right.

1.5. Scope of the Study

This research is limited to an examination of implications of John Locke’s theory of property right. It  is also limited to an intellectual understanding of right to private property ownership and will not in any way lay claim to being exhaustive because learning is an ongoing activity.

[i] Heinrich Rommen, The Natural Law, Study in Legal and Social History and Philosophy, (Indiana: Liberty Fund Inc., 1998), 57

[ii] John Rawls,  A Theory of Justice, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971), 274

[iii] John Locke, Second Treatise of Government, (New York: Everyman’s Liberary, 1978), 129

[iv] Frederick Copleston, A History of Philosophy, Vol. 5, (London: Continuum, 2003), 129

[v] John Locke, Second Treatise of Government, 132

[vi] Frederick Copleston, A History of Philosophy, Vol. 5 130

[vii] John Locke, Second Treatise of Government, 132




                            General   Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study:

The history of philosophy from the ancient times has been battling with what exactly the scope of metaphysics is. This very problem arose from against the understanding that metaphysics is one of the most important branches of philosophy. However, the divisions of metaphysics into two sub- branches, namely: cosmology and ontology goes a long way to show that the very scope of ‘metaphysics’ covers both physical and the non- physical grounds. But it appears that the very etymology of metaphysics as that which is ‘beyond the physics’ has engendered many reactions by philosophers of various epochs. During the ancient period, people held passionately to transcendental dictates and terms, an act which is believed rendered philosophy enigmatic and disinteresting in the later epochs. Philosophers like Anaximander saw a mysterious origin of the universe in the infinite boundless. For him, the world came as a result of a separating off from the vortex motion of the universe1. This infinite boundless actually represented a hardly comprehensible or, better still, a transcendental origin and sustenance of the universe. This super-expression of metaphysics found its way into the later philosophy of Plato and Aristotle who tried to create today what we call the classical metaphysics.

In the thought of Plato and Aristotle, metaphysics was seen as an adventure into the world beyond the sensory perception. Evidently, they believed that metaphysics asks the question of universals and other non-phenomenal realities. Somehow these philosophers made the philosophical world to believe that reality comprised sensory and non-physical natures. But how far these two natures co-operate in making the spatio-temporal world real is a puzzle and indeed a point of departure for the great friends of old- Plato and Aristotle. Worthy of note, however, is that their seeming polemics never suggested diversity of thought but a re-iteration of the same concepts in different parlance using different measures. This quasi split between the philosophies of these classical thinkers still continued down to the medieval period when a need arose for asking the question of the nature of reality again. At this time there arose a need to identify an absolute transcendence, a quest which was heralded by the two classical philosophers; Plato and Aristotle. This absolute transcendent was God.

The Godhead became for the medieval philosophers the metaphysics of metaphysics and since ontology is the heart of metaphysics, God became also Being of beings. The problem of being in the medieval period rendered metaphysics purely religious and abstract. Philosophers of the epoch saw the need to see God in everything, defend God at all cost and build everything around Him. Hence, metaphysics at that time entailed the discourse about the Trinitarian God. This theological philosophy which reared its head into medieval philosophizing extended to the time of the schoolmen. The schoolmen became more interested in the interpretation of the Christianized works of the ancient philosophers who still orchestrated metaphysics as the study of the abstract realities. The implication of this to the realist is that metaphysics studies nothing. With these earlier philosophers, man and his place in the universe was never a thing of interest in their metaphysical thought. Thus, Copland explained that metaphysics at the earlier stages in the philosophy history lacked the human face. This is because the nature of being was never an object of metaphysics as the earlier philosopher believed though enormously2.

Nevertheless, history may not be too compassionate to philosophy for neglecting the very fundamental question which should have been basic the question of being. The issue of being came up, surprisingly not at the modern period which is believed to have had a wind of humanitarianism from the Renaissance period where philosophers like Montaigne in his Essays spoke on the condition of man and the problem of war, but in the contemporary era when the issues of scientific inquiry almost defaced the real nature of things. However the modern period did not go without a great impact on the subsequent epoch. It was during this epoch, that many thinkers reacted against the abstractness of metaphysics even though some philosophers went to extremes into metaphysical nihilism. In a sense some philosophers of these epochs attempted to shot the door against metaphysics as to avoid the ambiguity that goes with it; an act which became evident in the philosophy of David Hume who said that all works of metaphysics should be committed to flames because they are nothing but illusion and sophistory3. But we cannot afford to heed the advice of Hume because that would be too radical for comfort.  We may however see reasons with Immanuel Kant who in his Critique of Pure Reason, brought out the transcendental dialectic wherein he designated a new concept of metaphysics. For Kant,

the science which with all its preliminaries has for its special object the solution to these problems is named metaphysics- a science which is at the very outset dogmatical that is, it confidently takes upon itself the execution of this task without any previous investigation of the ability or inability of reason for such an undertaking4.

The above comments by Kant seem at a glance like an outright critique of metaphysics but a deeper look into his thesis would bring us to the fact that he is trying to prescribe a new pattern for metaphysics which would include an inquiry into reality as it is. Fredrick Copleston seems to understand Kant well in his pursuit as he explained the Kantian position as “explaining the real coverage of metaphysics”. Copleston stated that, according to Kant, “we must acknowledge that metaphysics represents levels of human life which are not catered for by sheer empiricism”5.

Philosophers were set to answer the Kantian call by rescuing metaphysics from the forgetfulness of being which suffuses it. This search for the value of Being brought into the works of contemporary philosophers a solution to the problem of the abstractness of metaphysics. This result was felt most in the philosophy of Martin Heidegger who, through the influence of Husserl’s phenomenology developed a system of ontology which has given a new appreciation to metaphysics.

Martin Heidegger saw in his predecessors’ thought a metaphysics that was foundationless. He accused them of the same traditional abstract problem of their metaphysical thought which balled down to the forgetfulness of being. Having done this, he made some very vital effort restate the foot of metaphysics back to the ground by giving it a foundation which formed basis for any inquiry into existence. This re- instatement was carried on by Heidegger through a destruction of metaphysics (this term spanned through the philosophy of Husserl to Heidegger. Despite his conspicuous silence about the origin of the term in his work, it is evident that he borrowed it from Husserl). This destruction as we shall see later in detail does not have a negative connotation. It is an attempt by Heidegger to reintroduce a foundation for metaphysics and philosophy generally. The above informed his centralization of being in his treatise Being and Time. This centralization has a second motive which was aimed at solving the problem of predication of being which was predominant among his predecessors dating back to Aristotle (see Heidegger‘s explanation of philosophy Being and Time).

Heidegger’s journey into the world of metaphysics started with the ontological deconstruction- a phenomenological analysis of being. To begin this deconstruction, Heidegger designated Dasein. This postulation of Dasein represented his effort to challenge the hierarchical nature of being which seems to have been created in the ontological system from the time of Plato and Aristotle down to the medieval philosophers. Dasein, following the prime understanding, of Heidegger cannot be immediately concluded to be man as many would want to believe but a term used to represent his general concept of being primarily(this idea will be explained in better details in the course of this work). The issue of man as Dasein came up as an attempt to answer the question of being. In order to answer the question of being, there is need for a being that is endowed with consciousness. Dasein of stone, grass etc cannot answer this question since they lack consciousness and thereby the capability to understand beingnss and thus answer the question of being. As a result of this, man as Dasein steps in to fulfill this task of answering the question of being. This discovery led him to the conclusion that.

The Dasein in man characterizes him as that essent who placed in the midst of essents, comports himself to them as such. This comportment determines man in his Being and makes him essentially different from all other essents which are manifest to him.6 


By the above statement, Heidegger projected more understandingly the phenomenological method. This method as invoked by Heidegger is such that the things show themselves as they are to Dasein, which has some sort of presuppositional understanding of them. Heidegger was more interested in how to reach the wholeness of being, having raised the very question of being. This informs his fundamental ontology which is established on this same phenomenological method and thus serves as grounding to other ontologies.

Heidegger’s effort was geared towards making good the seeming in the thoughts of the classical metaphysicians which was a view that the humanity could be thought of in the same way as other things. He did this by transforming the very concept of being from a highly abstract and remote concept into a subject matter of great interest. He, in this way, gave a new and clearer explanation of being as being and other beings akin to it. He saw the place of man in the universe as privileged. We must recall here that one of the problems which Heidegger pointed out was that the earlier philosophers lost the mark by not realizing this very place of man in the universe.

In his explication of this, Heidegger presented ‘Dasein’. Dasein is at the centre of the universe. Being is understood, as a result, by the destructuring of Dasein. Having represented the qualities of Dasein-‘being there’, he went further to find the place of Dasein in the universe. Explaining the nature of man and his place in the universe entailed for Heidegger an acknowledgement of the very great aspect of the human life the aspect of his temporality. The trace of this temporality of Dasein begins with the understanding of man’s nature in the world as ‘thrownness’. Man is thrown into the world.

Finding himself in the world in that manner, man tries to get meaning out this world where he has been thrown. He achieves this by constantly transcending himself. It is in this transcendence that man is meant to come face to face with man’s own-most- possibility- death. This aspect of Heidegger’s work cements his very concept of Dasein’s authentic or inauthentic existence. Man’s authenticity lies in his acceptance of his own-most-possibility- death. This authenticity of life of man is what sums up the ontological deconstruction of Heidegger. Therefore when man attempts to constantly run away from this reality by living the life of the crowd, he lives an inauthentic life.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The interest of Martin Heidegger was to explain being as such, through the explanation of the place of Dasein as the being in the world which has the task of understanding the beings present- at- hand. In doing this, he became prepared to fight back the foot of metaphysics to the ground from the suspension given to it during the earlier periods of philosophy especially during the scholastic period. With the rise of Martin Heidegger in the contemporary epoch of philosophy, the study of ‘Being’ became a centre point in the study of metaphysics. Dasein (which is understood to be to man) becomes the gate way to the understanding of other beings and ‘Being’ as such. Dasein therefore is aware of his being and the possibilities that face him and equally is aware of the other beings.

The knowledge which this Dasein possesses of other beings is through phenomenology which leads Dasein to ‘Aletheia’- truth (this truth is deeper than the normal epistemological truth. We could call his revelation). With this truth Dasein finds himself in the world with his limitedness and temporality. From here one strives to achieve an authenticity which one gains by living an individual life towards death or an inauthentic life of the crowd. The consequences of Heidegger’s thought are enormous. Many psychologists may look at his thought with dismay since he may have failed to recognize the psychological interplay between the body and mind towards death. Some analytic philosophers may be so disappointed at Heidegger’s reductionism. Any way each group of people may have different reactions towards this work of Heidegger on the ontological deconstruction. This work therefore, attempts a study of this ontological deconstruction with a view to answering the following questions:



Chapter One


1.1     Background of the Study

The basic natural impulse of man is the preservation of his existence. What this implies is that man tries to protect his existence foremost before considerations are given to other needs. It means therefore, that he has to live in the first instance, before his essence. This is the primacy of the human existence which, for existentialist thinkers, is what should genuinely engage philosophers. To live or to preserve his existence, man must keep his body nourished by food; and to provide for food means that he must work. This means that he must use his energy to convert what is given in nature to become useful to him.

This work is therefore motivated by the fact that labour which should serve as a human activity that allows man to sustain his very existence has become a tool for self destruction arising from the class divisions, antagonisms and conflicts the appropriation of the products of labour engenders in modern society. This is more so because even though the prodigality of nature has provided man with the basic materials to meet his existential needs, however, the provident of nature rarely exists in forms directly suitable to meet man’s needs. It is, therefore, required of human labour to make nature suitable for his use. And in so doing, in modern terms, society is divided into antagonistic and self destructive classes of those who own only their labour power and those who own the means of production and so appropriate the product of labour and even manipulate the labour power of others.  Why is it so?

Labour is, therefore, what man does to provide food for the nourishment of his bodily needs, to sustain his existence. For this reason, Claude Ake asserts that economic productivity is the primary activity of man.3 If man must live, according to him, then he must work to provide food for himself.

Ake avers that it is the importance of this that is amply reflected in the consciousness of men that they give themselves appellations according to the type of work they engage in: for instance, a teacher is one who engages in teaching to earn a wage to provide for food; a doctor, for a medical practitioner; an engineer; a trader etc. For him, although it is true that man does not live by bread alone, but it is a more fundamental truth that man cannot live without bread. The fact that one is no longer preoccupied by his daily economic needs, he asserts, means that the needs are being met, but that does not, for him, take away the urgency of this need.


It is through human ingenuity from his labour that discoveries are made to provide for his other needs such as shelter, clothing, and so forth, to protect man from the unfriendly conditions of his immediate environment. It is so important and central to man that his life goes beyond just mere subsistence:

Man creates and recreates his entire life. By work, he builds Dams, irrigates deserts and fashions tools, which give him new capacities and new opportunities, for acquiring knowledge. By creating and recreating his economic and other material conditions man also creates culture, history and civilization. Most importantly, he also creates his consciousness….4

Man has also used his labour power to structure his society and establish culture and patterns.

