Knowledge In Traditional African Perspective; A Critique knowledge In Traditional African Perspective:

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Knowledge In Traditional African Perspective; A Critique knowledge In Traditional African Perspective:


Abstract


This study is on knowledge in traditional African perspective: a critique. The total population for the study is 200 residents in selected communities in Udi local government of Enugu state. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made village heads, traditional rulers, elderly men and youths were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies


Chapter One


General Introduction

1.1. Background of the Study

Aristotle many years ago asserted that it is the nature of man to know: in other words, every man seeks to know. In fact, philosophical activity started out of the spirit of wonder when men were no longer satisfied with the mythological explanation of reality. It was their curiosity that sparked off this enormous discipline man is awed by the stand back of mystery of the universe. Man stand back and ask himself question in order to understand the universe. Man has ever been in search of the knowledge of the world. What is knowledge, what is its nature and scope, are questions that have attracted philosophers from various orientation or schools of thought. The western philosophical tradition has been divided sharply on what constitutes the source of knowledge namely: Rationalism and Empiricism. Unfortunately, this controversy has led to dualism in knowledge and consequence a bi-fraction of man should be considered as a metaphysical unit. Against this extremism in knowledge, African proposes another criterion of acquiring knowledge. Anyanwu has correctly observed that: any appeal to empirical and rational methods has no meaning and relevance unless we know the basic assumption about the African cultural reality we want to know .The Africans as human being following the metaphysical imperative of human nature equally want to know, what is the nature of this knowledge? How do we come to know the things we claim to know? Does consciousness constitute a philosophical data, without which his life cannot begin in the first place? It is in light of the above question that we have decided to carry out a research titled “knowledge in Traditional African Perspective


1.2 Statement of the Problem

From time immemorial, knowledge and whatever constitutes its nature have been a topical issue and a problematic one in philosophical circle. The problem of knowledge arose in the past, more often than not, as a result of philosophers. Inability to seek for the unity of experience. This in no doubt led to the unfortunate controversy between Empiricism and Rationalism.

Since the advent of African professional mode of philosophizing. The African philosopher must get ready to examine the old controversy of epistemology. Rationalism and Empirical; one of the most recent problems that seem to be militating against progress in African philosophy today is the ontological status of African Epistemology. K.C. Anyanwu has argued that “the basic problem of any philosophy is epistemology or the theory of knowledge that is the method which the mind must follow in order to arrive at the trust worthy knowledge of reality.

Epistemology provides the basic premises with which other problems, namely metaphysics, religion, moral political and aesthetic doctrines can be approached”. Anyanwu therefore places knowledge as prior to being.This is however a centesian way of philosophizing which has randomly been condemned by Ukagba in his unpublished doctoral dissertation (1993)3. For Ukagba, being is always prior to knowledge or else we fall into Reductio Absandum, knowledge is the knowledge of somebody, a being. The being who must cognize must exist first before the act of cognition and this is why Ukagba asserts that ontology or metaphysics comes before Epistemology. We shall examine the premises of these different positions in this research in order to find where the truth lies.


1.3 Objective of the Study

The objectives of the study are;

  1. To ascertain the knowledge in traditional African perspective
  2. To ascertain the various conceptions and notion about how the African knows about tradition.
  3. To ascertain the the relevance of metaphysics albeit African ontology as the only condition sine quo non for African Epistemology

1.4 Research Hypotheses

For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

  1. H0: there is no knowledge in traditional African perspective
    H1: there is knowledge in traditional African perspective
  2. H02: there is no various conceptions and notion about how the African knows about tradition
    H2: there is various conceptions and notion about how the African knows about tradition

1.5 Significance of the Study

The importance of this research centers on the present need to put the perception of the African man in proper perspective. Having been beaten out of ontological psychological and economic shapes, due to centuries of colonialism, exploitation and humiliation. It becomes necessary to recover the authentic African, the basis of his knowledge. The inter¬¬-relatedness and limit of this knowledge will go a long way towards understanding the ‘being’ of the African.


1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of the study covers knowledge in traditional African perspective. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

a) Availability of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) Organizational Privacy:

Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.


1.7 Definition of Terms

Knowledge:

Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts, information, descriptions, or skills, which is acquired through experience or education by perceiving, discovering, or learning.

Tradition:

A tradition is a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past.

Perspective:

A particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view.


1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  1. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  2. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  3. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  4. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  5. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain knowledge in traditional African perspective: a critique. In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of knowledge in traditional African perspective


5.2 Summary

This study was on knowledge in traditional African perspective: a critique. Three objectives were raised which included:To ascertain the knowledge in traditional African perspective, to ascertain the various conceptions and notion about how the African knows about tradition, to ascertain the the relevance of metaphysics albeit African ontology as the only condition sine quo non for African Epistemology. In line with these objectives, two research hypotheses were formulated and two null hypotheses were posited. The total population for the study is 200 residents in selected communities in Udi local government of Enugu state. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made village heads, traditional rulers, elderly menand youths were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies


5.3 Conclusion

The position of the proponents of African peculiar epistemology makes the discipline or business of the quest for epistemological theory too simplistic and commonplace. They appear to be too culture sympathetic in this matter. If what is posited above is what these proponents and protagonists of African peculiar epistemology have with respect to African epistemology, then, it seems it is not spectacular. This state ignites the fear that an African unique epistemology must be bereft of epistemological nitty-gritty. It can lead to social and epistemic chaos. For example, how can we just take what one feels, thinks, imagine and so on, to be constitutive parts of knowledge? This demonstration seems to be a show of lack of a grip of what epistemological hallmarks should be, independent of specific cultures. If there is any distinct African epistemology other than the contributions of St. Augustine, Kwasi Wiredu, and the likes, to the general stream of epistemology, it has not been clearly stated. To make it a serious and meaningful engagement, it should be clearly stated and subjected to critical, rigorous analysis and evaluations because these are the hallmarks of epistemology


5.4 Recommendation

If Africa epistemology is going to be a serious business it must be removed from the cocoon of peculiarism into which the advocates of an African epistemology telescoped and regimented it. This will allow a rational discourse, evaluation, criticism, and development of the discipline. African epistemology must not be peculiarly Africa; it must also be accessible and meaningful to non Africans and reflect their nature. This is because epistemology has to do with the human way of knowing or the nature of knowing. This work does not deny that philosophy can be culturally provoked, generated and reflected upon; but this does not remove the universal element of philosophy.


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