Nicholas U. Asogwa

Nicholas U. Asogwa

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Relativistic Theory: Implications for Knowledge, Authentic Existence, and Social Order

Relativistic Theory: Implications for Knowledge, Authentic Existence, and Social Order

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Abstract. Over the years, there has been a running battle between the universalists and the relativists as to which stand is correct vis-à-vis the philosophical notions of knowledge and morality. Whereas for the universalists morality is universal, eternal, and unchanging, the relativists hold that man is the measure of all things and accordingly, that morality is relative to each individual and/or culture. The universalists contend that our idea of judgment and belief must have standards that they must meet independently of anyone’s propensity to accept it. The relativists built their philosophy on the foundation that there exists extreme variation in customs, manners, religions vis-à-vis different human societies, just as moral beliefs and attitudes of individuals are basically learnt from their own cultural environments. It is on the basis of the alleged absence of all-time and all-place valid standards of truth or morality that the universalists launched a devastating attack on the relativists, arguing that there would be neither moral progress nor any basis for scientifico-technological knowledge if everybody or culture is right about his or its belief or claim to knowledge. The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to critically examine the philosophical concept of relativism within the context of knowledge, truth and morality. Through a thorough and critical analysis, the paper demonstrates the latent implications relativism portends for knowledge, the quest for authentic existence as well as social order. On the whole, the paper took a position that notwithstanding the obvious shortcomings of relativism, it has some rich and positive ingredients that could be exploited in our attempt to explore the nature of knowledge and truth, the search for authentic personal existence as well as social order.

 
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Ethical Issues in Capital Punishment

Ethical Issues in Capital Punishment

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Capital punishment is one of the basic issues in applied ethics. As a concept which bothers much on justice, it is also a critical issue in legal philosophy wherein it is examined under the umbrella of ‘corrective justice’. Although virtually every known human society has practised it at one time or the other in the course of its existence, its usefulness and effectiveness as an instrument for corrective justice is increasingly coming under serious attacks in this modern time. Capital punishment has generated debates which have raged on for over four hundred years. That capital punishment has been abolished in most of the industrialized countries of the world is a development that calls for sober reflection. The purpose of this work, therefore, is to examine some ethical issues involved in capital punishment, with a view to determining whether its continued practice can ever be justified in this modern time and, if so, under what circumstances. It also examines critically, the various points and arguments adduced by the existing schools of thought in defence of their respective positions.

 
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Philosophy, Creativity and Development: Reflections on the Importance of Philosophy

Philosophy, Creativity and Development: Reflections on the Importance of Philosophy

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Abstract. This work underscores the value of philosophy as a catalyst for both human and social development. It examines the relationship between philosophy and creativity as well as that between philosophy and national/societal development. Thereafter, it argues that the moral development of the people is a necessary though not a sufficient condition for socio-politico-economic cum scientific development to take place in a country. It discloses that prejudice, unfounded assumptions as well as over-emphasis on materialistic values are the major reasons for low patronage of philosophy by the public. After a thorough examination of the nature of philosophy and the inherent values and potentialities it has for the development of the individual and society, the paper goes on to conclude that until Nigerians realize that the goods of the mind are as important as the goods of the body, things may not really change for the better.

 
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Belief in Paranormal Realities: The Judicial, Political, Economic and Medical Implications for Human and National Development.

Belief in Paranormal Realities: The Judicial, Political, Economic and Medical Implications for Human and National Development.

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This paper examines the negative implications latent in paranormal beliefs and argues that these implications in turn impact negatively on both human and (social) national development. It carried out this task using politics, law, economy and medicine as its focal points. Furthermore, the paper reveals that in most cases belief tends to prove itself stronger than knowledge, adding that people are more inclined to die for what they believe in than what they know. It noted that notwithstanding the fact that there is yet to be a single instance of conclusively proven claims of the paranormal, the belief in paranormal phenomena still remains strong among the people and features prominently in both the media and film industry. While arguing that it is out of ignorance, desperation, poverty, gullibility and irrationalism that some people murder their fellow human beings for rituals, it concluded by noting that this pseudoscientific-oriented system of thought if not checked, portends a great danger for both the individual and the society at large.

 
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Metaphysics: Its Meaning, Nature, and Relevance to Man and Society

Metaphysics: Its Meaning, Nature, and Relevance to Man and Society

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INTRODUCTION Philosophy as the love for wisdom beams its searchlight towards every aspect of human endeavour where knowledge could be acquired. However, to effectively carry out this task, it is sub-divided into different branches, with each focusing on a given aspect of reality. These divisions or branches of philosophy include Epistemology, Logic, Ethics, Aesthetic, and Metaphysics, etc. This work, however, centres on the branch of philosophy known as metaphysics. The aim is to undergo an extensive exposition of the meaning, nature, scope, and relevance of metaphysics to man and society. Accordingly, our discourse on the subject is categorized in that order. Experience has shown that the majority of those who misconceive and dread philosophy do so mainly with regard to the metaphysics aspect of it. Their grouse with metaphysics is that for them metaphysics is synonymous with occultism and mysticism. Besides, they complain that metaphysics is rife with abstract and hair-splitting terms. Part of the aim of this work is, therefore, to demystify metaphysics by presenting it in the simplest manner such that every class of people in the society can read and comprehend it without the assistance of a professional philosopher. Apart from presenting a detailed explanation of the meaning of metaphysics, other issues such as the sub-divisions of metaphysics as well as the basic elements or fundamental questions of metaphysics were adequately treated. The work was concluded with a consideration of the relevance of metaphysics to man and society.