In the history of human society, labour has played the most vital determinant role in social relations. Adam Smith supports this view when he writes in his Wealth of Nations that society tends to benefit more when labour is social; when there is a division in the productive process where one performs functions he is best skilled. He states: “the greatest improvement in the productive powers of labour, the greater part of skill, dexterity, and judgment with which it is any where directed, or applied, seem to have been the effects of the division of labour”.5

It is in this socialization of production that modern societies are formed, and human relationships are fostered; hence labour shape the character of all human societies. Society is often times polarized according to dynamics arising from the relative importance placed on some aspects of labour over others in the production process. Ake notes in the production process, some appropriate the labour of others and benefit from the proceeds which cause the major division between those who own the labour power and those who appropriate the labour power of others.  He adds that:

Everyman is rich or poor according to the degree in which he can afford to enjoy the necessities, conveniences, and amusements of human life, but after the division of labour has once thoroughly taken place, it is but a very small part of these with which a man’s labour can supply him, the far greater part of them he must derive from the labour of other people, and he must be rich or poor according to the quantity of that labour which he can command, or which he can afford to purchase.6

Societies are thus made up of people classed into relations in view of those who sell their labour power for self sustenance and those who use the labour of others for production. This has become a major source of division and conflict in modern societies. The study of the economic structure of society for Ake will make it simpler to understand other aspects of society. He asserts that:

Once we understand what the material assets and constrains of a society are, how the society produces goods to meet its material needs, how the goods are distributed, and what types of social relations arise from the organization, we have come a long way to understanding the culture of that society, its laws, its religious system, its political system and even its mode of thought.7

Ake therefore outlines that the primary cause of the problems in Africa are products of labour relations owing largely to the introduction of capital relations from the Wes

1.2     Statement of the Problem

This study is motivated by the incessant conflicts in the Niger Delta Area experienced by the researcher. These conflicts are even experienced in the wider Nigerian society and in Africa in general. A closer survey of these reveal that these conflicts are engendered by a lack of the basic necessities of life relating to a poor state of social and economic development, in the midst of an abundant resource base in almost all parts of Africa. Conflicts are therefore, products of frustrations resulting from this lack and want of the basic needs of man in Africa. The researcher sees Claude Ake’s conception of labour and the class divisions it brings upon society, which in turn creates constant antagonism and conflicts, relevant to the African experience, hence the choice of this topic as a basis for an understanding of the causes of conflicts in Africa and to proffer ways of resolving them.

Claude Ake defines labour as human effort applied in production for the provision of food for the sustenance of his being. He notes that it is through human labour that discoveries are made to provide for his other needs such as shelter, clothing, tools, and so forth, to protect him from the unfriendly conditions of his immediate environment. Apart from being a means towards the provision of food for the sustenance of his being and the discovery of tools to meet his other immediate needs, labour is also used for the creation and recreation of his economic and other material conditions, he adds. However, Ake notes that contemporary experience reveals that as societies develop and owing to the complexities in the production process, social relations are formed in relation to those who own the, means of production and so regulate the other factors in the productive process, including the labour of others and those who do not. This leads to antagonism between these social groups. While the class of those who benefit from this arrangement attempt to maintain the status quo, the other class struggles to change the existing system. For him therefore, there is an intrinsic link between labour and social relations. Societies are therefore plagued with conflicts and strife between these two antagonistic classes. Ake therefore studies the prevalent social conflicts in Africa and links these to the social relations of production introduced into Africa through colonialism and imperialism.

The question is therefore, what is labour? Of what importance is labour to man?  How does labour engender social divisions?  How do these divisions create conflicts in Africa, in Claude Ake’s conception? How does Ake address the problems of ethnicity, wars, poverty, bad governance, poor infrastructural development, corruption and so on, in Africa and what lesson can Africa learn? The problems which this study sets to solve are,

  1. Ake blames colonialism for some of the social problems in Africa; to what extent is this assertion true?
  2. If Africa’s problems are products of colonialism, what of other nations which were colonized yet they are advancing?
  3. For Ake, Africa’s problems are caused by foreign agents, what role would the Africans play in tackling their problems?
  4. Are there no possibilities of Africans contributing to their problems, considering the fact that direct political control has ended a long time ago in most of Africa?
  5. Is there any possibility of African charting a new course for African development based on the dignity of labour under a harmonious social relation?

1.3     Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to critically examine Claude Ake’s conception of labour and social relations with a view to showing its implications for Africa, especially Nigeria. It is an attempt to (a) identify the meaning of labour in Ake’s social and political philosophy (b) place his conception of labour within the context of social and economic conflicts in Africa (c) argue that within Ake’s thought, the contradictions and conflicts around labour are linked in a fundamental way to colonialism and its impact in Africa, and (d) finally the papers argues that resolving the contradictions generated by colonialism is possible within the context of genuine democratic transformation in Africa.

1.4     Thesis

The study establishes that Ake’s theory of labour and social relations is essentially Marxist in orientation with negative implications for Africa, given the role of colonialism and imperialism in Africa’s socio-economic history.

1.5     Scope of the Study

This work will concentrate on Ake’s thought as it relates to labour and the dynamics of social relations in Africa. While doing this, the contradictions and conflicts of labour and social relations in Africa will be highlighted.

1.6     Significance of the Work

This work will expose in a long way the major causes of social problems and the attendant developmental malaise in Africa, especially, Nigeria, highlighting how they can be addressed. It shall add to the library of existing literature on the subject and also serve as a reference material to scholars for further studies.




This dissertation is an attempt to examine critically the complex nature of; and the ironies of human life wishes in human society. It looks into the seeming absurdity, paradox and contradictions presented by the reality of both determinism and free-will; freedom and destiny of man in his real world with a relational approach. In proffering solution to this paradox as it was made manifest in the lives of Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart, Obi in No Longer at Ease and Ezeulu in Arrow of God, this study showed that man is actively involved in the shaping of his/her life and that life is dynamic; culture is borrowed and shared. It argues that the dynamism of life demands wisdom to cope with it and that only positive and rational adjustment can sustain human destiny/achievements in the reality of cultural dynamisms. Man as an interactive being and a being of influence is subject to change; however, changes should be from lower to higher values. Therefore, it concluded that human freedom and destiny work together as complements not contraries towards the realization of man in his society.



  • Background of the study

The question of the reality of human freedom and human destiny as both drawing from Chukwu or Chineke (God or God the creator) who is also called Ezechitoke – ‘the provident king that apportions lots’ – which is one of the names with which God is addressed in Igbo Obollo dialect, is one of the most fundamental questions of philosophy and a central question in both metaphysics and existentialism. Man is a creature of Chineke; freedom and destiny are Chukwu’s products not man. It is generally believed and accepted that all things derive their existence from God, and so by an original plan proceed from Him and also strive back towards Him. However, unlike other creatures, human beings have reason and they exercise religion. Man knows Chukwu as his origin and goal; his beginning and end and he is fully aware of his inseparable relationship with Him who has released him (man) into the universe. But as a rational being, freedom is man’s highest inalienable quality and right. Man deliberates and takes decision as to what affects his life on earth.

The Igbo believe that man is a composed being of body and soul, physical and spiritual, and determinism and free-will such that his life and existence rest upon two fundamental principles that give vent to his composition. On the one hand, the Igbo believe that Chukwu – God creates, gives and owns life – Chi na-eke ndu, Chi- na-enye ndu, and Chi nwe ndu; and since Chi is both the creator, the giver and the rightful owner of life, man only receives his akalaka (destiny stamped on his palm) from Chukwu and this akalaka admits no addition or subtraction and of no modification whatsoever. Hence, the Igbo say ‘ihe Chi dere na O dego ya,’ – what God has written is written. On the other hand, the Igbo hold tenaciously to yet another principle that says ‘onye kwe, chi ya ekwe,’ – if a man says yes; his chi also says yes. It connotes choice and responsibility and involves man in his quest for a meaning-filled life and happy existence as underscored by Igbo wisdom saying that aka aja-aja n’ ebute onu manumanu, aruo na-anwu – e rie na ndo, and ike keta o rie – all meaning that ‘work precedes eating and enjoyment’. In other words, there is need for a kind of an agreement and co-operation between a man’s ‘chi’- (God/Chukwu’s representative in man) and ‘himself’ representing man’s free-will power towards the pragmatic translation and interpretation of his destiny.  Human life is a complex nature that is punctuated with irony of fate, such that one’s wishes and legitimate aspirations do not depend solely on one for realization. The realizations of these aspirations depend on unpredictable variables which one has no absolute control of; and Chinua Achebe captures this reality vividly in his novels: Things Fall Apart; No Longer at Ease and Arrow of God using Ogbuefi Okonkwo, Michael Obiajulu Okonkwo and Ezeulu respectively.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The Igbo two principles of life: ‘ihe Chi dere na O dego ya’ and ‘onye kwe, chi ya ekwe’ put differently, destiny and freedom of man, present us with a paradox. They try to say that there is force acting upon man and of which man has no control of in his life; yet man is not excused or exonerated as to how his life turns out to be in his worldly existence. This paradox has over the years engaged and divided philosophers into different schools of thoughts as can be found in the idealism, naturalism and compatibility theories in Western philosophical traditions. However, the argument for the Igbo is not whether man is free or not; or whether he is determined or not or whether determinism and free-will are compatible or not; but to what extent or degree is man free to participate and contribute to the shaping of his life and his society. It is to find out the degree of man’s freedom and the co-operation therein that this work sets out to investigate.

1.3 Thesis Statement

This study advances the thesis that destiny and freedom co-exist and work together as complements towards the realization of the human person in Igbo society.

  • Purpose of the Study

This study looks critically at the paradox of determinism and free-will in the Igbo notions of human destiny and the dynamisms of human freedom using Achebe’s novels: Things Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease and Arrow of God.






The Tiv society has morally degenerated; this was observed in the character of some members of Tiv society in their pursuit of basic human needs, which are done to the detriment of self-actualization. The attitude of political leaders and traditional rulers revealed that they sought for these basic needs outside the socially approved bounds thereby triggering violence and destruction instead of ensuring peace and development. Development is based on the values and attitudes of a people, which in turn is derived from the choice of supreme beliefs and values that made their worldview achieve its core value orientations. The refusal of both political leaders and traditional rulers in Tiv land to apply justice in the art of governance for a sustainable peace and social development motivated the need to embark on this study.

There are several efforts by philosophers and non-philosophers around the globe to bring about development that can be sustainable in the nearest future. Some of the areas of interest include: developing the productive capacity of members to cope with ever changing environment for the well-being of the people, stabilizing and transforming human nature in order to provide the needs of members of society, and the ability to synthesize a cordial relationship between science, culture and development. It is with this kind of correlation that the researcher was stimulated to investigate the contributions of metaphysics towards making a difference in the quest to change the status quo of society from an under-developed to a well developed society in which the members will attain self-actualization without hindering the self-actualization of others.


Traditionally, Tiv society was highly integrated, yet communalistic in nature. There was serious respect for values in traditional Tiv society. In fact, such values were manifested in the lives of those who grew to positions of leadership. The traditional leader in Tivland was aware of the need to seek the consent of other members of the society before taking any decision that would affect the general members of the community. The spirit of togetherness was exhibited through communal digging of farm lands, planting of crops, weeding of farms, harvesting of produce etc. In fact, there was the spirit of brotherhood in almost everything that the Tiv person did in society. No one was hurt because he was walking to his friend’s house at night. Children were not considered to be children only to their biological parents. Every adult person was seen as a parent and respected as such. The Tiv society was at this time very peaceful. The family name was cherished, recognised and appreciated. Friendliness, love and trust were values that were highly cherished and celebrated.

But in recent times, the Tiv people have demonstrated by their words and actions that they lack unity. Everyone is thinking of what will benefit him or her. There is an increasing spirit of individualism among the Tiv people. There appears to be lack of the spirit of collectivity. The high level of individualism has manifested itself in the attitude of most political leaders in Tiv land. This degeneration of the value system in Tiv society has created poverty in the land. There are so many cases of communal clashes, backbiting, gossips, armed robbery, child abuse, cheating and killing of innocent people as political opponents. Consequently, the Tiv society has become an epitome of underdevelopment in all ramifications. There is a silent agitation for a better Tiv society, but it appears that no one knows what should be done to improve the human mind, the standard of life and living of the Tiv person in particular and the Tiv nation at large. This is reason point where this study is very necessary as it emphasises the relevance of values such as respect, responsibility, honesty in the minds of the Tiv to serve as parameters for holding leaders accountable in their respective offices.


The major objective of this study is to examine the relevance of metaphysics to development with a view to applying it to the Tiv people of North-Central Nigeria. The other specific objectives include: (i) examine the level of underdevelopment in Tiv land, (ii) examine the extent to which political leaders in Tiv land have contributed to underdevelopment of the area through egocentrism, and (iii) show that an increase in the inculcation of metaphysical values like justice, transparency, accountability, equality, etc., in the art of governance will ensure political stability.


The study provides researchers with new strategies involving the growing relationship between metaphysics and development and how such strategies can benefit those who are dealing with issues of values in traditional societies. The study is an attempt at creating a social construct that would enhance the development of human consciousness and awareness. The theoretical framework that supports this study opens up possibilities for clearer analyses of the influence of a discipline like metaphysics on other disciplines like development, ethics, and politics. It also, provides a unique insight into studying the theories of development that can ensure an integral development of a person.

The findings of this study would assist policy makers to explore ways of empowering youths in traditional societies through enhanced education and wealth creation. The findings would also be a body of knowledge researchers would find relevant as a reference material in terms of improving on research in this field of studies.

The study is targeted at the realization of the self for the sake of reforming the individual as well as transforming the society. This is achieved by helping the Tiv people meet the challenges that the African value system in general and the Tiv cultural value system in particular face, as they lack the needed sparks to stimulate the waves of development in recent times.


This study focuses on determining the place of value in traditional Tiv society. Metaphysics basically deals with values like respect, responsibility, acceptability, honesty etc. Understanding these values as reflected in Tiv metaphysics will hold members of the Tiv society accountable and motivate them towards effective development of their society. A comparative analysis of other nationalities is made in order to generate sufficient empirical data for the purpose of ascertaining concrete best practices.




The predominant opinion that science has the explanation and solution to natural and social problems can be summed in the words of Mel Thompson that ‘science is a massive problem-solving and information gathering enterprise’. Thoughts such as this relegate other forms of knowledge and the benefits therein to the background or sometimes dismissing them as primitive myths or traditional gibberish. However, Karl Popper believes that myths and traditions are essential component of modern science and that without tradition knowledge is impossible. Myths survive via tradition. Popper argues for a critical examination of myths and tradition before rejecting or accepting them. Along this line, the study analyzed and evaluated Popper’s thoughts on myths and traditions. Specifically, the study, using Popper’s theory of critical rationalism as a framework, tried to situate the appropriateness or otherwise of myths and traditions for the enhancement of scientific and social knowledge; discover the philosophy behind myths and traditions; how they are created, sustained and transmitted and finally, discover the role it had played and could play in the development of science and society. The study affirmed Popper’s view that tradition is a very important source of knowledge and that science originates from myths and traditions. It was also established that the philosophy behind every myth and tradition is the explanation and justification of all human experiences and actions. It was equally discovered that cosmological and physical regularities and irregularities give impetus for the creation of myths and traditions. The study advocates the enthronement of the culture of logical curiosity in cultures where critical thinking is not a tradition in other to preserve their myths and traditions for future generations.



