Open Journal of Philosophy
2013. Vol.3, No.1A, 168-173
Published Online February 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Maduabuchi Dukor and the Legacies of Ontological
Practices in African Thought System
Adebayo Aina
Department of Philosophy , Olabisi Onabanjo University, A go -Iwoye, Ni ge ria
Email: bayo_k of
Received September 11th, 2012; r evised October 10th, 2012; accepted October 25 th, 2012
A challenge human existence is confronted in contemporary society is the justification of a coherent so-
cial order. Most of these justifications have been grounded, over time, on natural approach to the neglect
of the African ontological practice. This natural reference fails to account for the ontological practice
premised on African belief system which reconciles the natural and spiritual aspects of human existence.
The study adopts the analytic approach in philosophy which evolves a clarification of the ontological
concept within the African context. The African ontological practice hinges on Dukor’s perspective which
provides for a coherent interconnection among social structure, law and belief system towards the certi-
tude and trust making for harmonious human well-being. Social order is enhanced by this African onto-
logical practice and should, therefore, be incorporated into the public sphere.
Keywords: African Ontology; Analytic Approach; Dukor; Human Existence; Social Order
The paper aims to discuss the legacies of African ontological
practice through the contribution of Maduabuchi Dukor within
the confine of Igbo thought system. Dukor is a professional
African philosopher whose corpus of work is a formidable task
that permeated logic, ethics, epistemology and metaphysics,
with special focus on comparative discourse, with a view to
promoting African scholarship in the public space. Little won-
der that his justification of African ontological practice pro-
vokes a concern for a viable social justice in complementing the
administrative structure bequest on Africans by the colonial
system. However, it should be noted that Africa’s cultures share
certain core concepts, values and beliefs in common. The work
is structured thus: A clarification of African ontological prac-
tice; Dukor on African ontological practice; and the implica-
tions of Dukor’s African ontological practice to contemporary
Clarification of Concept: African
Ontological Practice
Ontology means the study or concern about what kinds of
things exist or what entities there are in the universe. An entity
is an existing or real thing. The fact that something exists seems
to imply its separateness from other existence or entities. So the
ontological idea attempts to identify the ultimate cosmic princi-
ple by which things come into existence (Uduigwomen, 2002; p.
154). The nature of these entities revolves around the relation-
ship between two planes of existence: the spiritual existence
and the natural existence. According to the Yoruba, the spiritual
is housed by supernatural forces including Olódùmarè (the
Supreme Being), the Òrìsà (divinities), the Ajogun (anti-gods
or malevolent gods), the Àjé and the ancestors; while the natu-
ral world (Ìsàlú-Àyé) is the domain of human beings, animals
and plants (Abimbola, 2006: p. 52). It is pertinent to note that
the relationship between these two realms is not exclusive in
nature. Rather, the natural and spiritual planes of existence
form the same continuum. Dukor corroborates that all entities
have a spiritual cause which engenders the belief in the per-
sonification of nature in form of gods or spirits, and this he
refers to as Theistic Panpsychism (Dukor, 2010: p. 24). By
Theistic Panpsychism, he means that “the Supreme Being is the
creator, and the smaller gods, who were created by the same
Supreme Being intermingle with mankind as the guardian of
public order, morality and justice” (Dukor, 2010: p. 24).
Hence, the African belief system regards the spiritual realm
as essential to the welfare of man. As such, it is believed to
provide the natural existence with a useful overarching system
which assists human being to organise reality and impose sanc-
tions to his life. This emanates through the people’s religious
beliefs. As a result of this, according to Sodipo (2004: p. 88),
“its explanation must be given in terms of persons or entities
that are like persons in significant respects. For it is explanation
like this that can reveal the motives that lay behind particular
happenings; they alone answer the emotional question why the
thing happened here, now and to me in particular”. Thus mis-
haps, based on observation and knowledge of natural processes
without remedy, are consigned to punishment by the super-
natural forces. It is to say that the spiritual realm serves as “a
means of resolving some of the significant puzzles of the hu-
man conditions” (Gbadegesin, 1984: p. 182). The inhabitant of
the spiritual realm is endowed with extra-ordinary powers
which cannot be perceived by man. It becomes imperative for
man to continue to curry their favours for security and knowl-
edge purposes. This is well summarised by Sodipo (2004: p. 89)
The lorry driver who ties a charm to his lorry-seat and a
magical object under the lorry’s windscreen is not deny-
ing or trying to frustrate any of the general laws by which
the motor-vehicle operates. He knows, as well as any sci-
entific man, that if the brakes fail while the vehicle is
moving at high speed there could be a serious accident.
