Existentialism: I – Thou Relationship in Gabriel Marcel

I – Thou Relationship in Gabriel Marcel: An Existentialist Analysis

 CHAPTER TWO

 2.0 MARCEL’S SIGNIFICANT I-THOU

2.1     EXISTENTIALIST’S APPROACH TO I-THOU.

Existentialism has appeared as a philosophical reaction against the scientific humanism that prevailed in the early part of the nineteenth century.1 One could be correct not to call it a philosophy, but a type of philosophy.  It is so flexible that it appeared widely in differing forms, such as the atheism of Sartre, the Catholicism of Marcel, the Protestantism of Kierkegaard, the Judaism of Buber and the orthodoxy of Berdgaeu.2  The term “Existentialism” is more often used as a general name for a number of thinkers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries who made the concrete individual central to their thought.  Just for this confidence, Omoregbe titled existentialism, ‘the most influential philosophical movement in this century’3 and suggest that it is better to describe it as a movement rather then as a school.  In a broader sense, it arose as a backlash against philosophy; such a relational critique on traditional philosophy that exalts the individual by concentrating on the profundity and potentialities of human action and dynamism.  Hegel’s abstractions and absolute idealism accord no importance to the individual man and the concrete realities of existence.  Thus, the existentialists made the individual man and his life experience, the central point of their philosophy in order to bring philosophy down to earth and make it bear on concrete human experiences. Read More »

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Common Good and the Nigeria Police

The Nigeria Police and Mockery of Common Good (A Critical Investigation)

CHAPTER TWO

  1. O COMMON GOOD

A consideration of the idea of common good stirs-up the question: why are civil societies formed? It is of this question that J. Omoregbe holds that the society does not just exist only to cater for the egoistic interest of a few unscrupulous and greedy individuals; rather it exists to ensure that every member of society gets a fair share of the goods which belong to all.1

There is, in the society, co-operation by all members for the realization of societal existential ends or mutual completion. The common good could be seen as a good that is of general welfare, collective and distributive. It is in line with this that A. Gonsalves avers: Read More »

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Addiction and Freedom in Gerald G. May

Notion Addiction and Freedom in Gerald G. May

 

CHAPTER TWO

2.0     LITERATURE REVIEW

Having introduced the topic of our discussion in this long – essay and outlined the modus operandi the researcher wishes to apply, it is now time for us to try to present how other philosophies through the ages viewed freedom as a philosophical topic.

 2.1            Ancient Period:

In the opinion of philosophers like Mondin, “the problem of freedom did not receive a meaningful attention in this era”6, because they were concerned with finding the foundations of the cosmos. J.B. Akam also thinks along this line when he wrote, that ‘‘among the ancient philosophers, from the pre- Socratics to Plotinus, none gave freedom the attention it deserved’’.7. He maintained all the same that Aristotle had a coined word which has a close meaning to the notion of some mental state that must precede action. This word “Pro – airesis’’ which means the choice between two possibilities or rather the preference that makes me choose an action instead of another”8. Also some of the concepts that could be sieved out in their discourses made an allusion to what is to be the bone of contention about freedom, among the philosophers. Mondin outlined “three principal reasons why Greek thought was not able to effectuate a satisfying enquiry into the problem of freedom”9. Read More »

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Universal Causation: Human Freedom in John Hospers

Universal Causation and Its Relation to Human Freedom   in    John Hospers

CHAPTER TWO

THE MAN JOHN HOSPERS AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE CONCEPT – CAUSALITY

The term “Causality” is as old as man on earth.  Man found himself in a world with much complexities, fluctuations and stabilities.  Hence all these in one way or the other affect him as he is, and as he must continue to live in the world.  The curiosity to know the ultimate origin and constitutes of things always occupy him.

In this chapter we are going to see how different people of different times battled with the problem of ‘causality’.  John Hospers, a Professor in Philosophy1, made wonderful impact in the world of contemporary thought.  He tackled the issue of ‘causality’.  In his thoughts, he explained most of the confusing elements in the discourse of causality.