1.1  Background of the Study

The title of this essay – Karl Popper on Myths and Traditions – was chosen to enable me evaluate the place of myths and traditions in the growth of knowledge and society. My interest in this topic stems from my own cultural background where myths and traditions which are seen as the people’s culture cannot be questioned or changed even in the face of contradicting realities of the present order in science and social engineering or as Simon Ottenberg puts it – “…the Afikpo people rely much on tradition, on an orientation to past events as precedent”.1

More specifically, this research topic was chosen to find, if possible, a middle point between myth and tradition as a source of background knowledge which if properly harnessed can lead to the discovery of new knowledge in the sciences as well as engender a better understanding of their places in social engineering. Thus, the topic will enable me argue, in line with Popper, that every tradition has a function and that to understand a tradition, we should have the tradition clearly before us and we have to understand in a general way what may be the function and significance of that tradition. We shall also argue that every tradition and myth should be subject to rational criticism.

Popper does not assume that man could ever free himself entirely from the bonds of tradition. But one can free oneself from the taboos of tradition. This freeing according to him can be done not only by rejecting it but by critically accepting it. This critical acceptance for him forms the crucible upon which science and society will grow, creating new myths and new traditions.  I shall align my arguments with Popper’s.

Following from the above, we shall stress the point that every society has its own story to tell about its people, culture, environment or religion. That the stories are in all cases weaved around space and time and told in different genres. And that no matter the category of the story, the intended effects is always geared towards the advancement of the people’s knowledge, assuage their curiosity, ensure order, and improve their living conditions. Levi-Strauss captured this point succinctly when he averred that “…each type of story belongs to a given group, a given family, a given lineage or to a given clan and is trying to explain its fate which can be a successful one or a disastrous one or intended to account for rights and privileges as they exist in the present or be attempting to validate claims for rights which have since disappeared”.2

There are a number of literary or narrative genres used in telling the story of a people or events. They include fable, folk tales, fairy tales, legends, sagas, and epics and etiologic tales. These categories put together are called myths. Cultures according to William R. Shea are defined at least in part by their common creation myths; stories that answer important questions about how things came to be and how meaning is to be found within the existing order.3 For Mircea Eleade, “our best chance of understanding the structure of mythical thought is to study cultures where myth is a living thing.4Myth lives in all cultures of the world, whether developed or developing. People tell stories to entertain, educate and inform the people of its tradition and world views. These stories give answers to questions of creation and other natural phenomena of which no human being witnessed their beginnings. Such issues include the creation of man, the segmentation of the sky from the earth, life-after-death, the divisions of the seas and waters, relations between humans and animals, relations between God, man and gods, and relations between gods, humans and animals.

Myths are passed on from generation  to generation and according to W.B Kees in the New Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 24, they are specific accounts of gods  or superhuman beings involved in extra ordinary events or circumstances in a time that is unspecified but which is understood as existing apart from ordinary human experiences. For him, every myth presents itself as an authoritative, factual account and no matter how much the narrated event is at variance with natural law or ordinary sense experience, no attempt is made to justify it or render it plausible.5

In contradistinction to Kees position, myths were in facts attempts by the ancients to justify and render their curiosity plausible within their own cosmological matrix in space and time. Nicholas Corte defines myth as a representation of reality which though fantastic, claims to be accurate.6 Corte’s definition assumes that man met reality as a situation on ground and could not explain it scientifically so he (man) resorted to deduce some fantastic reasoning to assuage his curiosity and wonder. For Emeka Ekweru, myths are sacred historical narratives that are essentially bodies of traditional stories that seek to define man’s relationship with his natural environment both at the most elementary level and the sublime and philosophical levels. He describe them as something more than mere historical narratives; they are sacred history.7 William Bascom on the other hand, sees myth as prose narrative which in the society they are told are considered to be truthful account of what happened in the remote past.8 In his works, on oral tradition Isidore Okpewho arrived at the conclusion that myths give account of historical events which are facts but not always since some myths are fictitious stories. He asserts that the narrator based on his creative capability contributes a lot to the aesthetics of the story since it admits creativity.9

Myths are about communities because they have collective significance and refer to past events that have reference to the present. One important characteristic of myth is that they are assumed matters of fact. This is because they are not only sources of historical information but are also virtualized up to the present. The virtualization of myth means the re-enactment of myths in the present. For example, the installation of traditional rulers in some cultures based on the stories handed down from one generation to another. Also, the experiment carried out by scientists to confirm or refute some mythic explanation of the cosmos is another example of the virtualization of myths.  It is this re-enactment that enlivens myths; they make them fresh in the mind of the people. They also make people visualize myths. For these reasons, according to Okodo “myths are acts of history whether proved or not”.10 Okodo’s position corroborates Kees’ assertion that myths have its authority not by proving itself but by presenting itself as a given. This presentation is done via tradition.

Tradition is the tripod upon which myths stands. It derives its staying power from tradition and survives from generation to generation by it. Tradition according to the Oxford English Dictionary Vol. Xviii is the action of transmitting or handing down; or fact of being handed down from generation to generation. It is the transmission of statements, beliefs, rules, custom or the like especially by word of mouth or by practice without writing. In another sense, according to the Oxford Dictionary, tradition could also be said to be a long established and generally acceptable custom or method of procedure having the force of law.11 This seeming force of law exhibited by tradition is as a result of the stories told and the practices handed down from one generation to another generation in all cultures and every generation is always careful not to breach the trust of handing over the tradition as it was passed on to it leading Arnold Toynbee as it were to posit that:

As an historian studies history, he or she is struck by two things. First, that human history is largely a story… and second, that societies live entirely on myths.12

 The realization that societies live almost on myth may have informed Karl Popper’s decision to take a philosophical look at the rationale behind the theory of tradition. In a lecture entitled ‘Towards a Rational Theory of Tradition’ given at the third annual conference of the Rationalist Press Association on the 26th of July 1948 at Magdalin College, Oxford, Karl Popper raised some questions in regard to the theory of tradition and went ahead to articulate possible ways of solving the problem of tradition and the role of myths in the social and natural sciences.13

This long essay is therefore an attempt to evaluate Popper’s thoughts on myths and traditions, especially its significance and importance for the growth of knowledge in science and society.

1.2. Statement of the Problem

Primitive societies all over the world attributed the vagaries of social life to the activities of the gods. Also, cosmogonic alterations, atmospheric inconsistencies, and natural dislocations were all viewed and explained as the acts of the gods by the ancients. This theistic attributes are handed down from generation to generation in myths and nourished by traditions via taboos.

Karl Popper’s interest in myths and traditions was geared towards the clarification of their places in social and scientific engineering. And also reconcile the seeming hostility between rationalists and anti-rationalists. Rationalists according to Popper are inclined to adopt the ‘I am not interested in tradition attitude’. The rationalists wants to judge everything on its merit, he wants to do it independently of any tradition. He wants to judge with his own brain and not the brain of other people who lived long ago.14

This attitude was the rationalist foundation built by Rene Descartes in the 16th century when he resolved to deconstruct the system of acquiring true knowledge upon the powers of human reason alone. According to Stumpf, since his (Descartes) system of truth would have to be derived from his own rational powers, he would no longer rely on previous philosophers for his ideas nor would he accept any idea as true only because it was expressed by someone with authority.15

Ironically, some rationalists seem to beg the question when they insist that they follow the rule of judging everything on its merit. Following such rules constitutes a certain tradition. Popper then raises the question of why should the tradition of the rationalists be better than any other? Other problems include: what is the philosophy behind myths and traditions? How are they created, sustained and transmitted? What role do they play in the development of science and society? And, can Karl Popper’s critical rationalism offer solutions to the problems posed by myths and traditions in science and society? These are problematic issues and solutions will be proffered for them in this study.

1.3. Purpose of the Study

The advent of western education, science and technology threw spanners in the wheel of motion of traditional societies leading as it were to the abandoning of former ways of doing things. The enlightenment was embraced and tradition and traditional modes of learning and living declared primitive and mythical.

Karl Popper thought otherwise. He believes we should question the myths and traditions handed down to us. Accept the ones we can and criticize the ones we do not understand. But most importantly, he thinks we must guard and respect our traditions. With that understanding, this work shall aim at exposing and evaluating Karl Popper’s thoughts on myths and traditions and its significance to contemporary society.










1.1       Background to the Study

It is a statement of fact that Nigeria as a political entity is richly endowed with both human and natural resources. But ironically, the socio-political status and the living standards of Nigerians remain seemingly irreconcilable with the inherently embedded potentials of Nigeria as a nation. Nigeria remains largely a giant on its feet with numerous developmental challenges ranging from wide spread corruption, brazen looting of the  national treasury, mass poverty, decayed infrastructures, mounting unemployment, worsening insecurity of lives and properties, moribund manufacturing sector,  poor state  of education and health  system,  pervasive inequality  epitomized in an abysmal lacuna between the rich  and the poor, frightening food insecurity, thoroughly compromised  judiciary, rampant inflation, crisis of leadership and the utter disregard  for due process and the rule of law among others. Corroborating, Chris Orngu notes that:

The post-colonial history of Nigeria presents decades of visionlessness and the intentional lack of commitment to the advancement of the country’s socio-political process translating to sustained developmental crisis and steady decline in social, educational, agricultural, economic and technological spheres. This unfortunate state of affairs as some analysts insist is unquestionably accentuated by the unenviable nature of the country’s leadership at all levels of governance1

According to Lewis et al, “Nigeria is simply a dysfunctional state”2. He further observed that “Nigeria’s travails, while hardly unique within the developing world are surely exceptional in their scope and persistence”.3 He acknowledged that the economic stagnation in the case of Nigeria arises from a generalized crisis of governance and poor economic performance.

In a related thought pattern, Mamman et al notes that “Nigeria, the biggest country on the African continent and one of the largest energy producers is still walloping in abject poverty as a result of bad governance” 4. This corroborates Chinua Achebe’s assertion that Nigeria’s problems remain simply and squarely the problem of leadership5. Concurring, Soyinka submits that:

we are living in a condition that shames and dehumanizes us, a condition of enslavement to a ruling class that “is bereft of solution, an incontinent, spendthrift, power besotted class, a class that lacks the will even the integrity to embark upon policies for the amelioration of the parlous existence of multitude  that has cushion their existence, a class that has raised corruption to Olympian heights and made a sacred duty of deceit, imposes on us no other course but that of our own rescue mission6

Critical observations of happenings in Nigeria have revealed that the apron-string of the leadership crisis in Nigeria is the perpetuation of the imperialist ideology of the colonialists. The British socio-political and economic structures have remained the existing framework from which the successive Nigerian leaders from independence seek the transformation of Nigeria without any conscious efforts to dismantle the colonialist structures of exploitation which was never contemplated for the well being of Nigerians. In the words of Uzodinma Nwala.

Nigeria, as a political and economic entity, is a creation of British imperialism. The prime motive force for British imperialism was to seek new sources of raw material and new markets for her manufactures. Hence, all the social and political activities of the British in Nigeria were geared towards creating a convenient administrative structure for maximum exploitation of the human and material resources of the country7.

 Unfortunately, our nationalist’s championed movements leading to independence were not aimed wholistically for a socio-political and economic emancipation from colonial imperialism. The nationalists were simply out for independence as an end in itself without any corresponding nationalistic ideology for Nigeria’s transformation. Echoing this thought pattern Nwala, noted:

The winning of political power was the ultimate objectives around which all nationalist strategies and tactics were organized. Western capitalism and bourgeoisies parliamentary democracy formed the framework for economic and political transformation8.

The target was simply the Nigerianisation and indigenization of the socio-political and economic structures of the British colonialists without any creative strategy for Nigeria’s transformation. As such, strategies for Nigeria’s development remains largely based on the imperatives of a dependent and peripheral capitalist economy. Corroborating, Bade Onimode noted that:

No real social transformation was intended by this nationalism and so no development ushered in flag independence apart from the British imposition of capitalist relations on the traditional pre-capitalist modes of production9.

So, from the time of the nationalists to this point Nigerian leaders have over time constituted themselves into neo-colonialists by nourishing and sustaining the imperialist ideologies that are ontologically and intrinsically inimical to Nigerian masses. Their refusal to change the colonialist structures they inherited is hinged on the fact that the material interests of the nationalists and the present crop of leaders appears to have coincided with the status quo. Having become the most important sector of the ruling class, their social being was and is still being enhanced by the existing social order. Hence, distinguishing them from the rest of Nigerians. Substantiating further, Nwala contends that,with their preoccupation with power and its material benefits, political ideologies as to how a society can be organized and ruled to the best advantage of all hardly entered into the calculation 10.

 Consequently, at this historical puncture, the task of reinventing a new socio-political order in Nigeria is placed in the hands of the masses to dismantle the anti-people structures of the colonial imperialist that the Nigerian elites nourished and sustained. This call is hinged on the fact that:

Since a social organisation, however inadequate never disappears by itself, since a ruling class, however parasitic never yields power unless compelled to do so by overwhelming pressures; development and progress can only be attained if all the energies and abilities of a people that was politically, socially and economically disfranchised under the old system are thrown into battle against the forces of the ancient regime11.

 This fact agrees with Karl Marx position that “separate individuals form a class only in so far as they have to carry on a common battle against another class”12. This battle in Nigerian context is said to be the battle between the petty bourgeoisies elites masquerading as leaders and the Nigerian proletariats.