He is aware too that if the accident is serious enough,
some of the passengers could die. But the general laws
cannot answer for him the question where and when the
brakes will fail, whether they would fail when the lorry is
travelling at high or low speed and, should that happen,
who of the passenger will be fatally wounded. The scien-
tific man will push the application of general laws as far
as it can go; after that chance takes over. But not so in
Yoruba traditional thought. Even if a general law says that
only one person out of a hundred passengers in a lorry
involved in an accident would be saved the Yoruba be-
lieve that the gods, not chance, decide who that lucky one
shall be and it is certainly worth trying to make oneself
the lucky one through a charm or through the necessary
sacrifice to some god or gods.
From this viewpoint, the African attributes to Supreme Being
through the gods those things for which they “cannot find natu-
ralistic explanation” (Oladipo, 1992: p. 49). This belief is also
found in Akan culture in Ghana. Kwasi Wiredu (1980: p. 19)
gives an interesting illustration to show how people explain
away some metaphysical issues, with the story of an imaginary
traveller who dies in a bus crash, thus:
When he originally tried to get on the bus, the bus was al-
ready filled to capacity with passengers but just as he de-
cided to postpone his journey and as he is turning to go, a
seat is vacated. One passenger, for one reason or the other,
has to get off in a hurry. So he gets on. His destination is
the very first stop on the bus, and he is in fact, the pas-
senger travelling the shortest distance. But just one mile
from his destination the calamity occurs: a puncture and
the bus crashed. Unbelievably, everyone on board escapes
with minor bruises except one. Alone, of fifty passengers
our traveller dies.
However, three points, among others, may be raised from
Sodipo and Wiredu’s narrations. First, the Yoruba will attribute
the ill fatedness of our traveller, out of helplessness, to the wish
of the spiritual realm, perhaps Olódùmarès sanctions. This is
reflected in sayings like bo se yan tì e nìyen (That is how he has
chosen his portion from spiritual world) or ibi ti àyànmo e gbé
é dé ni yèn (That is the extent of his chosen portion). Also, this
may be the consequence of an inherited family curse. Sanctions
of this nature might have been out of ill-treatment of fellow
human beings in the time past. That is why the Yoruba say á o
be èsè baba wó lára omo (we shall revisit the father’s punish-
ment on the children). Besides the above instances, further
justification of ontological practice may generate out of the
practice of cursing through the aid of some gods. For example,
a farmer may curse anyone who steals from his farm and by the
invocation of the god’s power inflict punishment on the thief.
At other times, the victim of some robbery would go to a shrine
and ask a god to sanction the culprit in a particular fashion and
would promise rewards to the god. The culprit possessed by the
god, perhaps by the Ayelala shrine, would make his way to the
shrine and confess. Most often series of strange death may oc-
cur in the culprit’s family (Adegbola, 1998: pp. 171-172).
Hence, the belief in the deities only serves as a means of avert-
ing earthly havoc as well as a kind of comfort in the time of
adversity. So prayers often said through a deity to Supreme
Being are, to borrow the words from the Akan tradition, meant
For material well-being and earthly blessings, such as
riches, health, social peace and harmony, fertility, birth of
many children, and continuity of life and vitality, and
protection from evil, danger or death, petition for healing
and longevity (Gyekye, 1996: p. 16).
It implies that the African is not particularly attracted to the
union of human soul with Supreme Being in the spiritual realm
but rather aspire for the promotion of human welfare and hap-
piness through some mystical way of fulfilling these needs. So
in the event where a god failed to “deliver on a request sought
in prayer, that deity will be censured, treated with contempt,
and ultimately abandoned by the people” (Gyekye, 1996: p. 16).
