THE SIGNIFICANT ROLE OF PHILOSOPHY IN THE NIGERIAN PREDICAMENT.

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WHAT I CONSIDER AS THE SIGNIFICANT ROLE OF PHILOSOPHY IN THE NIGERIAN PREDICAMENT.

First and foremost, philosophy is a discipline without a universally and univocally acceptable definition. However, we can, ad hoc, say that it is a (critical) criticism of the ideas we live by {H.S Staniland}. Another word, needing clarification, ‘Nigeria’, is a geo-political entity known by many names, viz. ‘the sleeping giant’, ‘the mistake of 1914’, and ‘the marriage of misfortune’ etc. All these cognomen point to the widely held and spot-on belief that Nigeria is a failed or better still a failing nation.

No doubt, Nigeria is, today, passing through a very challenging phase in its life-span. And various individuals have suggested ways by which we sail through this storm. The question now is, is the knowledge of philosophy, the possession of the ‘philosophic spirit’ and the daily application of philosophical principles, in any way germane to Nigeria’s development as a nation? I reply with a capital affirmation.

Nigerians, today, nurture numerous dangerous and detrimental world-views. Examples of such world-views include, ‘governance is nothing but an opportunity to live large and embezzle’, ‘our votes do not count’, ‘one day, E go better’, ‘leadership is the birth right of Hausas’, ‘Nigeria can never prosper if she does not disunite’ among many others. Knowingly or unknowingly, these ideas have a impeding effect on our voyage of national development. The work of philosophy is to rectify them. It will rectify the Yoruba extravagance, the Ibo materialism and the Hausa megalomania.

Philosophy helps us, not only to be able to think rationally and coherently, but to be able to act in conformity with our thought. This trait is something that the Nigerian populace and government apparently lack, as we have find ourselves engaging day in day out in improvident, impolitic and immoral acts. We do not aim before we shoot, we do not look before we leap, and we do not consider the consequences of our decisions before we make them. Nigerians no longer think. We just accept whatever we are offered without considering if it is deleterious or derisory. We obey the state without considering whether it is appropriate or the state even deserves it. We pay outrageous taxes without asking if we benefit from them or not. We allow ourselves to be easily deceived by ‘men of God’ who are only interested in our earnings. People engage in corruption, misappropriation and cultism because of this paucity in critical thinking. We are a set of people, if not the only one, who ‘suffer and yet smile’. All these are leading to our downfall, but we are oblivious to this fact.

This is where philosophy comes in. Philosophy inculcates us with the spirit of non-dogmatism, objectivity and amity. Imagine a judicial system free from bias and deliberate injustice, an executive that makes logical and pro-people policies within the quickest time possible, a legislature that actually represents the interest of the masses and people who do not have to be policed before they obey state rules and regulations. All these are possible if only we give philosophy the chance.

Imagine a Nigeria ruled by philosophers most especially ethicists such as Epictetus and Plato, and where the citizenry reflect the Socratic dispositions concerning reflective thoughts and loyalty to the state. If this is the case, then it is not possible for the government to make policies that are either harsh or seem to have been made by kindergarten pupils. It is not possible for the government to expend one billion naira on the presidential nourishment annually. It is not possible for the government to even contemplate the removal of fuel subsidy and many other austere policies Nigerians have experienced and are still experiencing.

 

In summation, I am of the view that philosophy is expedient to Nigeria in her endeavour to achieve National unity, peace and progress, and it has a great role to play in the present predicament we, the people of Nigeria, find ourselves.

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S.A.G.A.S.E.N.S.I.S.M.: an abstract

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SAGASENSISM: an abstract.

Sagasensism is a word coined from two Latin words: sagac meaning keen and foresighted judgement and sensus meaning to feel or perceive.

Sagasensism can therefore be defined as an enquiry into the  world of existence and reality, through the use of both the senses and a deep foresighted ability to judge.

It is the rational study of the metaphysical world, with the aid of logic.

It may also be referred to as the epistemological justification of knowledge of facts beyond physical perception through the application of human senses and a deep sagacity.

Sagasensism is an offshoot of Perceptionism. It might be seen as a slight perversion of it.

This philosophy is borne out of the belief that ‘unobservables’, i.e. objects that cannot be directly perceived, can constitute knowledge, both certain and probable. But of course, we can only sagasensistcally conclude that a thing exists if and only if there is ample observable evidence to prove such existence.

It is also based on the rule that if the existence of a thing is the only [logical] explanation for a state of reality, then that thing is presumed to actually exist as long as it is the only available justification for the existence of the state.

This technique is often utilised in the aspect of criminology and crime solving. Detectives, when investigating a crime, at times can tell with certainty who is culpable and who is not despite the fact that they were not at the scene where the crime was committed. They gather clues, formulate theories, study facts and evidences until they are led to their desired answer. Someone, who is familiar with detective stories such as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes or TV series of the mentalist, would better understand this.

 

Instances of applying Sagasensism:

  1.  A man is shipwrecked onto an island. He lives there alone for years, knowing her ins and outs. Then one day, he finds a fresh trail of gigantic foot-prints that could not possibly belong to even bigfoot, the mythical creature. Albeit he did not see one, he would logically and sagasensistically deduce that a huge, non-human creature is sharing the island with him. But to suggest that the creature fell from the sky, has a large set of teeth or can become invisible is beyond the ambit of Sagasensism.
  2. Another example is a scenario whereby one is journeying through a thick forest. Then at a point, one sees a wide well-weeded maize plantation. One does not need special powers to infer from this that there exists a farmer who is responsible for the plantation. THAT is certain knowledge, even though it cannot be empirically verified. But to say there is a village nearby, using only this observable scene as evidence is not sagasensistically acceptable. At best, it is highly probable.

 

In the same vein, if one sees a shoe, one will automatically know there is a shoemaker. If one sees an item of furniture, one will know there exists a carpenter. And if we see a clothe perfectly designed, our sagacity makes us aware of the inevitable existence of a seamstress. There is no effect without an initial cause. And nothing can exist out of nothing i.e. without a maker or manufacturer.

 

This school of thought may also be applied to the problem of the existence of God, soul, ghosts and other beings. It is true that no man has physically seen God. But are there no observable objects that point to his existence? It appears to me there are …

<<<to be continued>>>