Those who share this thought pattern opined that this battle can only be won through a socio-political revolution. By socio-political revolution, we mean a sudden or radical change in socio-political system at the instance of the masses through mass uprising, mass mobilisation and popular pressure. It denotes the overthrow or renunciation of one government and the substitution of another by the governed. Revolutions have occurred through human history and vary widely in terms of methods, duration and motivating reasons and ideology but the underlining element is that it is a change effected by the popular will of the governed. The result is usually, major changes in culture, economy and socio-political institutions. So, for many people, this is the only option left for Nigerians to effect the desired change in socio-political institutions.

However, contrary to this idea of revolution which is the theory based on the Marxist idea of revolutionary change, which many consider an imperative option for Nigeria, a Vienna-born philosopher Karl Popper (1902 – 1994) advanced a liberal theory of incremental change which prefers reforms to revolution in alterable socio-political situations. According to Karl Popper, in view of the fallibility of human rationality, the safest course in human actions should be to make sure that all programmes of change are advanced in small steps so that unexpected ill effects of any action are corrected as soon as they arise, and before they do too much damage. This policy is described as piecemeal social engineering or incremental change. For him, socio-political revolution is quite ingenious, but also perilously inclined to irrationalism, that is;

they ultimately rely only upon inspiration without taking into account that we can only learn by trial and error, by making mistakes and improvements13.

 This is what he refers to as incremental change or piecemeal social engineering as distinguished from utopian social engineering in order to appreciate the merits of reforms over revolution respectively. In a common parlance, a scheme is called “utopian” if it is fascinating but incapable of realising in practice or at any rate, the cost of its realisation would outweigh its possible and intended benefits. Popper, therefore sees any attempt at a revolutionary change as an utopian social engineering. That a programme of utopian social engineering takes a long time to carry through. The generation that makes great sacrifices and suffers untold miseries in making radical reform hardly survives to enjoy its benefits. And the generation which reaps its benefits may not be able to appreciate the sacrifices made by its founders.   For Popper, piecemeal social engineering or incremental change obviates the possibility of such injustice.

Accordingly, it is not reasonable to assume that complete reconstruction of our social world will lead at once to a workable system. Rather we should expect that owing to lack of experience, many mistakes would be made which could be eliminated only by a long and laborious process of small adjustments in other words by that rather method of piecemeal engineering whose application we advocate14

Popper simply does not favour revolution in society as it is being canvassed for the alteration of the socio-political structures in Nigeria. According to him, revolution is a comprehensive utopian project that seeks to mould the whole society according to mentally constructed plan that lack practical reliability and also fails to recognise the unpredictability of the human factor. In a lecture that he gave in Zurich in 1958, Popper recalled that even the suppression of freedom and the violence which have stained the history of communism have stemmed from faith in a theory that promised freedom to all human beings. For him “the worst evil of our time was born out of the desire to help others and to make sacrifices for others”15

But the fact remains at this historical juncture that the imperative of a socio-political change in Nigeria is indisputable. But the question is, should Popperian reservation on socio-political revolution be seen as one of the manipulative populisms that is popularized in order to rationalise the exploitative capitalist system and by implication avoid the revolutionary transformation of the Nigerian society? This appears to be a struggle between the reformative and revolutionary forces which can be seen as a conflict between the forces of socio- political transformation and the reactionary forces of the old order. It is from this background that this research work seeks to juxtapose the quest for a socio-political revolution in Nigeria with Karl Popper’s preference for reforms in view of articulating an option for Nigeria.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Today, there is almost a general consensus among the followers of events in Nigeria that the socio-political realities in the country need change. In view of the above, a reasonable population of Nigerians has reasoned that the task of reinventing a new socio-political order in Nigeria is only realisable through a revolution by the masses. The exponents of revolutionary change as an inexorable and imperative option left for Nigeria to alter the present socio-political order based their argument on the empirically verifiable disposition of the Nigerian ruling class which is unmitigatedly devoid of passion for common interest. However, contrary to this theory of revolutionary change which many are recently canvassing for in Nigeria, a Vienna-born philosopher, Karl Popper (1902 – 1994) argues for incremental reformism as the safest way to achieve real and sustainable change in society. According to him revolution is usually inspired by holism, utopianism, aestheticism and far removed from practicality.

In the face of these alternative approaches to change, Nigeria is to make an option in her quest for a socio-political transformation. The problematic questions therefore are: What are the philosophical foundations that underpin Karl Popper’s thoughts on incremental change?, What are the revolutionary indices in Nigeria’s socio-political system?, Is the current geopolitical, socio- economic and religious canvass of Nigeria conducive to the complex socio-political chemistry of massive and revolutionary change?, What shape would such a revolution take or model would it adopt?. Can Nigerian ruling class willingly reform the system that coincides with their material wants for the interest of the masses? Is a socio-political revolution a solution to the Nigeria’s quest for transformation? What is the feasibility and implication of Popper’s theory of incremental change in the context of Nigeria?, What is Nigeria’s option for transformation in this age of globalization? These and other relevant considerations constitute the problematics which this research work attempts to address.




The task of distillation of truth from different propositions or theories, in other to arrive at a rigorous science that is objectively grounded is indeed problematic. Objective knowledge is the science of true philosophy. It is the quality of being true
even outside of a subject’s individual prejudice, biases, interpretation, feeling and imagination. However, philosophers in an attempt to demonstrate how this objective knowledge can be attained ended up in a science of facts or naturalism. But the question is, does it lead to objective knowledge? Husserl believes that no science of facts can lead to the science of foundation. For him, it is only the phenomenological method which is concerned with analyzing consciousness, where alone objectivity is absolute, can guarantee an objective knowledge. Thus for him objective knowledge is the knowledge of the essence of things. It is the knowledge that has absolute being as its object. Husserl therefore believes that the phenomenological method/technique by which we can arrive at the essence of things or the knowledge of the absolute is the
epoche. This work is an inquiry into how Husserl’s phenomenological epoche can lead us to objective knowledge. It also explored to what extent Husserl phenomenological method can provide foundation for other normative sciences. A combination of historical, expository, analytic and evaluative methods were adopted.

Chapter One
1.1 Background of the Study As a young philosophy student, I came face to face with an accident scene involving a bus driver and a passer-by. When the police inquired from them the true story of what happened, I was amazed to hear each party giving different versions of the story with each claiming ‘the truth’ depending on the interest at stake, that is one who assumes the culpability. I asked myself how will the police officer arrive at an objectively valid knowledge about the accident scene since each party claims true knowledge? Since the testimonies of both parties are relative, how will the police officer arrive at objective truth? The question of relativity of truth or situational truth has always posed epistemological problem with regards to the search for an objectively valid knowledge and the means of attaining it. The world in which we are is infected with the pursuit of a certain interest which circumscribes situation. For instance, a market woman’s interest is in selling her produce; this interest determines her situational truth. The same thing applies to an artist and a real estate agent who pursues their own interest. These multiplicities of interests create specific situations thus making objective knowledge almost impossible. This ‘life of interest’ is what constitutes our natural attitude. Relativism denies the possibility of grounding of human knowledge. In other words, it denies that there are essential truths about all domains of human experience. Proponents of relativism argue that there is no absolute truth or validity, but only relative subjective values according to difference in perception and consideration. However, we know that one of the major defects of relativism is that it is inherently contradictory and as such it does not give room for proper knowledge. Relativism can only lead to subjective validity which is the product of biased opinion
2 Therefore for one to enter the domain of philosophy and assume a philosophical point of view, one needs to shed off or relinquish the natural attitude. It is this natural attitude that blocks our way towards the attainment of objectively valid knowledge. To show how we can attain objective knowledge and what objective knowledge consists of, Descartes anticipates a transcendental turn. The turn to the subject, the ‘reduction’ to the ego cogito, is the principle of certainty. Descartes believes that knowledge is identical with absolute certainty. Accordingly, to provide a foundation for science implies nothing other than to extend the certainty of immediately evident first principles of all scientific principles and results.1 With Kant the problem of knowledge took a new interest. Its interest is not so much to establish certainty but make comprehensible how experience directed towards objects is possible at all. This new interest arises from the post – Cartesian question: “given that all we ever have are our subjective representations, how is it nonetheless possible to have an experience of something objective, something which is (experienced as) independent of these
representations?”2 Kant responds to this question by arguing that the subjective manifolds of apprehension are able to take on the character of representing objects, existing apart from consciousness, only because these manifolds are subordinated by the subjective faculties of cognition of certain fixed rules or rules forms, thereby ordering the contents of these manifolds in objective space and time. For him, these rules constitute a priori conditions for the possibility of the experience of objects, and therefore for the being of objects themselves. With this, Kant establishes a foundation for knowledge that will serve to clarify the very nature and limits of knowledge.
Husserl’s response to the post – Cartesian question saw him seek for an absolute, nonrelative, grounding of human knowledge. Husserl’s phenomenological epoché focuses on the inner perception as a source of absolute insight and absolutely reliable knowledge, and so as the most suitable foundation of other knowledge. The word Epoché (πoxη) is an ancient
3 Greek term which when applied in philosophy describes the theoretical moment where all judgements about the existence of the external worlds, and consequently all action in the world are suspended. It subjects ones consciousness to immanent critique so that when such belief is recovered, it will have a former grounding in consciousness. Husserl employed this term in his phenomenology to indicate a process of suspension of biases, or bracketing in order to examine how the phenomenon presents itself in the world of the participant.3 In other words, it concerns itself with explaining a phenomenon in its own original giveness to consciousness. Husserl believes that the method of phenomenological epoché is a necessary step that must be taken in order to attain an objectively valid knowledge that will be the foundation or basis for other sciences.

1.2 Statement of the Problem Attempts by some philosophers to demonstrate how objective knowledge can be attained ended up in science of facts or naturalism. As a result, this has posed a big problem in epistemology. Therefore,

the problem which this work sets out to investigate is whether objective knowledge can be arrived at through the employment of Husserl’s phenomenological epoché, which will provide the grounding for all sciences.

1.3 Thesis Statement
This work advances the thesis that Husserl’s phenomenological epoché as a method of attaining knowledge will lead to the attainment of objective knowledge/truth.

1.4 Purpose of the Study.
The purpose of this work is to investigate how Husserl’s phenomenological epoché can lead to the attainment of objective knowledge.

4 1.5 Significance of the Study Investigating how objectively valid knowledge could be attained through the method of epoché is very much relevant in our time when people pass judgement about a situation or person based on the prejudice or bias they have, thereby making objective knowledge inaccessible. Therefore, this study will help provide both the theoretical and practical framework for establishing how non-relative grounding of human knowledge is possible through the application of the phenomenological epoché. It will also instill in those who come in contact with it, the attitude of not taking things for granted, but instead pass judgement after due reflection and analysis. This work will also serve as an intellectual tool for further investigation on how an objectively valid knowledge could be attained.

1.6 Scope of the Study This work is limited to an examination of Husserl’s notion of phenomenological epoché, with a view to determining if it could be used in the attainment of objective knowledge. other philosophers and their ideas will be referred to as they are relevant to the overall understanding of the subject matter of the study.

1.7 Methodology. The data for this research were gotten from periodicals, articles, books from the library and internet sources. In this research we made use of the historical expository, analytic and evaluative methods. In the historical method we situated Husserl within a philosophical era. In the expository method we allow Husserl to speak for himself. In the analytic method we show how Husserl’s phenomenological epoché can be applied to other sciences. In the evaluative method we examine the weaknesses and strengths of Husserl’s phenomenological epoché in the attainment of an objective knowledge.

1.8 Clarification of Terms
Subjective: According to The New International Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary of
English Language, Subjective means “relating to or conditioned by, mental states or the ego;
proceeding from or taking place within the thinking subject.”4 From this we see that subjective has to do with things that are influenced by personal feelings, tastes or opinions. In other words it exists in the mind and belongs to the thinking subject rather than the object of thought. It is opposed to objective. In philosophical sense, subjective (subjectivity) is related to consciousness. It has to do with the individual who possesses conscious experience, such as desires, feelings, beliefs and so on. It places emphasis on one’s own mood and opinion, in other words it is egocentric. Thus it places emphasize on the first person perspective. It is in this sense that Husserl uses the word subjective in his phenomenology to study the structures of consciousness as experienced from the first person point of view.
Objective: This has to do with judgements that are not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts. It is a judgement that is impartial, unbiased, unprejudiced, disinterested and unemotional. Therefore, that knowledge is objective means that it is without bias.
Transcendental: This means something that is beyond ordinary or common experience,
thought or belief. In philosophy, it is concerned with “the a priori or intuitive basis of knowledge as independent of experience.”5 It shows a fundamental supernatural element in experience. It relates to knowledge of the presuppositions of thought and to experience of phenomena, even though it is not beyond potential knowledge. Kant employed it in his philosophy to explain a priori element in experience which conditions human knowledge.
INTERSUBJECTIVITY: According to Thomas Scheff, intersubjectivity is “a sharing of
subjective states by two or more individuals.”6 He further explained that intersubjectivity can be explained in three ways based on usage. (1) In its weakest sense, intersubjectivity refers to an agreement (2) It refers to “common sense” shared meaning constructed by people in their interactions with each other and used for an everyday resource to interpret the meaning of elements of social and cultural life. (3) Intersubjectivity refers to shared (or partially shared) divergences of meaning, self presentation. He further argues that intersubjectivity emphasizes that shared cognition and consensus are essential in the shaping of our ideas and relations. Mirrian Webster sees
intersubjectivity as a relationship “involving or occurring between separate conscious
minds.”7 Ferrarello defines it as “a relationship between me and another.”8 She insists that the peculiarity of this relationship is based on the fact that the other is not alien to me but is within me in such a way that the otherness can be investigated beginning with the way in which that otherness is imminent in my ego.9 In phenomenology intersubjectivity does many functions one of such function is that it allows for empathy. Empathy in phenomenology involves experiencing another person as a subject rather than an object among objects. In other words is allows one to see oneself as
perceived by ‘the other’ and the world in general as a shared world instead of one only
available to oneself. For the purpose of this study we shall adopt Ferrarello’s definition because of its phenomenological dimension especially in relation to empathy.
Phenomenology: Etymologically, the word ‘phenomenology’ comes from two Greek words,
phainomenon meaning appearance or things as they appear in our experience and logos
7 meaning science or study. Therefore, phenomenology is the science or the study of experience or consciousness. It is the study of appearance as opposed to reality. Phenomenology studies structures of conscious experience as experienced from the
subjective or first person point of view, along with its “intentionality” (the way an experience is directed towards a certain object in the world). This field of philosophy was developed by Husserl. For him phenomenology is a foundation. It is a foundation of knowledge. it is the quest for origin, source or the foundation of knowledge.
Epistemology: This is from the greek word epistēmē meaning knowledge and logos meaning
‘discourse’ or ‘study’. It is the branch of philosophy that deals with the theory of knowledge. It studies the nature of knowledge, justification and the rationality of belief. It analyzes the nature of knowledge and how it relates to notions such as truth, belief and justification.
Epistemology asks questions like: ‘what is knowledge?’, ‘How is knowledge acquired’, ‘what
do people know?’, ‘what are the condition for knowledge?’ what is the limit and scope of
Knowledge: This is the awareness and understanding of particular aspects of reality. It is the clear, lucid information gained through the process of reason applied to reality. For something to count as knowledge three conditions are required: (1) it must actually be true (2) it must be believed (3) it must be justifiable. Therefore, based on these three conditions,
knowledge can be defined as “justified true belief”