In short, the spiritual realm serves as a referent point to the
sustenance of the social solidarity, harmony and cooperation
values. In addition to this social role, the spiritual realm sanc-
tions moral obligations and responsibilities of the members of
the community. These sanctions used to be very effective in-
struments for the enforcement of morality in society. We should
note that it is not so much the physical hardship of going
through the punishments that confine people to observe the
moral codes but rather the threat of disgrace to one’s family,
and above all to one’s offspring (Adegbola, 1998: p. 173). It is
believed by the people that whenever misfortunes and disaste rs,
as experienced by our traveller, occurs they most often interpret
them as punishment sent by the Supreme Being for bad conduct
or inability to act on some moral obligation to the community.
Similarly, misfortunes suffered could then be the product of
“unethical behaviour” which serves as lesson for thorough ex-
amination of moral behaviour in the community (Gyekye, 1996:
p. 18). There is then the need to show that it is the responsibil-
ity of man, as a sensible being, to maintain the delicate balance
between the two realms of existence. This manifests in Dukor’s
discussion of the humanistic orientation in African, perhaps
Igbo, ontological practice.
Dukor on African Ontological Practice
Thus far, we are informed that the African appeal to the ex-
tra-human powers, in the spiritual realm, is merely with the
motive of furthering the maintenance of social harmony in the
natural realm of existence. Dukor (2010: p. 34) affirms this in
the Igbo parlance that sometimes people were reported to have
been pushed to the point of warning a particular god of injustice
to the extent that some gods, goddesses, and spirits may not
after all be the true manifestation of the Supreme Being. Bewaji
(2004: p. 399) compliments that it is “mainly intended to lend
legitimacy through an already available reinforcement mecha-
nism to what is often taken for granted as morally obligatory”.
Indeed, it is what assures the happiness and prosperity of indi-
viduals and community. But this harmonious cooperation in
this belief system depends on humanistic basis of the people’s
moral value.
Hence, we may tarry a while to discuss the meaning of moral
value in order to boost the understanding of the humanistic
orientation. According to Kwame Gyekye (1996: p. 55), moral
value involves:
A set of social rules and norms intended to guide the con-
duct of people in a society. The rules and norms emerge
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 169
from … people’s beliefs about right and wrong conduct
and good and bad character. Morality is intrinsically so-
cial, arising out of the relations between individuals; if
there were no such a thing as human society, there would
be no such thing as morality. And, because morality is
essentially a social phenomenon … consideration for the
interests of other and, hence a sense of duty to others are
intrinsic to the meaning and practice of morality.
This viewpoint on moral values draws attention to two im-
plications. First, it attempts to affirm that moral discourse is
primarily a “this-worldly” affair in which one focuses on issues
of cooperation, actions, attitudes, emotion, public order and
character, Secondly, it espouses social morality wherein hu-
manistic practice is grounded. This represents an ascending
order from the austerely commitment to social sympathies of
rigorous individualism to the pervasive commitment to social
involvement. Now, on “this worldly” conception of moral value
in Igbo thought system, man is equated to maintain an interac-
tive course of duty where love, patronage, recognition, compas-
sion, companionship are not only generated but also equitably
distributed in the community. Most of these precepts show
“that members of the community are endowed with reason and
intention to show responsibility in preserving the sacrosanct of
moral values and ethos of the society” (Dukor, 2010: p. 17)
Thus the harmonization of these interests account for what is
good. The absence of this ethic of responsibility in man’s be-
haviour is an act of injustice in African parlance. And this may
provoke in Igbo belief system the infractions against man qua
man, as well as the spiritual beings. It involves the descending
from “communal covenantal grace into isolated individualism”
(Amponsah, 1974: p. 71). Dukor (2010: p. 18) adds that these
values include,
One shall not kill or steal. Killing or taking of another’s
life is an abomination and contrary to the will of the god-
dess, Ani and the Almighty, Chukwu. Nemesis of death or
madness normally trail after any person who commits
murder … Stealing of any sort which is an infringement
on someone else’s right and contrary to the spirit of
communalism is seriously frowned by the society …
Stealing in the society attracted the wrath of the god or
goddess or outright banishment.