John Hospers drew a lot of inspiration from the philosophers before him, especially David Hume, whom he exposed his thoughts and gave useful comments.  His full life history, (to be discussed bellow) reveals his real worth in the scholastic world.

2.1 THE LIFE HISTORY OF JOHN HOSPERS:

John Hospers has his nationality as the United States of America.  He is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California.  Hospers was born on 9th June 1918.  He was a politician by profession.  He was the first presidential candidate of the United States Libertarian Party.  “According to the Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, He took part in the 1972 Presidential Election.  He and his Vice-President running mate, Theodora Nathan, received one electoral vote from Roger MacBride, a Republican elector from Virginia.  Because of his unsuccessful presidential aspiration, he also ran for governor for California as a libertarian in 1974.

John Hospers earned advanced degrees from the University of Lowa and Columbia University and taught in the field of Philosophy and aesthetics.  Early in his career he taught Philosophy at Brooklyn College and at California Sate University, Los Angeles.  He is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the university of Southern California.

His books include: Meaning and truth in the Arts; Introduction to Philosophical Analysis (now in the fourth edition); the book we follow in this work; Human Conduct (now in third edition); understanding the Arts.   He was editor of three anthologies and has contributed to books edited by others.   He has authored about 150 articles in various scholarly and popular journals.  He is the editor of Liberty Magazine.  He endorsed George W. Bush for President of the United States in 2004.  (From the Internet: Google com.)

2.2 THE CONCEPT OF CAUSALITY IN THE DIFFERENT EPOCHS

Following the dictum of Aristotle that “man is a rational animal”, the concept of causality is in accordance with man’s nature.  He tries to give account of the empirical changes, developments, and coming into existence or new forms of things in the material universe.  Just as Paul Edward would have it:

A cause has traditionally been thought of as that which produces something and in terms of that which is produced, its effect, can be explained3

Man on earth, therefore, could not fail to convince himself that he could not explain, at least, most of the happenings around him.

Again, since the material universe remains a mystery to man, from origin, people who tried to give explanations on ‘causality’ or the ‘constitute of the universe’, with natural human reason, are marked as first philosophers.   What is today known as Western Philosophy is classified into four different periods called epoch.  Each epoch has its philosophical thoughts. In fact, each has some contributions to our main topic ‘causation’.  The periods preceding the latter ones serve as the root or stepping stone to the succeeding periods.  These periods include: Ancient, Medieval, Modern and Contemporary Periods.  The Ancient marks the origin while Contemporary means this our present time.  We are now going to see their different contributions on our major topic.

2.2.1.  ANCIENT/MEDIEVAL PERIODS:

The early Greeks or Miletian philosophers were filled with wonder about the material universe.  They observed two principles – that is, unity and diversity. Certain events maintain definite way of acting while others do not!  They tried to discover the ultimate ‘substratum’ of things.  The ‘principle’ that is neither generated nor destroyed but, from which particular object arise, and into which they pass away.  This made Thales, Anaximenes and Anaximander to hold that primary matter in the universe is Water, Air and Unknown Elements respectively”4

Furthermore “Empedocles held that there are two forces in the world: love and strife.  They are responsible for the evolutionary changes in the world”5.  This means that it is the interaction of these human psychological states that cause the things in the universe. We had other opinions from later Greek philosophers.  Let us look at Plato’s views.

Plato, a later Greek philosopher, seeing all the interpretation given by the early Greek philosophers, followed a different course.  He gave a metaphysical interpretation of the material universe.  This he did by postulating the forms, which things have.

  1. Edward puts it thus: “Plato…often spoke as if the explanation of all things would be achieved simply by discovering their forms”6.  According to Aristotle, Plato used two causes only, that of the ‘essence’ and ‘material cause’ because Plato placed the forms, which are the cause of the essence of things apart from the things of which they are the essence.