There is no doubt that there is an urgent need to imagine another world in the face of the fall outs of the current world order. The urgency of this need for ‘another world’ or ‘a world in which all worlds fit’ is the primary motivation for this research. In line with this motivation, this work is aimed at examining the concept of prejudice within Gadamer’s philosophy as well as the transmodern project with a view to constructing an understanding of cross-cultural contact that can foreground the possibility of ‘another world’ or ‘a world in which all worlds fit’. The basis for this is that Gadamer’s direct appropriation of prejudice and its impact on the transmodern idea of the bio/geo/body-politics of knowledge challenges the idea of universality as it operates in the current Euro-American cosmovision. This challenge is not in favour of subjectivism or relativism, but in favour of ‘intersubjective dialogue’ and ‘pluriversality as a universal project’. Adopting the philosophical tools of exposition, critique and textual analysis the work seeks to demonstrate that a proper appropriation of Gadamer’s conceptualization of prejudice and of the influence it has had on the transmodern project can serves as the basis for a new principle of cross-cultural interaction/evaluation; the ethical-hermeneutic principle of intercultural contact/evaluation which can guarantee ‘a world in which all worlds fit’. In the addition to this, the work also establishes that: i) the transmodern anti-Cartesianism and resistance of provincial universality are strong influences from Gadamer in their philosophy. Hence, their claim of delinking is not totally true; ii) the transmodern project in taking on board the coloniality question within the context of the bio/geo/body-politics of knowledge is a clear extension and application of Gadamer’s prejudicial philosophy; iii) despite the strength of Gadamer and the transmodern case, Gadamer’s postulation is haunted down by the hegemony of the verbal understanding/factual modes of expression, while the transmodern project is wrong in blaming coloniality solely on foreign agency.



1.1 Background of the Study

Given the fall outs from the current world order, a certain strand of contemporary philosophy makes the case for another world. In their estimation, ‘another world is possible.’1 For some others within this school of thought, the alternative to the current world order should aim at creating ‘a world in which all worlds fit’.2 Yet for another group, they seek ‘worlds and knowledges otherwise’.3 For these schools of thought, the current world order is Euro-American and it possesses an exclusivist cosmovision. On this count, the current world order rather than seeking to arrive at a world in which all worlds fit just elevates the ideals of a particular world as a standard for other worlds to follow. In more specific terms, it is the Euro-American vision that has been universalised for all to follow. But the economic crises that greeted the West between 2007 and now places a lot of doubt on the continued efficacy of this cosmovision. The grand narrative which this vision held that “…once situated humanity in some continuing stream of meaning has faltered amidst existential doubt or economic and political ruins…”4 This places before us therefore, the urgent need for an alternative cosmovision. The urgency of this need is one motivation for this research.

Bearing in mind the fact that the world in which we live today is a global village, it becomes obvious that any effort at a new cosmovision cannot afford to ignore the demands for ‘a world in which all worlds fit’. Arriving at this world is primarily a practical task. But before this task can be executed in practice, it must redefine itself at a theoretical level or better still as a theoretical endeavour. It is within this context of theoretical redefinition that Gadamer and the transmodern engagement with prejudice is appropriated in this research. More precisely, Gadamer’s direct appropriation of prejudice and its impact on the transmodern idea of the bio/geo/body-politics of knowledge challenges the idea of universality as is the case in the Euro-American cosmovision. This challenge is not in favour of subjectivism or relativism, but in favour of ‘intersubjective dialogue’ and ‘pluriversality as a universal project’. Establishing these as genuine theoretical, as well as philosophical alternative upon which to achieve the practical task of building ‘a world in which all worlds fit’ is yet another motivation for this research.

In establishing the epistemic potency of these positions for a new world order, something further engages the attention of this study. As has already been stated above, Gadamer’s hermeneutic philosophy and its prejudicial base5, alongside its impact on the transmodern concern for ‘pluriversality as a universal project’6 are the favoured theoretical apparatus for achieving this new cosmovision. But then, a study of the transmodern project and its emphasis on delinking from the dominant macro-narratives projected by the West needs a closer scrutiny to establish how true the transmodern project is to this claim of delinking. The compelling force of this need is yet another motivating point for this research.

1.2 Statement of the problem

The idea of the possibility of another world is an idea which was developed, partly, as a reaction to the effects of the ‘clash of civilizations/cultures’. In the aftermath of the ‘clash of cultures’ came the rhetoric of ‘cultural interaction/contacts’ as alternative to the clash of cultures. But an observation of the world order, as it stands, still shows that the idea of ‘cultural interaction’ has not really proven to be a true alternative to ‘the clash of cultures’; rather it has only succeeded in moderating and covering over the naked force that ‘the clash of cultures’ portend. This is the case because, under the guise of cultural interaction, ‘super-cultures’ have continued to valourise aspects of their cultures and to hold them up as ideals/universals for other (smaller) cultures to follow. The broad problematique of this research is therefore, that of finding a basis for sustaining the identity and uniqueness of smaller-cultures in the face of the imposing presence of ‘super-cultures’. Based on this, the main question for this research is: is it possible to find a basis on which all cultures can interact and be appreciated in their uniqueness without losing sight of the common good for humanity and the planet? Or better still, can there be any basis for creating a world in which all worlds fit? To answer this question properly, the research is guided by the following questions:

  1. Are there any identifiable connections between Gadamer’s postulations on prejudice and the philosophy of the transmodern project?
  2. Has the transmodern project been able to extend Gadamer’s philosophical legacy in any way?
  3. Are the positions of Gadamer and the transmodern project with regard to prejudice tenable in any way?
  4. Are there any specific practical imports of Gadamer and the transmodern concerns that can aid in dismantling the current Euro-American cosmovision (colonial matrix of power) and fostering a collaborative approach to building a new world system and cross-cultural contact?

1.3 Thesis

The thesis of this research is: A proper appropriation of Gadamer’s conceptualization of prejudice and of the influence it has had on the transmodern project can serve as the basis for a new principle of cross-cultural contact/evaluation; the ethical-hermeneutic principle of intercultural contact/evaluation which can guarantee ‘a world in which all worlds fit’.

1.4 Significance of the Study

This research is significant at two levels: the levels of theory and practice. At the level of theory, the significance of this research includes: (i) it demonstrates the continued fruitfulness of the works of Gadamer and the transmodern project and assesses continuing points of similarity and difference between them in order to refine and extend their legacies. It is hoped that the fertility and acuity of the present contribution will stimulate more thought and dialogue on the rich and enduring value of Gadamer’s and the transmodern’s scholarships; (ii) it challenges the conventional one-dimensional truth base for universality and objectivity. By so doing, it rethinks the concept of universality and objectivity and upholds the idea that the focus should be on ‘pluriversality as universal project’ and ‘intersubjective dialogue’. These are considered as appropriate theoretical apparatus that can foreground the possibility of ‘a world in which all worlds fit’.

At the level of practice, the significance of this study revolves around the fact that the hermeneutic philosophy of Gadamer and its root in the transmodern project produces the ethical-hermeneutic principle of cross-cultural contact/evaluation  which can dismantle the current world order and is a collaborative approach to building a new world order/cosmovision.

1.5 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this work is to examine the concept of prejudice in Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics and how it forms the basis for the philosophy of the transmodern project with a view to constructing an understanding of universality that can foreground the possibility of ‘a world in which all worlds fit’.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The scope of this research is tied primarily to Hans Geroge Gadamer’s postulations on prejudice. This research focuses on Gadamer’s main works: Philosophical Hermeneutics and Truth and Method. These works will also be supplemented with ideas from his other works Hermeneutics, Religion and Ethics; and Reason in The Age of Science. Importantly too, this research is also moderated by the postulations of the transmodernists, especially as evidenced mainly in the works of Enrique Dussel, and supported by the works of Walter Mignolo, Anibal Quijano, Ramon Grosfoguel and Nelson Maldonado-Torres.

1.7 Research Methodology

This is basically a qualitative research. Materials were sourced from journals, libraries and online sources. The expository method was used to lay bare the basics of the positions interacted with in this research. The critical method is used to ascertain how tenable the basic positions that the research is interacting with are. It is also used to make all the necessary connections between the various currents of thought we shall be engaging here. The historical method is used to trace the origin of the ideas engaged with in this research. Textual analysis is also employed in this research.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Prejudice: The word ‘prejudice’ etymologically breaks down into pre-judice or pre-judgment. All judgements are conditioned by pre-judgements. This is an older, pre-modern sense of prejudice which this research adopts. Whereas the familiar understanding of prejudice is unreflective judgment or over-hasty reasoning, resulting in the bigotry of purely subjective opinion or the unreflective parroting of purely received wisdom. The point being made here is that judgements are made possible not by an abstract and neutral reason but a set of pre-reflective involvements with the world that stand behind judgements and in fact make them possible.7 Cosmovision: This is an amalgam of the words ‘cosmos’ and ‘vision’. It refers to a vision of the world; a conceptualization of the world. The idea to be highlighted here is that the current vision of the world is Eurocentric which, is just one and an incomprehensive vision of the world. Interculturality: This, as used here, suggests the intercultural; it is the nominal form of the adjective – intercultural. It refers precisely to the dialogue between cultures in this age of increasing global awareness.

Transversality: This refers to a kind of dialogue that violates the discourse rules of the established order. It is a type of dialogue that sets out from a place other than a mere dialogue between the learned experts of the academic or institutionally dominated worlds.8 It is a dialogue that has its nexus of discourse at the fringe of civilization.

Pluriversality: This concept stands in opposition to the concept of universality. Universality emphasizes the common features of things hence, suggesting uniformity. Pluriversality, on the other hand, comes to the fore when various local histories connect through their common experiences as the basis for a new logic of knowing.9

Hermeneutics: This term describes basically the art of interpreting texts. The notion of hermeneutics as developed in contemporary philosophy embraces not only the problems concerning the interpretation of texts – literary, philosophical or religious – but also the careful consideration of both the cultural and historical conditions that form the horizon of the text; that constitutes the interpreter’s horizon of ‘pre-understanding’.10




Violence for Frantz Fanon is the weapon of decolonization for Africa. His analysis is encapsulated in his theory of revolutionary socialism. Revolutionary socialism is the use of violence to fight colonialism, racism, slavery, imperialism and exploitation which have dehumanized the Africans. As an Algerian, Fanon experienced the effects of colonization because living in France confronted him with the racial contradictions of French republican ideology. Fanon opted for violent resistance as a result of the unbearable situation that Algerians in particular and Africans in general found themselves in the hands of the colonialists. He regarded physical violence as an accompanying characteristics of violence. Previous studies on Fanon’s violence dwelt much on the immediate benefit of violence as a tool for decolonization but little attention was given to the long term effect of using violence to fight violence. Though the weakness is that in some situations using violence to fight violence can be counter-productive, this study concludes that violence is a veritable tool for decolonization especially in situations where the colonialists unleashed terror on the colonized.



1.1       Background of the study

Before colonization, some African societies enjoyed a relative cultural stability and psychological tranquility. These were lost in her violent contact with the western world. The issue of the sad, inhuman and unforgettable events of the transatlantic slave trade 1441- 1856, partition and consequent colonization of the black continent 1884-1956 initiated and executed by the white men against the will of the black men brought about so many negative effects on the continent. It is clear that this business was brutal for it brought about a collapse of a whole vision of life, of all beliefs, of every authority, the loss of a people’s identity.

In addition, it brought exploitation, racism, inferiority complex, denigration, colonialism, a situation that was so unbearable that it made African nationalists to fight for their freedom and independence. Due to the fact that the colonial masters though not all of them used force to entrench their inhuman treatments on their colonies, the nationalists had to use force also in gaining their independence. That is quenching violence with violence for without that the colonialists would not have peacefully relinquished their hold on the colonized. As an Algerian, Fanon was confronted with colonial domination, oppression, denigration, and the racial contradictions of French republican ideology. As a result, Fanon maintained that the only way out of this inhuman treatment is to opt for violent resistance. In other words, violent revolution is both necessary and inevitable considering the plight of African nations.

1.2       Statement of the problem

Colonialism brought about so many negative effects on the black continent such as imperialism, denigration, neo-colonialism etc. So Fanon proposed violence in his Revolutionary Socialism as the solution to the liberation of Africa from the shackles of colonialism and neo-colonialism. So this work will investigate if Fanon’s violence in his Revolutionary Socialism can be a tool for liberation or freedom.