In this respect, its consequence brings the calamities not only
on the culprit(s) but on the family and the community in gen-
eral, and these are often seen as punishment. That is why the
Igbo critically frown at unruly behaviour as its disgrace termi-
nates not at the recalcitrant. Thus the proverb “when a man
dances badly in public, it is his brothers that get the itching
brow” (Dukor, 2010: p. 17).
Nevertheless, the second implication of the moral values in
African culture strongly recommends the principle of social
practice. By this we mean social reverberations of an individ-
ual’s conduct of good character in the community. It is due to
the fact that a human being is part of a social whole. This social
practice, that an individual does not and cannot exist alone
except corporately, is illustrated by Segun Gbadegesin (1991:
pp. 61-62) thus:
The new baby arrives into the waiting hands of the elders
of the household. Experienced elderly wives in the house-
hold serve as mid-wives, they see that the new baby is de-
livered safely and the mother is in no danger after delivery.
They introduce the baby into the family with cheerfulness,
joy and prayer: “Ayo abara tintin” [This is a little thing of
joy]. From then on, the new mother may not touch the
child except for breast feeding. The baby is safe in the
hands of others: Co-wives, husband’s mother and step-
mothers and a whole lot of others, including senior sisters,
nieces and cousins. On the seventh or eight day, the baby
gets his/her names, a ceremony performed by the adult
members of the household … The meaning of this is that
child, as an extension of the family tree, should be given a
name that reflects his/her membership therein, and it is
expected that the name so given will guide and control the
child by being a constant reminder for him/her of his/her
membership in the family and the circumstance of his/her
The above excerpt implies that an individual cannot run
adrift from the community that nurtures him/her. Rather the
individual, through socialization and the love and concern
which the community extended to him/her, cannot now see
him/herself as an isolated being. This social character is intrin-
sic to the notion of morality in Igbo culture. This is grounded in
human experiences in living together. Even the Republican
nature of the Igbo culture recognises with strong emphasis on
the respect and promotion of individual rights to the communal
institutions and properties but with some limitations, which are
theoretical and practical in nature (Dukor, 2010: pp. 19-20).
The Igbo do not hesitate to say, in compliment of communi-
tarianism, thus: Egbe belu ugo belu, Nke si-ibeya-ebena, nku
kaa-ya (Kite perches and eagle also perches; if any one says the
other will not perch on the tree, her feather will be broken). It
implies that wisdom is not limited to a given class of people in
traditional Igbo society. Rather, it recognises the contr i b u tion of
every rational being, old and young, towards the betterment of
the whole community. The point here is that every person
should have a chance to contribute to the development of the
society. This implies that no point of view should be suppressed
in the process of deliberation and no arbitrary exercise or power
should be allowed. The importance of cross fertilization of
ideas in decision making is germane in this society. Hence,
man owes his existence to other people, including those of
past generations and his contemporaries. Whatever happens to
the individual is believed to happen to the whole group, and
whatever happens to the whole group is the responsibility of
the individuals. Thus the brotherhood concept: onye aghana
It shows that in realising this objective of communalism,
“every … child is given moral instruction during the process of
socialisation to inculcate a sense of community” (Gyekye, 1987:
p. 46). Hence the saying by John Mbiti, “I am because we are,
and since we are, therefore I am” (Mbiti, 1982: p. 106). But this
Mbiti’s epithet is wrongly interpreted by Nyasani to merely be
the frustration of individual’s creativity and ability to innovate,
by the communal dictatorship as “relatively unilinear, uncritical,
lacking in initiative and therefore ‘encapsulated’” (Lassiter,
1999). He further adds that,
[W]hat we experience in the practical life of an African is
the apparent stagnation or stalement in his social as well
as economic evolution … It is quite evident that the social
consequences of this unfortunate social impasse (encap-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
sulation) can be very grave especially where the process