Aristotle follows Plato as a Later Greek Philosopher.  He found the thoughts of his predecessors one-sided.  He rather classifies causes into four main parts, which include; efficient cause, material cause, final cause and formal cause. “Efficient Cause,” (causa quod) means that by which a change is brought about… a statue is produced by a sculptor (its efficient cause) by his imposing changes upon a piece of marble (its material cause) for the purpose of possessing a beautiful object (its final cause), the marble thereby acquiring a form, or distinctive properties, of a statue (its formal cause)7.

With Aristotle the invention of ‘efficient and formal causes’ first, emerged. The Miletians could speak of ‘immaterial cause’ and Plato, the ‘formal cause’.  In fact the Aristotelian thought on ‘causality’ is the most comprehensive ever known.  Medieval thinkers definitely continue from him.   Early Medieval philosophers like St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, John Scotus Erigena etc., did not contribute directly on the issue of ‘universal causation’, but later medieval thinkers like James of Metz, Durandus, Petrus Aureoli, Henry of Harclay etc., contributed in what is called Ockhamism.  This means sharing in the doctrine of William of Ockham.  According to Ockham the four types of causes postulated by Aristotle hold.  He also accepted a fifth one given by Seneca, though not strictly a cause.  It is put like this:

I say that strictly speaking nothing is a ‘Cause’ unless it is a   ‘Cause’ in one of the four ways laid down by Aristotle.  So the idea or exemplar, is not strictly a cause; though if one extends the name “cause” to (cover) everything the knowledge of which is presupposed by the production of something, the idea or exemplar, is a cause in this sense…8

The above means that Ockham accepts the four well-known causes, of Aristotle: formal, material, final and efficient causes respectively. He further believed that characteristics exhibited by a thing, also portrays its causal background.

Going further, he believes that our mere knowledge of a thing is never (in any way) a guarantee that we know its cause.

Furthermore Ockham exhibited empirical attitude in laying down his doctrine on causality.  He believes that our knowledge of ‘causal relation’ is from no other source than from our sense perception.  According to him,

… Though one may know that a given thing has a cause, the only way in which we can ascertain that this definite thing is by experience.  We cannot prove by abstract reasoning that X is the cause of Y, where X is one created thing and Y is another created thing9.

He disbelieves any causal knowledge being a priori.  In fact, his thoughts influenced most of our modern and contemporary philosophers to be seen next.

2.2.2 MODERN PERIOD

In the modern era, more distinctions were made on ‘cause’.  Spinoza, and many others, gave and distinguished between two causes.  These include ‘immanent’ cause and ‘transuent’ cause. The former refers to that change which happened within itself.  Example is a man who produced his own voluntary motions and thoughts.  “Transuent” on the other hand is that which produces change in something else.

In fact the above understanding of ‘causation’ are no longer in use.  More modern thoughts on our topic are from John Stuart and Thomas Reid.  They gave what is called “physical’ causes.  This is distinguished from ‘efficient’ cause.  He considered the concept of efficient cause as that of the esoteric.  This means that which is well understood only by the actor.  This means it is subjective or personal, “physical cause”, the causation of a voluntary act by an agent”10.

Here though, the agent just like in physical cause does it, but here, there is the emphasis on the voluntariness.  No any kind of non-deliberation or diminision of freedom.  Thus every physical cause is also efficient while not every efficient cause also is physical cause.

Here again, R. C. Collinwood distinguished between three senses of a cause, thus:

The first being the causation of a voluntary act by an agent, the second being something which in nature, and the third being a condition or set of conditions in nature which invariably accompanied by some change, whether these conditions are within man’s control or not.11

Here he means the second type as a means to an end and the most important one Douglas Gasking had similar thought.

There are lots of fluctuations on the ‘causal issues’.  For the contemporary man, however, the concept of causality is only that of efficient cause or physical cause.  There are many problems facing the contemporary man.  Let us look at some of them before going into that of John Hospers.