1.3    Thesis Statement  

This study advances the thesis that the use of violence to fight violence may bring about liberation/freedom but not in all cases.

1.4    Purpose of the study 

The purpose of this work is to expose the concept of violence in Frantz Fanon’s Revolutionary Socialism. It will also ascertain the plausibility of using violence as a tool for decolonization and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of violence in Frantz Fanon’s Revolutionary Socialism.

1.5   Significance of the study                           

The significance of this work is based on the fact that it is an eye opener because Frantz Fanon’s violence as encapsulated in his Revolutionary Socialism pays full attention to the long term effect of fighting or quenching violence with violence. It will also be a veritable resource material for researchers seeking for intellectual growth and empowerment.


1.6   Scope of the study   

This study is particularly limited to the articulation and evaluation of violence in Frantz Fanon’s Revolutionary Socialism. Relevant materials and views of other philosophers and intellectuals that are related to his analysis of violence in his Revolutionary Socialism will be included when and where necessary.

1.7   Methodology   

The historical-descriptive design was used for this study. Data were sourced from books, journals, and biographies. The historical, expository, analytic, and evaluative methods were employed. The historical approach was used to bring to limelight the background of Frantz Fanon’s violence. The expository approach was used to elucidate Fanon’s violence as a tool for decolonization. The analytic approach was used to make Fanon’s violence understandable. The evaluative approach was used to point out the strengths and weaknesses of violence in Frantz Fanon’s Revolutionary Socialism.

1.8   Explication of terms

Revolutionary Socialism: Is the use of violence to fight colonialism, racism, slavery, imperialism and exploitation which have dehumanized the Africans.

Revolutionary: According to Oxford Advanced English Dictionary Revolutionary is of or pertains to revolution in government; tending to or promoting revolution; as revolutionary war, revolutionary measures, revolutionary agitators. It also pertains to something that portends of great change; overthrowing a standing mindset.




Morality entails everything about man’s action, what he ought to do and what he ought not to do. Like moral standards and moral values, morality forms part and parcel of the life of every social group and civil society. Man as a social and rational being, is naturally moral and political. Politics on the other hand entails everything about the political life in the society. This includes who should, and how the ruler ought to rule. “The Concept of morality and politics in Aristotle” is a fresh and specific approach adapted by the writer to have a philosophical and a critical view of Aristotelian morality and politics. Aristotle argues that there is an end which stands above other ends in relation to human function. He calls it happiness- the highest good. Medieval philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas and Saint Augustine call it summum Bonum. This is not in contradiction with the Aristotelian notion. Aristotle views the end as generality by postulating that everyone pursues it, both in the political life and in the moral life. For the excellence of the individual equals that of the state.  For even the state should aim at providing the ultimate happiness for its citizens. For an individual does not seek morality in a vacuum but in a political society. The state should aim at achieving the ultimate happiness for its citizens. In this regard, this work sets out to discover the relationship of morality to politics and to show the relevance of morality in achieving a sound political system in Aristotle.


APRIL, 2016.




            The political situation in some societies today has grossly degenerated. The democracy which we practice in our country is not encouraging. We see democracy only in theory but in practice, we experience tyranny. In January, 2012, the government of Nigeria decided to impose fuel subsidy on its citizens. This they did, without considering the public opinion. The citizens of Nigeria did not think it will lead to a better life for them. Moreover, the people were not properly consulted. This stirred up a kind of rebellion among the people against the government. This act opposes the political and moral theory of Aristotle. Because for him, a state can only be good if its rulers seek the welfare of the people they govern, by striving to attain the good life for the individuals.  In his moral philosophy, Aristotle posits that every action should have an ‘end’. And that end Aristotle calls “happiness”.  When a ruler imposes laws which does not uphold equality and justice, and does not aim at the highest good of the citizens, that leader cannot be said to be a good leader.

A cursory look at the concept of morality and politics appears unambiguous. When, however, critically surveyed, it cannot but reveal its ambiguity. The equivocal nature of the concept has ardently led great thinkers in the course of centuries to develop different theories and views about it. Morality is primitively conceived as consisting in obedience to a tribal custom which is ultimately regarded as essential for the individual. The atomist such as Democritus maintains “morality is dominated by the idea of happiness which can only be achieved through the moderate cultivation of culture as the surest way of attaining the most desirable goal of life.”1 Socrates posits that no one is intentionally vicious. This means that whenever we do something wrong — including something morally wrong. It is out of ignorance rather than evil. In his ethical perspective, Aristotle holds a crucial idea known as eudemonism (happiness) according to which the good life is the happy life.

Aristotle in his ethical theories views morality as teleological. Under this teleological conception, morality is looked upon as a fundamental conception; morality is looked upon as a fundamental matter of self- expression or self realization.

Thus, he primarily asserts in his Nichomachean Ethics that “every art and every inquiry and similarly every action and pursuit is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good is rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim.”2

More so, having stated that all actions aim at an “end”, Aristotle delves into distinguishing the two main kinds of ends. These two ends are instrumental end and intrinsic end. The former implies actions which are carried out as means for other ends while the latter indicates actions which are done for their own sake. The goal is action for its own sake for which any other activity is only a means. For Aristotle, this invariably must be the “good” of man, the supreme good which is eudemonia (happiness).

On the other hand, Aristotle in his politics as in ethics stresses the element of purpose. The state, like man, is endowed by nature with a distinctive function. Combining these two ideas, Aristotle says that “it is evident that the state is a creature of nature and that man is by nature a political animal”3.  So closely does he relate man and the state as to conclude 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”4.  Not only is man by nature destined to live in a state, but the state, as every other community, is established with the view to some good exists for some end. But unlike Plato, Aristotle did not create a blueprint for an ideal state.

The  nature of the ultimate “good” for man in the community or state are also exposed in this study. Three things which make men good and excellent in the state include nature, habit, reasons and they must be in harmony. Just as in a state, the rulers should have no marked superiority over the ruled, equality should ensure that all citizens alike should take their turn of governing and being governed. So there should be the same treatment of similar persons as no government can stand which is not founded upon justice. And when a government is unjust, everyone in  the country unites with the governed in the desire to have a revolution. And it not possible for the members of the government to out power all their enemies put together.


            In Aristotle’s political theory, he posits that every state is a community established with a view to some good, for everyone always acts in order to obtain that which they think good. But, if all communities aim at some good, the state or political community which is the highest of all, and which embraces all the rest, aims at good in a greater degree than any other, and the highest good.

Pertinent questions now arises: In his politics, Aristotle Posits that Aristocracy is a good form of government, but on the other hand, can’t Aristocracy degenerate to oligarchy which is a perverted form of government? What is the relationship between politics and morality in Aristotle? And what is the relevance of morality to politics? For in his morality, Aristotle sees happiness as the highest good. But what brings this happiness since it varies from individual to individual? Is the happiness of the individual synonymous with that of the state, and that of the state synonymous with that of the individual? Also Aristotle postulates that virtue  is achieved by striving to arrive at the mean between two extremes. How do we arrive at this mean? And who determines the meaness of this mean? There are some vices which arriving at their mean will be difficult and impossible. How do we now determine the morality or otherwise of this vices. Finally, is it possible to have a sound moral value with an immoral political system?

Therefore, this work has set out to see the extent to which Aristotle defended his claim. This work explores the moral and political theories of Aristotle in order to see the relationship between them and to show the relevance of morality in achieving a sound political system in our society and in our democracy. This work also tends to show how the political and moral theory of Aristotle can influence or help us attain peaceful and harmonious co- existence in our society.


This work sets out to explore and examine Aristotle’s notion of politics and morality. It aims at discovering the best quality of a political system to be adopted, as man is by nature a political animal. And the quality of morality which the human person should adopt for the good of society and especially for his personal satisfaction and self- fulfillment for a good life and a happy living.

1.4       SCOPE OF THE STUDY  

The scope of this work is the notion of  morality as discussed in Aristotle’s Nichomachean  Ethics, and his notion of politics as discussed in Aristotle’s politics. Though references will be made to other works of Aristotle and other philosophers that relate to morality and politics.


This work will serve as material for prospective researchers and students on Aristotle’s idea of morality and politics. It enhances the individual’s desire in the quest for a good moral and political life and avails him the opportunity to adopt the quality of morality and which leads to an acceptable and a happy end. The ruler in a state should avoid tyrannical and despotic acts to achieve a happy end. It is also of great importance to the society.


The method adapted for this research are historical, analytical, expository and critical. It is historical in the sense that, the views of past philosophers on morality and politics before Aristotle will be discussed. It is analytical because this work shall analyse in details, the relationship between politics and morality. The relevance of morality to politics will be exposed in order to achieve a sound moral value in the society. In its expository nature, this work exposes all the tenets of morality and politics as applied by Aristotle, and it will tend to answer some of the numerous questions concerned with it. A critique of Aristotle’s   view will also be done. Those critiques pointed out by other philosophers will also be studied in order to proffer some solutions to them.




Rational egoism encapsulates Ayn Rand’s ethical system. According to this theory, the only ethically good actions are those that are channeled towards self-aggrandizements. Reason which is the basic surviving and epistemological tool of man is the only means for discovering what is good and bad .Emotions and desires are unreliable for such feat. Hence, the ultimate end of man is survival on earth and so the basic struggle in human existence is struggle for survival. Any action capable of truncating or threatening man’s individual existence is morally bad whereas those that enhance it, are the good. Individual survival becomes the paradigm for knowing the morality of an action. However, the major problem Rand identified in ethics is that moral philosophers before her were unscientific in approach and as such the ethical theories they formulated were equally unscientific. She moved further to assert and propose that ethics should be based on the nature of man, reflecting his survival needs. Consequent upon that, she advocates for “rational egoism”, the ethical system that urges man to always maximize his own rational self-interest

                                                    CHAPTER ONE

                                           GENERAL INTRODUCTION


Obviously, one of the inherent characteristics of human society across history has been the unequal relationship among people and differences in disposition cover a wide range of human activities and conditions. Some of the conditions are necessitated by nature as opined by some philosophers while others are brought about by structural imbalances in the human society. This unequal relationship contrasts with the natural and philosophical ideas that all men are born equal.

The basis for this conviction is that we are so structured by nature and also endowed with reason and conscience and as such ought to act toward others in a spirit of brotherhood. But then, on the contrary, it is noticed that social equality among individuals and groups in the society has been a willow d’ wisp because of the differences in interests and needs. With that people in vantage positions tend to exploit, suppress and even mash underfoot the rights of less privileged of the society. The result of this social inequality has been glaring in our social contexts ranging from war, kidnapping, and murder amongst others.

No doubt, unequal relationship has created a lot of problems in human society and Rand’s ethical system tends to give vent to such a situation. It is against this background, however, that we are motivated to discuss and examine Rand’s ethical system


Rand’s ethical theory states that man should always act with his own self-interest in view. According to this theory, reason is the only veritable tool for knowing that which is of interest to man. This form of ethics was formed, principally to oppose the ethics of altruism which was prevalent in Rand’s time and to provide man with ethics based on nature. Rand found fault with altruism because it does not reflect the condition of man’s existence, the basis upon which ethics should rest. However, Philosophers have found fault with her theory on the grounds that it fails to reconcile the conflict of interests amongst men. The following important questions have given the Researcher a deep worry:

(1) What is the basis for this form of ethics?

(2) Can the ethics of altruism vitiate man’s ultimate end?

(3) Can rational egoism lead man to a morally acceptable end?

(4) Is there any relevance of this theory to man and to the society at large?

As a matter of fact, the critical problem that this work shoulders and attempts to resolve is provision of sound and convincing answers to the above questions (problems).


A major goal of this study is to unveil the primary influences on Rand in her formulation and development of a version of egoism tagged, “rational egoism”. Another aim is to investigate numerous attempts made by some philosophers at denying or refuting rational egoism. This work will also look at the necessary conflict or contradiction inherent in identifying Randian form of egoism with traditional morality.

Moreover, this study will attempt to resolve or put an end to the numerous problems inherent in Rand’s egoism. Hence, there will be a clear juxtaposition between rational egoism and altruism, which is advocated mostly by Christianity and other duty based theories .This work, in addition to these, will establish a link, if any, between rational egoism and Altruism. It will also examine the nature, meaning and any possible value of rational egoism in the domain of moral philosophy.

1.4.        THESES

This research hopes to express the following:

  • That the concept of egoism as presented by Rand tends to entrench inequality in the society.
  • That Rand’s theory of Rational Selfishness could not establish beyond reasonable doubt that the peace of the society is guaranteed if all should pursue their self-interest.
  • That Law should be set up to act as a check to the excesses of our impulses and interests.
  • That Rand’s theory of self-interest has some positive and vital implications for mankind.


Ayn Rand was a versatile philosopher who dwelt on many issues bordering on: Ethics, Metaphysics, Epistemology, Political philosophy, and Aesthetics. In this work however, the focus would rather be to investigate strictly her contributions to ethics.

It will study the primary and major influences on Rand and her formulation and development of this form of egoism. Furthermore, we will intermittently make references to her famous novels, which underlie the theme of her philosophy.1

Again, this research work will also look at the views of many interpreters and commentators on Ayn Rand.


This study will help to understand the meaning and value of rational egoism which is relatively a novel concept in philosophy. It also advances the course of humanism in the 21st century. This is because it maintains that man is the maker of his destiny, even his moral end is in his hand. It holds that man marries the potentials in him with that latent in nature in order to achieve his life goals. With this, then, the society is made better both scientifically and technologically.

In addition to that, this study  equally  supports  the fact that ethics does not just originates or issues from religion or society, ethics is also possible from man’s nature, ethics for living on earth.

Besides, it will help contribute to the body of literature, not just in Ethics but in philosophy. This work will be of immense help to researchers and students of philosophy in particular.


The information and data needed for this work were largely drawn from published works and articles from the libraries, internet, sand journals, amongst others.In harnessing the collected data, the researcher employed historical, expository and evaluative approaches. With historical method, Rand’s rational egoism was found within a historical perspective. With the use of expository approach, her ethical thought is displayed and expounded for better understanding. Through evaluative method, her ethical ideas were subjected to critical scrutiny with a view to finding out whether or not it is practicable, sound and a good guide to human happiness.