of acculturation and indeterminate enculturation is taking
place at an uncontrollable pace … By and large, it can
safely be affirmed that social encapsulation in Africa
works both positively and negatively. It is positive in as
far as it guarantees a modicum of social cohesion, social
harmony and social mutual concern. However, in as far as
it does not promote fully the exercise of personal initiative
and incentive, it can be regarded as negative (Lassiter,
Nyasani missed the point here. “Personal initiative and in-
centives” are encouraged in this thought system. This will un-
fold in the course of analysis. An Igbo man has an obligation to
maintain harmonious relationship among all the members of the
community and to do what is necessary to correct every breach
of harmony and to strengthen the community bonds, especially
through the principle of justice. Dukor explicates further with
his allusion to the unadulterated pre-colonial conception of
justice which is similar in content to the social contractarians:
John Locke and J. J. Rousseau’s ideas. Dukor depicts the Igbo
justice system to the state of nature where peace, goodwill,
mutual assistance and preservation of lives reign supreme in
contrast to the Hobbesian principles (2010: pp. 21-22). Hence,
Justice, in this thought system, hinges on the combination of
moral law, divine law and natural law; and what is moral can-
not be illegal and what is illegal cannot be immoral because
that which is bad from the beginning does not improve by
length of time (Dukor, 2010: p. 24). What Dukor attempts to
emphasise here is the necessary and sufficient connection be-
tween law and morality which is rooted in the ontological belief
system discussed in the last section. Justice strongly holds
where the instruction of the spiritual realm is abided by and
grounded on the moral belief. As a result, any adjudication that
does not toll this line will be met with calamitous consequences
in the community. This shows that justice involves some as-
pects of punishment.
Punishment in this tradition helps in maintaining social order.
It further performs a tripartite role in African, perhaps Igbo
thought system: deterrent, reforming and restitution. Dispensa-
tion of justice is not a hereafter concept but rather offence(s)
are dealt with in the natural plane of existence. Dukor (2010: pp.
27-28) explicates that
Misfortune may be interpreted as indicating that the suf-
ferer has broken some moral or ritual conduct against God,
the spirits, the elders or other members of his society.
However, in some cases appeasement or atonement can be
made in form of restitution and punishment for various
offences. It could be death for offences like practising
sorcery and witchcraft, committing murder and adultery
and it could be payment of fines in cash or kind for other
minor offences. The elders deal with disputes and
breaches arising from various types of moral offences
against custom and ritual.
This shows that there cannot be any hiding place for criminal
offenders in Igbo society with the proactive course for social
justice. It also enlightens the society on the need to inculcate
morally commendable conducts expected in the context of a
social morality (Gyekye, 1987: p. 67). In short, it shows pun-
ishment in this context as not limited to the relationship be-
tween natural beings qua natural beings but also encompassed
that of spiritual being. Here, greater value is attached to the
feeling of communal fair play and justice, with the motivational
belief that an individual must exercise restraint and take re-
sponsibility for his/her actions. If otherwise, the efficacy of the
moral sanction and punishment ensued. Hence the community
need to offer sacrifice to these supernatural forces in order to
survive. They also need to appease the benevolent forces so as
to continue to enjoy their support and blessings. More so, they
need to reparate the malevolent forces so that they might not
oppose them whenever an important endeavour is embarked
upon. For example, the spiritual realm hates any act of violence
and injustice, any instance of breaking the social order and
violating specific bans. All these attract to the natural realm
punishment with shortage of agricultural produces, famine,
infertility, drought or illness. These beliefs are premised on the
fact that there is a continuum between the spiritual and natural
realms of existence. Also, that life goes on beyond the grave for
the Igbo and is a continuous action and interaction with the
ancestors. This reflects that culprits will not only be sanctioned
but commensurability is also assured towards appropriate jus-
tice (Dukor, 2010: pp. 30-34).