2.2.3 CONTEMPORAL ERA

Contemporary thoughts on the issue of ‘causality’, is more of a puzzles and problems not solved from previous times.  According to P. Edwards,

There remains two important philosophical questions concerning

causation that have not been satisfactorily resolved.  These are:

  1. whether the concept of power or causal efficacy is, after all,

essential to the understanding of causal connections and

  1. whether there is after all, any kinds of necessary connection between a cause and its effect. A third question which is derived from these, is whether the causal relation has a temporal direction i.e. whether causes must precede its effect and if so, why.12

Just as we shall see with the thoughts of David Hume, a preceding philosopher before the contemporary era, the issue of ‘causation’ denies man of conclusive proof, hence in his accepting causation, he is only confirming what his sense perception has indicated and might not be able to give further evidence.  Thus the modern man argues whether the understanding of the moving force that brings about an effect is essential in order to understand cause?  The second one, whether there is any necessary connection, would be lavishly looked at in the thoughts of John Hospers.

Another problem with the contemporary thinkers is that it appears that there is no philosophical way to determine whether ‘causation’ is universal, whether ‘every occurrence has a cause’ or whether the ‘same or similar cause always have the same or similar effects’.

Here both the universality and uniformity of causation are widely held, but many writers (A. E. Taylor, for example) consider them to be only practical postulates or maxims.  We shall see the minds of Hospers on these from the third chapter.

CHAPTER FOUR

4.1 THE CAUSAL PRINCIPLE AND SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATIONS

In this chapter we are going to look at what it means when we talk about the ‘Causal Principle’.  We often talk of ‘one thing causing another’, thinking that we understand what we are talking about.  Thus, the question that runs through this chapter and the effort to supply the answer is, is there for every event in the universe, a set of conditions such that if the conditions, C are all fulfilled, the event E, invariably occurs?  The above is what is referred to as the Universal Causation  or  Causal Principle.  Should that be discovered, it is as well the foundation and principle of all scientific investigations. John Hospers brought out the fundamental problem around the  ‘Causal Principle’, as well addressed it thus:

every time all the  conditions in C (cause) are fulfilled, E (effect)

occurs”.  But E is a particular individual event, and particular

events never recur.  Events like them may occur, but the particular

events never recur.  Events like them may occur, but the particular

event E, once it has occurred, is gone forever. How, then, are we

going to interpret the specification E recurs?1

 

“Exactness’ is the key to certitude”, that makes scientific investigations possible and forms its essence.  In Causal principle we, rather, give meaning of terms their exact implications.  One can then say that ‘for every class of events E in the universe, there is a class of conditions C, such that whenever an instance of C occurs, an instance of E invariably occurs too (Cfr. Hospers p. 308).  Meanwhile let us go straight to examine the empirical interpretations.

4.2 THE EMPIRICAL INTERPRETATIONS:

We are going to consider causal relations in events, as much as our sense perception could supply. In this area still, we find difficulties determining whether there is, whether it can be discovered and whether it would ever remain the case in future that certain groups of conditions (cause) produce certain class of events – (effects).  Let us consider this simple event – ‘trees blown down’.

It is true that whenever a member of a class of conditions C (wind blowing against tree is fulfilled) a member of class of events E (tree falling down) invariably occurs?  According to Hospers, the answer is No. We must add endless qualification e.g. the wind must blow hard enough (and how hard is that?); the tree must be fragile  (at least more than so fragile – and how is this fragility to be defined here?); etc.  Other factors include the velocity and direction of the wind, the shape of the tree, its position among other trees and buildings, and its relation to the surrounding terrain.

Remember we are trying to give that set of conditions which when present, a tree is felled by wind, unfailingly. The above example reveals that not only that it would be so numerous, but its exactness is almost completely undiscoverable.  This is one of the problems.  Hospers held that, though, we cannot boast of finding those conditions that when present, certain kinds of events invariably happen; we do not just abandon it.  We have been able to discover some of them after rigorous years  of research.  Others would be discovered in future, while we might not be able to discover some at all.  “For the fact that some cannot be discovered testifies to our ignorance and never a denial of existence, hence nature is uniform”2

Note that the causal principle can never be disproved.  That we do not or cannot discover the ‘cause’ of an event does not mean it has none, but we cannot discover them.  Our looking at a priori interpretations would make things clearer.  According to Hospers, we hold the causal principle as a priori proposition.