  • Background of the Study

This study arose as a result of the researcher’s interest in the concept of freedom in general and Jean Paul Sartre’s conception of it in particular.  This interest is due to the following reasons.

  1. Human life is only lived to its fullest when one is the author of his action. The awareness of, and actualization of, one’s freedom gives one the chance to pursue one’s possibilities, unlimited by any external force, to the best of one’s capabilities; and for one to be able to take responsibility for one’s actions.
  2. Sartre’s conception and presentation of freedom and action, if appreciated, can positively affect people’s lives, in that it helps them discover that they are free in whatever situation they find themselves. This will foster personal development since this idea of freedom opens the horizons of the possibilities of the human person in terms of what he can achieve in life. It will also give citizens a sense of autonomy that will help them avoid being used for selfish motives by a few individuals.

These reasons for choosing this area of study are rooted in the fact that freedom is an essential ingredient in the development of anything human— be it the human person as an individual or as a group. Acting without interference, whether real or imagined, is the only pre-requisite for human beings to attain their full potentials. It is only on the basis of freedom that we can justifiably apportion blame or reward to any human act or conduct. For people to be held responsible and accountable they have to possess a natural capacity for rational self- determination.  Jean Paul Sartre is one of the prominent philosophers who have committed interest in this question of freedom and how it is manifested in action. His central argument on the concept of freedom is that it is impossible to distinguish what we call human freedom from the being of human reality. Human beings do not exist first in order to be free subsequently; there is no difference, for him, between the human person and being-free. So freedom, for Sartre, should not be construed as a faculty of the human soul to be envisaged and described in isolation, that is, a property which belongs among others to the essence of the human being.4 He also asserts the inevitability of choice and responsibility that is bound with this freedom.

Most people have the tendency of attributing most of the failures in their lives to some causes external to them or to some other individuals, thereby giving in to the idea that human reality is controlled or preconditioned by some forces beyond it. One sees this kind of habit in the public and private lives of individuals. For example, in the area of politics, especially in Nigeria, many have come to believe that they cannot make it to a position without being placed there by some very influential persons. Again, many do not believe they have the power to change things by their votes. In the private aspect of life people easily give up and rely on fate to decide whether they are to progress or not.


1.2 Statement of the Problem  

Sartre’s theory of freedom has been vehemently and negatively criticized by many scholars as having an exaggerated idea of human freedom; and most previous works on Sartre’s notion of freedom were theoretical and analytical, little attention was given to its practical and ethical implications in the society. This study sets out to determine the tenability of Sartre’s theory of freedom and actions and to see if Sartre is a thoroughgoing advocate of absolute human freedom or not, and to examine the ethical, religious and social implications of Sartre’s theory of freedom and action.


1.3 Thesis of the Study

This work advances the thesis that Sartre’s view that man is always free and responsible can be a foundation for some sort of ethical and religious life, albeit that his claim that the idea of the divine is in conflict with human freedom is not tenable.

1.4 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this work is to expose Sartre’s theory of freedom and action and to appreciate his contribution to the ongoing debate on human freedom. The work does this by examining his presentation of the theory of freedom, its implications for action, and its strengths and weaknesses within the public and private domains.

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study will have both theoretical and practical importance. Its theoretical significance is that it will be a source of literature for further studies in this area. The practical significance stems from the attention that this study draws to in the aspect of daily human living where we have to make choices amidst different and various options, challenges and obstacles. The work intends to help people develop their potentials to the fullest, and to take responsibility for whatever failure they encounter as a result of their negligence. This will bring about commitment in public life since to choose to be indifferent about public affairs is to choose to accept whatever outcome the choice of others will bring about.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The scope of this study is limited to Jean Paul Sartre’s concept of human freedom and action. The work will, therefore, examine his doctrine of consciousness since it is in this that he develops most of his arguments for human freedom and action.

1.7 Research Methodology

This is a qualitative research. Data for this study were collected from books, journal articles and periodicals. The historical, expository and evaluative methods were used for this research. The study employed the historical method in order to situate the author within history. It used the expository method to expose Sartre’s theory in order to let his works speak for themselves. The evaluative method was also employed to ascertain the tenability of Sartre’s postulations.




With a pragmatist approach which he calls Ironism, Richard Rorty makes an attempt to eliminate metaphysics, and finally to replace philosophy with literature. What Rorty sees as metaphysics is the traditional philosophical view that mind or language represents the true nature of things, the universal and changeless essence of reality. And what he sees as Ironism, an attempt to eliminate metaphysics, is redescription of metaphysical concepts (such as truth, mind, reason, etc.). Redescription of the concepts means replacing their speculative metaphysical senses with pragmatic senses. For instance, Rorty argues that the word “truth” is not found, but made, because truth is not an objective reality out there, but a function of sentences made by humans. He argues that the word ‘mind’ is not an immaterial entity that mirrors reality, but the ability to use persuasion rather than force to make people do what one wants. When Rorty realized that redescription of vocabularies using theory cannot eliminate metaphysics because theory is about general ideas (the metaphysical), he then recommended use of novel in the place of theory for Ironism. He argues that literature should replace philosophy, because philosophy is not a search for truth, but a literary enterprise—arguments about what words to use. The objectives of this study are: (i) to expose Rorty’s Ironism in detail; (ii) to expose metaphysics itself which Ironism is made to eliminate; (iii) to evaluate Rorty’s claim that metaphysics or philosophy is replaceable by Ironism or literature; (iv) to argue that Ironism as an attempt to eliminate metaphysics is a misnomer and ill-founded; and (v) to create a new sub-branch of philosophy out of Rorty’s Ironism. Expository, evaluative and hermeneutic methods were used to achieve the objective. The conclusion of the study (which is its main thesis) is that Ironism is not opposed to metaphysics, but a pragmatist kind of metaphysics which is opposed to the idealist kind.

KEYWORDS: Ironism, metaphysics, redescription, creativity, innovation



  • Background to the Study

Based on a motivational book and two novels I wrote, I was called one day by a Catholic youth organization at Abakaliki to deliver a lecture on the art of creativity and innovation. The organizers of the programme wanted me to explain, in practical terms, how to use imagination to create literary works of art, especially novels.

Based on Egwu U. Egwu’s concept of creative thinking,1I explained that to create a new idea was to generate a mental image in one’s mind and to express it in writing. But when the parish priest, the special guest of honour, asked me to demonstrate the idea of generating mental images in one’s mind, I resorted to description of individuals’ actions, certain events and states of things. After this, he asked me to explain how my descriptions constitute images, and whether the images I was talking about existed outsides my descriptions, and I said yes. He then asked me where they existed, and I said that they existed in my mind. “Can you, without using words (descriptions), show us your mind and the images in it?” he asked me again. At this point, I became confused and helpless. The aim of the lecture was to teach the youth how to create practicable ideas, and not how to do a mere intellectual speculation. And if I argued that generation of images in my mind was different from my descriptions of the images, then how could I make a practical demonstration of how images were generated in my mind without using the descriptions of the images?

It was my failure to answer this intractable question that made the parish priest, who wrote his doctoral thesis on Richard Rorty’s philosophy of language, to refer me to Rorty’s most popular book titled Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity.2In this book, Rorty talks of an Ironist who redescribes final vocabularies (use of old words in new senses) to recreate himself rather than searching for truth as opposed to a metaphysician who searches for truth or the intrinsic essence of things. With this distinction, Rorty argues that philosophy is all about creation of new ideas with words, and not a search for truth (the essential), because truth is not an objective reality, but a function of sentences made by humans. Based on this, I realized that I was unable to explain imagination (creative thinking) in a practicable way, because I saw it in a speculative way as the metaphysician does. It was this experience that made me to choose Richard Rorty’s concept of Ironism as the topic of my doctoral thesis.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

The problem of the study is examination of Rorty’s claim that metaphysics and philosophy are replaceable by Ironism and literature.

1.3       Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is:(i) to explain the philosophical origin, development and use of Ironism which Richard Rorty is talking about; (ii) to do a detailed exposition of Rorty’s concept of Ironism as an attempt to eliminate metaphysics; (iii) to  do a detailed exposition of metaphysics as understood and done by philosophers for comparative analysis; (iv) to point out that the strength of Ironism is that it enables us to understand and explain creativity and innovation in an explicit rather than a speculative way, and the weakness is that Ironism  is not distinct from metaphysics but a pragmatist kind of metaphysics; and (v) to conclude that Rorty’s attempt to eliminate metaphysics, to replace philosophy with literature, did not succeed.

1.4       Thesis of the Study

            The study is made to demonstrate that Ironism as an attempt to eliminate metaphysics is a misnomer; that it is a philosophy of creativity and innovation, not a replacement for metaphysics, because metaphysics is unavoidable in linguistic pragmatism, literature and all other activities that involve use of words.

1.5       Explanation of Key Terms

(i)  Ironism: This is redescription of vocabularies aimed at elimination of metaphysics. Redescription of vocabularies means use of old words in new senses. Richard Rorty uses the term Ironism to describe Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, etc. as philosophers who oppose the traditional philosophy of essence in Plato, Descartes and Kant, by redescribing old vocabularies of Platonic metaphysics rather than searching for the essences of things, so as to create new kinds of philosophy for themselves.

(ii)  Metaphysics: This is the view that there is an essential or a necessary cause behind the existence of all contingencies—- things that are subject to change. It is the Platonic view that there exists a world of Forms or ideas which produce all material appearances, and that such a world is spiritual and eternal, while that of material appearances is physical and temporal. It is this Platonic view that there is that which is spiritual and changeless which Descartes, Kant, and other idealists are searching for through reasoning that Rorty calls metaphysics and strives to eliminate with Ironism.




This study emerged out of the need to understand the contemporary global tension and agitations for freedom and self expression at all levels. Such quests that have resulted in so much agitations, terrorism and even outright wars in diverse places are also a result of the great increase in human self-consciousness in recent times. People and nations are becoming highly conscious of pursuing their own identities and destinies as they deem fit without undue interference from any quarters. What are the properties of consciousness or self-consciousness? The purpose of this work is to provide an approximately satisfactory explanation to the problem of consciousness and self-consciousness. This is highly necessary today because the global question of terrorism and other social evils are products of diverse philosophical systems people subscribed to, and allowed to influence their attitudes to life, values, relationships and total existence.This work reveals that man is a unified self-conscious being because self-consciousness is the exclusive feature of the human person and the relationship between mental events and physical events is not a category mistake”. Man is a very complex being, he can feign behaviours purposefully to achieve his desired goal at any point in time. So, mental phenomena influence our behaviours, but they are not always expressible in or reducible to overt behavours.On the basis of the findings in this research it is our position here that, even if consciousness could arise from physical processes, it is not limited to it, for man is a unified self-consciousness being. Therefore, self-consciousness is the exclusive feature of the human person which is responsible for the much increase in the global quest for freedom and all agitations for self expressions both at the individual and the national levels.



  • Background of Study

This work is motivated by the global quest for freedom and self expression both at the individual and the national levels. Such quests that have resulted in much tension, agitation, terrorism and outright wars in diverse places are products of the great increase in human self consciousness in recent times. People and nations want to be themselves without undue interference from any quarter. Ordinarily people are always advised, “be yourself”. What is it to be a self? And what does it mean to be a particular self? It is obvious that in everything we do we adopt some conception of our identity, both as  persons and as an individual, whether we are called upon to articulate it or not.1 But what features are essential to being the person you are, and what features distinguish you from other persons?

Whatever our attempts to answer the questions of self identity are, they begin with a single ‘fact’, our own consciousness. But the question of consciousness remains a mystery of ‘general metaphysics’.2 It may be the most outstanding obstacle in the quest for a complete scientific understanding of the universe, inspite all the much progress already recorded. What is the nature of consciousness?

Another motivating factor for this research is the rising interest in the cognitivist theories, the cognitive science, artificial intelligence, etc which has provoked a renewed interest in the works of Gilbert Ryle especially The Concept of Mind. For instance, Daniel Dennet,3 a former student of Ryle has provided a systematic forward to the AD.2000 edition of The Concept of Mind. Ryle, therefore, remains a significant defender of the possibility of lucid and meaningful interpretation of higher – level human activities without recourse to an abstract soul, or self consciousness.

However, it seems that some intellectuals are still challenged about why there should be “some thing it is like” to be in a certain mental state or to be a certain kind of being. Such intellectuals like Gilbert Ryle outrightly deny this fact, because it seems utterly mysterious that human behaviours should be accompanied by a subjective consciousness or inner life experiences. It is against this background that this study undertakes a critical evaluation of Gilbert Ryle’s Concept of Mind with a view to demonstrate that self-consciousness is the distinctive feature of human beings.

  • Statement of Problem

Gilbert Ryle’s Concept of Mind  is a work highly commendable because of its efforts to eliminate all the mysterious issues about the mentals by translating the mental terminologies into statements of behaviour. By that Ryle presumed to have established criteria of proof for all mentalistic experiences, and thereby demystifying the concept of mind by removing the “category mistake”.

However, Ryle took a very narrow view of the scope of the human mind, the issue in question is not merely a linguistic problem, rather it is the issue about the basic problem of metaphysics  – the question about the real essence and substratum of the human person. It is the question about reality in relation to the human person.

What is the nature and properties of human consciousness? Can all mental events or processes be fully accounted for in terms of physical events and/or brain processes? What is the nature of the relationship between mental events (like conscious thoughts and experiences) and physical events (the associated brain processes)? What are the consequences and implications of the development of artificial intelligence to the human person? It is such ultimate metaphysical problems as stated above that this study is geared to solve or to provide approximately a satisfactory explanation.