By and large, the communalistic orientation of Igbo society
emphasizes the notion that an individual’s image will depend
rather crucially upon the extent to which his or her actions
benefits him/herself first but yet satisfy the interest of others
which is not, of course, by accident or coincidence but by de-
sign. It is important for man to see to his ambitions, desires, and
actions but not at the detriment of needs and interest of others.
In another sense, human conduct in Igbo culture demands ab-
solute behaviours grounded in personal and social well-being.
The Implications of Dukor’s African Ontological
Practice to Contemporary Society
The primary implication to the ontological practice hinges on
the questioning of its background in-itself. The practice is be-
clouded by the social morality as expressed in the Igbo culture
which is in part codified in the traditional African laws, and
whose condemnation of crime punishment in justice system is
taken to express. Fundamentally, one might raise doubt as to its
soundness, its homogeneity, and the consistency and authentic-
ity of the judgement it passes on crime through punishment. Its
response to the challenges of public order is cloudy going by its
ordeal and oath taking approaches to social justice system. One
may say that it instils anticipated fear of attempting crimes in
the first place rather than engaging in the dispensation of jus-
Besides, this African ontological practice might be taken to
believe uncritically that the social morality of society is self-
authenticating that its principles are moral axioms and that
social justice is conclusively justified once it is shown to ex-
press the emphatic moral condemnation of actions offending
against the ontological practise whereby the supernatural realm
provides the natural realm with a useful overarching system
which assist human being to organise reality and impose sanc-
tions to his life. But, to what extent can this go even where
morality itself is m or ally flawed?
Also, an eagle-eyed view of the Ontological practice in Igbo
culture might be thought to assuming that social morality is a
much more homogeneous set of beliefs and attitudes than the
reality of most contemporary societies would warrant. It is per-
tinent to note that contemporary society is as typically plural-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 171
istic and conflict-ridden in the area of morals as in other fields
of study. It is factual that there can never be a moral consensus
among all human beings. It is indeed true that the reality on the
ground is the lack of moral consensus. People vary greatly in
the way they view issues. Some have no moral opinions of their
own but accept the opinion which has been laid down by their
custom or traditions. Some have highly developed moral con-
victions and a strong sense of right and wrong. Some adjust this
sense of right and wrong depending on the circumstances and
whether it suits them. Therefore, what we now have today is
almost as many moral opinions as there are human beings.
However, there are still a great number of people who have
common ground on a number of issues but as can be seen these
mostly contain nothing fundamental and everything can still in
most cases be interpreted in ways that will suit the individual or
even probably evade the issue altogether. To this end, on many
moral issues, one may likely find not one acceptable stand but
two or more different and even mutually opposed views, sup-
ported by significant sections of society. The dilemma then is
which of them is to be expressed on the view of social justice
grounded on ontological practice and in law for offending
against it?
These, at the end, raise dust as to the consistency and authen-
ticity of the condemnation conveyed through social justice.
Ontological practice may breed double standards where in some
instances questions of shame and hypocrisy can rise and one
might suspect that punishment is not much more than a “fetish-
istic surrogate” for a value which is not given expression in
other area of life (Primoratz, 1989: p. 204).
However, the responses to these anticipated implications of
soundness, homogeneity, and consistency and authenticity of
punitive measures levied against African ontological practice
may after al l not assume to damaging its construction but rather
to point out the conditions of its proper applications. It should
be noted that the part of the Igbo social morality, which
co-extend with its social justice, are basically sound. Hence the
traditional Igbo social morality flourishes from time immemo-
rial and its strengths learn credence to its accessibility and dy-
namism which motivate cultural experiences. After all if one
cannot accept the moral outlook of a society, it is imperative
that we withhold support when it expresses moral condemna-
tion through punitive measures. African ontological practice is
rooted in this justification.
The justice system, in this tradition, functions not so much to
reform or deter potential offenders, but rather to maintain social
cohesion by safeguarding a vigorous collective conscience.