There is the possibility that two identical conditions give rise to  different

results. Or vice versa.  Take for instance that two identical conditions be

C1 and C1, identical events as E1 and E1, non identical conditions

C1 and C2, and non identical events as E1 an E2. there would be four

possibilities:

 

  1.        C1      E1                2.      C1         E1

C1      E1                         C2         E2

 

  1. C1     E1                 4.      C1        E1

C2     E                         C      E2

3

The first offers no difficulty.  Identical, conditions, leading to identical events.  The second number has no problem too:  non-identical events.  Even the number three would probably be admitted: non-identical conditions leading to identical events.  This is arrive at by plurality of causes already seen where two different conditions produce the same result.  The fourth number, however, would not be admitted: identical conditions leading to non-identical events.  If there is always (it would be said) some difference in the conditions leading to that outcome whether we ever find it or not, or we say they are not the causes.

Still with reference to the number four, the causal principle is never abandoned or disbelieved even when identical conditions produce in-identical events, we always say we have not discovered the difference.  If the two events took place at different times, we rather, would even attribute the differences to time lapsed.

“Suppose a student in freshman Chemistry reports (and he is not

deliberately lying) that when he tested for the melting point of

lead it turned out to be different from what Chemistry book said.

His teacher without further ado would say that the student make

a mistake in his experiment than that the melting point of lead is

not what the Chemistry book says… the melting point of lead is

something that has been tested empirically thousand times…

If not only the freshman, but, trained chemists kept reporting that

the melting point of lead was different from the figure given in the

text books, a through investigation would be conducted and, if

further tests – bore out the student’s claim, the generalization about

the melting point of lead would be revised4

 

The above action is normally what is done in regard to empirical generalization.  But in the case of the ‘Causal Principle’, even if there arose complete alteration of normal course which events follow, we never could say that the causal principle is false or should be changed.  Hospers spoke on this when he said:

“…What observation of the universe would ever make us abandon

The Cause Principle?  Apparently, none at all.   If the universe were

different from what it now is, if few or no uniformities were

discoverable in it, we would not have to reject the principle as false.

Instead of saying, ‘the generalization has now been refuted’, we need

only say, “Events still have causes; they are just so much harder

to discover these days.5

 

The above is the unique character of the Causal Principle.  It is a priori to human mind hence it is derived from experience.  Let us look at the same as a leading principle of scientific investigation.

4.3 THE CAUSAL PRINCIPLE AS A LEADING PRINCIPLE OF SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATION:

Under this section we look at the ‘Causal Principle’ (its nature), comparing it with ‘non prepositional statements’ and laws, and then establish its relevance to scientific investigations.

The term ‘proposition’ needs to be well understood here.  By the term, we mean any meaningful statement which states a state of affair which can either be true or false.  A meaningless or inconceivable assertions do not express any proposition.  For someone to say, for example that “Saturday is in bed”, unless he made it know earlier that there is other meaning(s) given to “Saturday”.  But if he meant that the seventh day of the Week is in bed!  Not only that there is no proposition expressed, but that is a meaningless assertion.  It is an empty statement.  Just like “Kant who is an empiricist would not believe anything metaphysical but simply, not only reducing them as false, but nonsense or meaningless”6

‘Causal Principle’ also, is neither true nor false but merely states a rule which can be proved true or false.  Hospers affirms this when he said;  “The Causal Principle is neither a posteriori (an empirical statement) nor a priori, because it is not a proposition at all, and not being a proposition is neither true nor false”7  Causal Principle is, merely, prescriptive of the reality which can then be evaluated.  It is then a guide to discovering scientific principles.

The Causal Principle is a kind of leading principle of scientific investigation; by employing it, we are led to find more and more causal conditions.  Though neither true nor false, its adoption (not the rule itself, but the adoption of the rule) can be justified pragmatically, by its effects8

The above means that when there are much complexities to account for an event, it only means that we cannot account for it at that time, future empirical discoveries can make it possible.  It simply means that one factor or the other, or even the complexities are responsible for our not being able to give the causal account.  It is never in any way a disproof of the ‘Causal Principle’.  Rather each time we are able to discover ‘causes of events’, we are said to have confirmed the Causal Principle.  We are now going to compare it with other scientific principles.