Every other intractable question of human existence hinges on ones resolution of this question of consciousness.4 Example the questions of free will, immortality, morality, knowledge, values and purposes of life, etc. depends on the fact that there is an internal entity (myself) that constitute my ever flowing stream of consciousness, which underlies all the intentional actions characteristic of my personal identity. Again, if all mental events could be accounted for by the laws of physics, what implications does that hold for the human person.5 and the human society?

  • Purpose of Study

The purpose of this study is to provide an approximately satisfactory explanation to the problem of consciousness and self consciousness. This is necessary here because whichever philosophical system one subscribes to in this issue goes along way to influence ones total existence, attitudes to life, values and relationships in the world.

Our aim is to critically evaluate Gilbert Ryle’s concept of mind with a view to demonstrate that self-consciousness is the distinctive feature of the human person. Any relevant insight this study offers to enhance our understanding of the nature and relations of mental events and physical events associated with them fulfills the purpose of this study.

  • Thesis

The thesis proposed and demonstrated in this work is that man is a unified self-conscious being because self-consciousness is the exclusive feature of the human person and the relationship between mental events and physical events are not merely logical, but etiological (i.e) generative, or as given.

  • Scope of Study

This work is centred on the exposition and evaluation of Gilbert Ryle’s work: The Concept of Mind. The scope of this work is limited to the evaluation of our textual guide, The Concept of Mind and other related works of Ryle.

  • Significance ofthe Study

The significance of this work is that a good understanding of the question of consciousness will greatly enhance the scientific understanding of the universe at large. As David Hudgson wrote, “if a satisfactory answer can be found and justified, it could inturn provide substantial insight into — the human conditions which are well beyond the scope of science”.6 This is a study that is concerned with questions central to human life and purpose.  Such unresolved questions on human existence, human identity, immortality, determinism, etc. are major issues that affect people’s lives, attitudes, values and relationships. A basic understanding of the nature of the mind, the human person or self, the interaction of mind and body or the manifestation of the mind through the body will automatically enhance people’s image of themselves, value for human life, better attitude to work, living with a sense of purpose and respect for cultural values and fundamental human rights.

A better understanding of the relationship between mind and matter or mind and brain, and a clear understanding of the scope of artificial intelligence and human mind will go a long way in revolutionalizing the work ethics in the modern society. Therefore, this work is highly relevant to professional philosophers and students, to the whole body of academics and to the general reader.

  • Research Methodology

This study adopted the qualitative research design. The materials were sourced from the books and journals collected from the departmental, University and the state libraries as well as from the internet. The historical, analytical, expository and evaluative research methods were adopted where necessary. We organized and analysed the data historically based on the various periodization of Greek philosophy. Therefore, these strategies together formed the methodology of this academic inquiry.




Globalization and economic development in Nigeria is one of the results of colonialism. It widens the gap between the rich and the poor; hence it is force of inequality which enslave the African nations and it economy. Globalization is not a course in totality but it is relative on the impact it has for each economy, whether developed or underdeveloped since it opens an avenue for each economy to compete in global market without restriction. The research work on globalization and economic development in Nigeria uses analysis, exposition and evaluation as its method of inquiry. It is a burden of this research to suggest a best possible solution on how Nigeria will develop both material and human resources without any resources left unutilized just as the developed nations of the world. At the end, all Nigerians will have equal access to the national resources without robbing the future generation what nature has endowed to all mankind


Globalization is the process of making the world economically interconnected in the modern form. Globalization and economic is a twin brother of development . Globalization is a process by which free movement of ideas,capital flow, information and technology are moved across borders and national boundaries which result in the integration of the world economies. Just as Heraditussays  that change is the only permanent thing in the  world, globalization is a phenomenon that was brought by change. And man ever since creation has been craving for change.

Nigeria after the formal independence in 1960, the political elites saw that the pursuit of power as the dominant theme for politics, this had left the nation in bad condition. Consequently the ethnics of business has penetrated politics and politics was seen as equivalent warfare. This had added to the fact that Nigeria obtained political independence but not economic independence compounded problems for the young nation. Like in the colonial era, the economy still reacted to the vagaries in the international market. Nigeria incorporate into the international market as capitalist market as a junior partner which started with the supply of continued unaltered with supply of commodities like palm oil,cocoa, groundnut, cotton etc. even crude oil, then she later become the greatest foreign exchange in the nation Nigeria in Africa. But the context of dependence between Nigeria and it formal colonial master did not change with independence, only the context did. The structure  of dependence on western nations and exploitation of peasant producers as well as the expatriate domination of investment opportunities. The indigenous entrepreneur became an intermediary between foreign interest and indigenous polity and economy and they turn to state as a source of capital and contract. The pursuit of power became easy and access to wealth and fame. Politics became a “dirty business”, its practitioners scheming and crafting. Access to resource  including opportunity for profit making, thus require favor of those who control private and public institutions which allocate them.

Polities thus affords the “opportunity”  to acquire wealth and prestige to be able to distribute benefits in the form of job, contracts, scholarship and gift of money and so on to the  allies. The difference among region and ethnic group in the power equation, discrimination in favor of  particular groups, where access to office and it spoils is the object of politics. It is on these compounded  problem , that research on globalization and economic development in Nigeria is looking forward to suggest the best solution for the national development. And never to depend on dogmatically in the international policies which has utility in the short basis and consequential effect in a long run.




This work is an examination of Quine’s naturalized epistemology. Prior to Quine’s call for the naturalization of epistemology, there were attempts to establish a solid foundation upon which the edifice of knowledge can be built on. This search was attempted by Rene Descartes and Rudolf Carnap in their epistemological programs. The failure of the Carnapian and Cartesian foundationalism and also the inability of epistemologist to effectively deal with the Gettier problem led Quine to advocate for the naturalization of epistemology. He argues that epistemology should embrace the methods of science as the foundation of its operation in other to have certainty in epistemology as found in the natural science. The problem here is that it is not clear how a normative discipline like epistemology will be part of natural science. This work therefore examines Quine’s naturalized epistemology with a view to access what becomes of epistemology if naturalized. In order to achieve this objective, this work presents the Cartesian and the Carnapian epistemology, the traditional account of knowledge, the Gettier problem and it responses as well as Quine’s naturalized epistemology. Finally, it examines the possibility of naturalizing epistemology in view of its normative status.


Cover Page      –           –                          –           –           –           –           i

Title Page        –           –         –           –           –           –           –           ii

Declaration     –           – –           –           –           –           –           –           iii

Certification    –              –           –           –           –           –           –           iv

Dedication       –           –        –           –           –           –           –           –           v

Acknowledgement      –            –           –           –           –           –           –           vi

Abstract          –           –            –           –           –           –           –           viii

Table of Contents       –     –           –           –                       –           –           ix


1.1    Background of the  Study       –           –           –           –           –           –           1

1.2    Statement of  the Research Problem           –           –           –           3

1.3    Objectives of the Study               –      –           –           –           –           –           3

1.4    Significance of the Study —           –           –           –           –           –           4

1.5    Justification of the Study –             –           –           –           –           –           4

1.6    Method of the Study                        –           –           –           –           4

1.7    Scope of the Study           –           –           –           –           –           –           4

1.8    Clarification of Key Terms        –           –           –           –           –           5

1.9    Organization of the Study                 –           –           –           –           –           7



3.1       Biographical Sketch of W.V.O. Quine         –           –           –           20

3.2       The Philosophical Background of Quine’s Naturalized Epistemology 21
3.2.1    Traditional Epistemology               –           –           –           –           22

3.2.2    The Gettier Problem    –              –           –           –           –           23

3.2.3    Responses to the Gettier Problem           –           –           –           –           25

3.2.4    Foundationalism         –           –         –           –           –           –           28

3.3       Quine’s Naturalized Epistemology            –           –           –           –           30


Evaluation       –           –           –       –           –           –           –           –           35

Conclusion      –           –           –         –           –           –           –           –           –           38

Works Cited   –           –                   –           –           —          –           –           40



1.1       Background of the Study

           The major concern of the early philosophers like Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes was on the nature of things; they tried to state the ultimate principle or element of the universe. Following the failure of these philosophers to provide a universal truth about the ultimate principle of the universe, philosophers then changed focus to the problem of human knowledge, asking if it was possible for human mind to discover any universal truth. This gave rise to skepticism. The first sets of the skeptics were the sophists. They held that it is impossible to obtain any universal truth as individuals projects their perception into the nature of things. Protagoras, a leading sophist believed that knowledge is limited to our various perceptions and these perceptions differ. For instance if two people observe the same thing, their sensation would not be the same because the observers occupy a different position in relation to the object. So for him, man is the measure of all things, of the things that are, that they are and of the things that are not that they are not (Idang 125). Based on the above, Protagoras concluded that knowledge is subjective, and this forms the basis of moderate skepticism. While Protagoras held that knowledge is subjective to persons and situations or circumstances, Gorgias held that there is no truth at all. He based his judgment on three propositions, (i) that nothing exist, (ii) and even if anything exists it is incomprehensible, (iii) even if it is comprehensible it cannot be communicated. Based on this, Gorgias was convinced that objective knowledge is not possible and universal truth is not attainable. This view forms the basis of radical skepticism.

           The skeptics challenge about the possibility of objective knowledge was a treat to human knowledge. The challenge was so serious that people were made to doubt their very own existence. This led Plato to respond to the skeptic challenge; he describes how the human mind achieves knowledge. He did this in his allegory of the cave, his metaphor of the divided line, and his doctrine of form. For him, objective knowledge or universal truth is possible, he defined knowledge in his Theaetetus (201) as “true belief based on argument” which was later translated as “justified true belief”, and this definition of knowledge is generally taken to be the traditional definition of knowledge.

            For many years, knowledge was seen as justified-true-belief until Gettier came up with an essay in 1963 in which he presented two cases to show that there was a problem with the traditional account of knowledge. “Gettier’s thought experiments seem to show that the traditional account was inadequate by proving that someone could have a justified true belief that was not knowledge” (Ibrahim 135).This gave rise to the Gettier problem. Since then, various attempts have been made to state sufficient conditions for someone to know a given proposition. This in turn gave rise to the search for the fourth condition of knowledge which led to so many theories like the defeasibility theory, the causal theory, the reliability theory, the integrative theory and so on.

           Following the failure to provide a fourth condition that will be sufficient for someone to say that he or she knows a particular proposition for certain, and also the failure of the foundational programs of Rene Descartes and Rudolf Carnap  Willard Van Orman Quine proposed that instead of philosophers to continue searching for a fourth condition of knowledge, epistemology should be naturalized so that the methods of the sciences will be applied to the study of epistemology and when this happen, epistemology will be regarded as science or part of natural science. This is because of the level of objectiveness and certainty that Quine discovered in natural science. So for him, if epistemology is studied using the methods of science.

1.2       Statement of the Research Problem

The central problem of this research is that W.V.O Quine in his naturalized epistemology shifted attention from the issues bordering epistemologist and propose for a naturalize way of studying epistemology. By this he tried to dodge the problem of knowledge instead of solving it. The question that arises is that; if epistemology is naturalized can objective knowledge be acquired? And also can it provide a fourth condition of knowledge that will be universally acceptable? This work will examine Quine naturalized epistemology to see if epistemology can actually be naturalized.

1.3       Objective of the Study

The major aim of this work is to examine W.V.O Quine’s naturalized epistemology. Other objectives include:

i.                    to show how Quine arrived at his naturalized epistemology

ii.                  to expose  Quine’s naturalized epistemology

iii.                to show the challenges of naturalized epistemology to traditional epistemology

1.4       Significance of the Study

This work is significant in the sense that it examines Quine’s naturalized epistemology and its contribution to the search for the fourth condition of knowledge

1.5       Justification of the Study

            This work is justified on the basis that it projects Quine’s theory of knowledge; it shows the influence of Quine in the field of epistemology.

1.6       Method of the study

             The method of this research is essentially library based as it consulted and made use of relevant materials and literature in the field of epistemology and related fields. Such materials include textbooks, journals and internet sources. This work also employed the philosophical method of conceptual clarification, critical evaluation as well as analysis. In this regards, it helps the researcher to critically examine W.V.O Quine naturalized epistemology.

1.7       Scope of the study

            The scope of this work is limited to W.V.O Quine naturalized epistemology. At such it focuses on Quine contribution to epistemology.

1.8       Clarification of Key Terms

          i.                        Epistemology: It is also refer to as theory of knowledge. Epistemology is derived from two Greek words, ‘episteme’ which means knowledge and ‘logos’ which means ‘study or theory of’. Thus; epistemology is the theory or study of knowledge. It is the branch of philosophy that studies the nature of knowledge, scope of knowledge, how it knowledge is acquired and whether knowledge is possible (Pence 18). Its fundamental question include the origin of knowledge, the place of experience in generating knowledge, the relationship between knowledge and certainty, and between knowledge and impossibility of error, the possibility of universal skepticism and the changing forms of knowledge that arise from new conceptualizations of the world (Blackburn 118).

        ii.                        Knowledge: Ever since Plato’s definition of knowledge as justify true belief was pointed out to be incomplete by Gettier, epistemologist have tried to identify the essential, defining components of knowledge. A prominent traditional view, suggested by Plato is that propositional knowledge has three individual necessary and jointly sufficient components, justification, true and belief. On this view knowledge is by definition, justified true belief. This is the tripartite definition that has come to be called the standard analysis (Audi 274).

      iii.                        Truth: As one of the condition of the traditional analysis of knowledge. Something is true when we genuinely know that P only if it is the case that P (Audi 274-275).

      iv.                        Belief: This requires that anybody who knows a proposition or statement must belief in that proposition or statement (Audi 274).

        v.                        Justification: Knowledge is not simply true belief. Some true beliefs are supported only by lucky guesswork and hence do not qualify as knowledge. Knowledge requires that the satisfaction of its belief condition be “appropriately related” to the satisfaction of its truth condition. This is one broad way of understanding the justification condition of the traditional account of knowledge (Audi 275).

      vi.                        Naturalism: This is the view that ultimately nothing resists explanation by the methods of the natural sciences (Blackburn 309). It holds that everything is composed of natural entities (Audi 596).