 
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Religion and Religious Pluralism in Nation-Building: The Nigerian Experience

Religion and Religious Pluralism in Nation-Building: The Nigerian Experience

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Abstract This paper examines the place of religion and religious pluralism in nation-building with Nigeria as its focal point. It ties the existence of many religions and the attendant claims to authenticity to the claims by some individuals to have had personal relations from God. The paper goes on to note that these unfounded claims to exclusive religious authenticity are the major cause of incessant religious crisis and wars in Nigeria. Furthermore, the paper attributes religious intolerance and crisis to ignorance, noting that all religions have a common source. Religion, the paper argues, is a two-edged sword with the propensity for good and bad. On the positive side, the paper observes that religion inculcates rich moral values in its adherents. These values act as catalysts for the positive transformation of the individuals and society at large. Conversely, it argues that controversial passages as contained in the scriptures of the various religions have resulted and may continue to result in doctrinal misinterpretations and misunderstanding among the adherents of varying religions. In conclusion, it notes that there are some good virtues that are associated with religion and religious pluralism that could be harnessed and utilized in our quest for a democratic nationhood.

 
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Introduction

Introduction

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Legalism: What Does It All Mean?

Legalism: What Does It All Mean?

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The concept of law is very vital to the understanding of legalism. The reason is that the concept of legalism is derived from the term “legal,” and what is legal is also construed to be lawful. Law is an indispensable phenomenon, not just for the development of any given society but also for the maintenance of peace and stability as well as vital relationship among the members of such society. It defines the boundaries for the exercise of individual rights and liberties. In other words, the presence of law results in the realisation by man that his rights end where another man’s rights begin.

 
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Islamism and the Contemporary Sharia Application: Implications for Socio-Politico-Economic Development in Nigeria.

Islamism and the Contemporary Sharia Application: Implications for Socio-Politico-Economic Development in Nigeria.

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Abstract. This paper critically examines the Islamic religion and its laws (the sharia) with a view to determining and exposing how misconception and misuse of religion can impact negatively on the socio-politico-economic development of a country. It argues that although religion as a subject deals with unseen and supernatural realities, yet it occupies a prominent place vis-à-vis the socio-politico-economic development of all known human societies. The paper further observes that whereas there is nothing wrong with the concept of Islam, it (Islam) contains in it (as do other known religions) some seeds or elements that make it prone to easy misconception and multiplicity of interpretations. On this basis, the paper goes on to opine that sharia-induced crises are on the increase in Nigeria because some over-zealous, unscrupulous and selfish Nigerians who are conscious of the volatile and sensitive nature of religion deliberately take advantage of the vulnerability of some Islamic and sharia injunctions to multiple interpretations and perpetrate religious crisis. On the whole, the paper notes that both Islam and its laws (the sharia) have much to offer Nigerians and indeed the rest of humanity, if only the custodians of Islam and the sharia do more to adequately educate its numerous adherents on the true intent of the wordings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Failure to do this, it concludes, will result in more and more muslims falling prey to the unwholesome antics of selfish and unscrupulous Nigerians in the garb of custodians of Islam.

 
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Absence of Effective Constitutional Democracy: The Bane of Economic and Political Development in Nigeria

Absence of Effective Constitutional Democracy: The Bane of Economic and Political Development in Nigeria

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ABSTRACT This paper examines the concept of constitutional democracy and its operation within the context of Nigeria’s political terrain. While arguing that the intention of the founding fathers of our great nation in establishing a constitutional democracy was to create political and institutional mechanisms that will help to checkmate the arbitrariness inherent in government with a view to making sure that power is used for the good of society, it observes that our present-day rulers and other political leaders have turned our government into a regime of personal rule where persons take precedence over rules. Furthermore, it notes that although in principle constitutionalism has a strong relationship with the notion of a democratic government, they are nevertheless two distinct concepts. This is even as a government may be constitutional but not democratic, or democratic and yet not constitutional. The paper observes that the idea of a democratic government is used to portray the idea of a government built upon the consent of the governed obtained freely from them via the instrumentality of periodic elections. It also notes that even though Nigeria has abstract constitution and institutions which are indeed some of the hallmarks of a constitutional government, her problem remains that these formal rules of political and institutional game hardly govern the conduct of her rulers and other political leaders in the course of their political actions and decisions. Such a development, the paper contends, portends some ugly political and economic implications. Politically, it denotes the absence of the rule of law, lack of development, and an invitation to anarchy. In the economic sphere, it discourages foreign investment and therefore, leads to huge economic loss. The paper finally concludes by observing that Nigeria must be both constitutional and democratic for her to really pass for a genuine constitutional democracy. This it can only achieve by strictly and religiously adhering to the hallowed tenets of constitutionalism and democratic governance.

 
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