4.4 COMPARISM OF THE CAUSAL PRINCIPLE WITH OTHER SCIENTIFIC PRINCIPLE:

From the above-considered facts about the causal principle, we see the similarity with other empirical sciences.  Should one consider the “law of conservation of Energy”, it is through the means of observation of nature that it was arrived at.  The same is also true of the ‘Causal Principle’.  Constant or regular similar results from these laws create the prejudice to hold tenaciously to them even if one should discover contrary result anytime.

Again the ‘Causal Principle shares the rule of ‘no action at a distance’.  This means that for a causal relation to exist or any scientific phenomenon, there is never a complete vacuum between the cause and effect.  Hospers brought it more clearly in a vivid example.

The Principle of “no action at a distance’ is another case in point.  At one time, it was thought that whenever C causes E, there is  some physical contact between C and E that even if C and E are separate, there is a continuous series of contiguous events that can be traced between them.  You hold one end of the poker in the fire, and, three feet away, the handle in our fingers becomes hot.  But of course, this is because the rapid motion of the molecules of iron that are in the fire is transmitted along the poker until it reaches your hand.  The same hold true of convection currents.  Or a bell rings  a mile away and produces a disturbance in your ear and, via your ear, in your brain.  The bell is not contiguous to your ear, but the bell and your ear are connected by particles of air that transmit sound wave from the one to the other by immediate contact of the molecules.  If between the two there were a vacuum, the soun waves would never reach your ear.  Thus the ringing of the  bell causes the event in your brain through a whole series contiguous events.  “All causation  …there is no action at diatance9

We saw that the ‘Causal Principle’ as far as empirical phenomenon is concerned shares the same source with other scientific investigation.  The only difference is that it is like the laws of thoughts or ‘principle of logic’, which prove every other truth, but they themselves are never proved.

UNIVERSAL CAUSATION AND ITS RELATION TO HUMAN FREEDOM   IN    JOHN HOSPERS

related philosophy project topics and materials

1 S. E Stumpf., Philosophy, History and Problem; USA,  McGraw-Hill, 1971,  p. 752

3 P. Edward., The Encyclopedia of philosophy; New York, Macmillan Co. 1967 p. 57

4 J. Omoregbe.,  A Simplified Western Philosophy; Lagos, Jaja Educational Research Ltd., 1991, Vol. 1 p. 5

5 P. Edward, Op. cit. p. 57

6 Ibid.

7 Ibid

8 F. Copestone., Late Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy,; London, Continuum, 1953, vol. 3, p. 71

9 Ibid p. 72

10 P. Edward Op. Cit. p. 57

11 Ibid

12 Ibid. p. 60

1 John Hospers., Op. Cit. p. 304

2 Ibid p. 309

3 Ibid p. 315

4 Ibid p. 316

5 Ibid

6 C. Ekwutosi., Unpublished Lectures on Kant, Pope John Paul II Major Seminary, Awka, 2005., p 3

7 John Hospers., Op. Cit. p. 317

8 Ibid

9 Ibid. p. 319

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Hegelian Historical Dialectics to Multi-Ethnic Nigeria

The Relevance of Hegelian Historical Dialectics to Multi-Ethnic Nigeria

CHAPTER TWO

LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1   PLATO’S NOTION OF THE APPEARANCE AND IDEAL.

The Greek philosopher of the Socratic era, Plato is one of the ancient philosophers whose thoughts have had so much impact on subsequent thoughts that it appears that what Philosophers of the medieval and modern eras have been doing is a sort of an effort to understand and to contend with their ideas. However much Plato has made efforts to touch all aspects of philosophy, the effort here would be to delineate elements of dialectics in his philosophy. As such, in considering Plato’s philosophy, greater emphasis would be laid on certain implications of his thoughts.