Implicitly, this ontological system offers an account of practice
which ascertains a measure of moral consensus despite the
anticipated criticisms. It justifies those actions that are based on
this consensus and, at the same time, refuse justification to
those that transcend it. In fact, social morality is the bases on
which the contemporary society is grounded. Thus society le-
gitimately expresses moral condemnation by punishment only
when its conscience speaks strongly and unequivocally with
one voice. Hence, sincerity is necessary in this punitive ap-
proach to sanction rather than furthering conditions that pro-
mote double standard in punishment. Hence, the system of
ontological practice does not hesitate to blame and punish alike
offenders adjudged to contravene her value system. They be-
lieve in a continuity of life and a community of interest be-
tween the two realms of existence. Conflicts to them are a part
of life which must not be allowed to be resolved by individual
parties in order not to disrupt the social order. A strong sense of
sanction is meted to the individual who acts or contravenes the
common good of the community and its values despite the pro-
tection of individual interests.
The study has shown that the African lived experiences are
rooted in her ontological practice. And its further discourse by
Maduabuchi Dukor provokes a systematic display of social
justice whereby the wrong and the wronged are appropriated
deserted in order to maintain and promote harmony between the
two planes of human existence. This engenders the belief in a
continuity of life and a community of interest where objective
truth in place of deception, to the extent that the ordeal and oath
taking mechanism are upheld to instil in people conscientious
attitude in the system. Besides, the study is after all man’s re-
sponse to meet the challenges of his time. Thus, a more critical
study of the past is brought to the fore, in the present, in order
to make room for strong social justice for the best future of con-
temporary society. In addition, the punitive measures grounded
in this social morality are not treated at prima-facie level, but
rather transcend the immediate offenders on to the family and
community where the offender is necessarily a member. Im-
plicit here is the idea of reconciliation whereby the offender is
restitutively reconcile to himself, the victim concerned in the
case and the entire comm u nity at large.
By and large, the discussion of ontological practice is of im-
portance in African thought system due to the crucial role it
will serve in determining the direction of contemporary politi-
cal, socio-cultural and economi c system.
Abimbola, K. (2006). Yoruba culture: A philosophical account. Bir-
mingham: Iroko Academic Publishers.
Adegbola, A. E. A. (1998). Traditional religion in West Africa. Ibadan:
Amponsah, K. (1974). Topics on West African traditional religion I.
Accra: McGraw-Hill FEP.
Bewaji, J. A. I. (2004). Ethics and morality in Yoruba culture. In K.
Wiredu (Ed.), A companion to African philosophy. UK: Blackwell
Dukor, M. (2010). African philosophy in the global village: Theistic
panpsychic rationality, axiology and science. Germany: Lap Lambert
Academic Publishing Gmbh & Co.
Gbadegesin, S. (1984). Destiny and the ultimate reality of human exis-
tence: A Yoruba perspective. Ultimate Reality and Meanings: An In-
terdisciplinary studies in the Philosophy of Understanding, 7, 173-
Gbadegesin, S. (1991). African philosophy: Traditional Yoruba phi-
losophy and contemporary Af ric an rea li tie s . New York: Peter Lang.
Gyekye, K. (1987). An essay on African philosophical thought: The Afri-
can conceptual scheme 1. Cam bridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gyekye, K. (1996). African cultural values: An introduction. Accra:
Sankofa Publishing Co.
Lassiter, J. E. (1999). African culture and personality: Bad social sci-
ence, effective social activism, or a call to reinvent ethnology?
Mbiti, J. (1982). African religions and philosophy. London: Heinemann.
Oladipo, O. (1992). The idea of African philosophy. Ibadan: Molecular
Primoratz, I. (1989). Punishment as language. Philosophy, 64, 248.
Sodipo, O. (2004). Notes on the concept of cause and chance in Yoruba
traditional thought. In A. Fadahunsi, & O. Oladipo (Eds.), Philosophy
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 173
and the African prospect: Selected essays of Professor J. Olubi So-
dipo on philosophy, culture and society. Ibadan: Hope Publications.
duigwomen, A. F. (2002). Footmarks on African philosophy. Somolu:
Obaroh and Ogbinaka Publishers Ltd.
Wiredu, K. (1980). Philosophy and an African culture. Cambridge:
Cambridge Universit y Press.