In fact, the platonic epistemology and metaphysics portend certain important dialectical tenets. Read More »

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Death a Necessary Path to Life A Heideggerian Approach

Death a Necessary Path to Life A Heideggerian Approach

 CHAPTER TWO

LITERATURE REVIEW

Down through the ages, death had been a matter of deep concern. In spite of its mysterious nature, its certainty has plunged man into searching to know what it is all about. Biologists, psychologists, many religions and above all, philosophers have reflected on death. Philosophers always come out with divergent opinions and views. Our subject matter is not left out in this regard. The extent of a philosopher’s interest and concern varies according to his thought pattern and the epoch .in, which he philosophizes.

To this end, we are going to give a general review of the concept of death according to some Philosophers, from the ancient times to the Contemporary era. Read More »

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Truth in Igbo Thought and Life

The Notion of Truth in Igbo Thought and Life A Philosophical Exposition

CHAPTER TWO

LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1     THE NOTION OF TRUTH

The idea of truth is one of the central issues in Epistemology. Epistemology deals with knowledge and knowledge is only knowledge if it is true. This has made truth to stand as one of the cardinal criterion for knowledge. No knowledge is said to worth its salt if it is based on falsehood.

What then is truth? To answer this question is one of the most difficult things to do philosophically. Before Pilate asked, Jesus this question, Socrates, Plato and other Greek philosophers had thought about the question. Men are still seeking the answer. Read More »

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Human Existence in Soren Kierkegaard

The Meaning of Human Existence in Soren Kierkegaard

 CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

The development of metaphysical idealism by such philosophers as Fichte, Schelling and Hegel was taken to be a great fault by Jakob Friedrich Fries (1773-1843). He was of the opinion that philosophical trend ought to have continued in the Kantian tradition. His simple reason for this remains that “we must investigate the nature and laws and scope of knowledge before we can tackle problems about the object of knowledge”[1]. In this point, Fries shares affinity with the attitude of John Locke, the father of British empiricism.

Thus, Fries and his disciples became the earlier opponents and critics of metaphysical idealism. Another philosopher who joined in the criticism was Christian Hermann Weisse (1801-1866) who opined that Hegel had exaggerated the role of logic for trying to deduce reality from the abstract forms of Being. Immanuel Herman Fichte (1796-1879), son of the famous idealist on his own emphasized the individual human personality. He was strongly opposed to what he regarded as Hegel’s tendency to submerge the individual in the universal where personality, the end of creation that was assured of immortality, was presented as a moment in the life of universal spirit. Read More »

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Heidegger’s Doctrine of Authenticity in Nigerian Political System

The Relevance of Heidegger’s Doctrine of Authenticity in the Evolution of a True Nigerian Political System

 CHAPTER ONE

1.1 GENERAL INTRODUCTION.

While philosophy began with wonder and curiosity about the nature of the universe, it progressed uninterruptedly through the ancient and medieval periods and in fact, into the early modern era with its singular object: the search for the ultimate meaning of being. Hence, thinkers like Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Hegel, et cetera conceived being as the most abstract and universal concept. However, their inability to sustain the question of the meaning of being brought in the initial shortcoming of traditional metaphysics: the forgetfulness of being. More so, the Hegelian shift of the consideration of Being to an amazing speculative extreme in the notion of the Absolute Idealism alienated being from the territory of man and his concrete existential problems. Read More »

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Goodwill in Kant’s Categorical Imperative

The    Concept   of   Goodwill    in    Kant’s  Categorical Imperative

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

Living in a community, man looks forward to attaining good life which is the ultimate desire of every rational being. In order to achieve this singular objective, he embraces morality as one’s obligation and duty. Among rational beings, morality tends to take upper hand in their day to day activities with one another. Kant one of the proponents of this morality had been seen as an ethical formalist, to whom all judgments on the values of ends must be addressed. A brief glance on the meaning of ethics reveals very many questions about moral principles and morality in general. Throughout the philosophical epoch, philosophers’ opinions on the etymology of the word ethics have relegated it to diversified definition. Read More »

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