The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful: Discourse about Values in Yoruba Culture by Barry HallenThe Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful
Discourse about Values in Yoruba Culture
Reveals everyday language as the key to understanding morals and ethics in Yoruba culture.
This contrasts with any suggestion that in Yoruba or, more generally, African society, moral thinking manifests nothing much more than a supine acquiescence in long established communal values.... Hallen renders a great service to African philosophy. --Kwasi Wiredu
In Yoruba culture, morality and moral values are intimately linked to aesthetics. The purest expression of beauty, at least for human beings, is to possess good moral character. But how is moral character judged? How do actions, and especially words, reveal good moral character in a culture that is still significantly based on oral tradition? In this original and intimate look at Yoruba culture, Barry Hallen asks the Yoruba onisegun--the wisest and most accomplished herbalists or traditional healers, individuals justly reputed to be well versed in Yoruba thought and expression--what it means to be good and beautiful. Posed as an outsider wanting to gain understanding of how to speak Yoruba correctly, Hallen engages the onisegun and has them explain the subtleties and intricacies of Yoruba language use and the philosophy behind particular word choices. Their instructions reveal a striking and profound depiction of Yoruba aesthetic and ethical thought. The detailed interpretations of everyday language that Hallen supplies challenge prevailing Western views that African thought is nothing more than acquiescence to long-established religious or communal values. The philosophy of ordinary language reveals that moral reflection is indeed individual and that evaluations of action and character take place on the basis of clearly and logically delineated criteria. With the onisegun as his guides, Hallen identifies the priorities of Yoruba philosophy and culture through everyday expression and shows that there are rational pathways to both truth and beauty.
Barry Hallen has taught philosophy at the Obafemi Awolowo University (formerly University of Ife) in Nigeria. He is a Fellow at the W. E. B. DuBois Institute for Afro-American Research at Harvard University and Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Morehouse College. He is coauthor (with J. Olubi Sodipo) of Knowledge, Belief, and Witchcraft: Analytic Experiments in African Philosophy.
Ordinary Language and African Philosophy
Me, My Self, and My Destiny
The Good and the Bad
Rationality, Individuality, Secularity, and the Proverbial
Appendix of Yoruba-Language Quotations
Glossary of Yoruba Terms
There are many actions which we will condemn as morally wrong and ought not to be done by anybody, for example, stealing, murder, bribery aimed robbery and corruption e. How do we determine the badness or wrongness and goodness or rightness of certain actions?. To answer these questions and the likes, we need a science, which deals with human conduct. The science which deals with human conduct is regarded as ethics1. Ethics is therefore a yardstick used for measuring the goodness or rightness and wrongness or badness of certain actions or conducts.
A discourse on the fundamental principles of character in an African moral philosophy
Use of this Web site signifies your agreement to the terms and conditions. Special Issues. Contact Us. International Journal of Philosophy. This paper uses the moral philosophy of the Kom people of the North West Region of Cameroon as a paradigm of an African moral thought. The paper hinges on the premise that contrary to some Western ethnographic categorization of Africans as primitive and bereft of the capacity for ratiocination and morality, the concept of good and evil, right and wrong, and virtue and vice, on which morality is embedded, are cultural universals.
Reveals everyday language as the key to understanding morals and ethics in Yoruba culture. Hallen renders a great service to African philosophy. In Yoruba culture, morality and moral values are intimately linked to aesthetics. The purest expression of beauty, at least for human beings, is to possess good moral character. But how is moral character judged? How do actions, and especially words, reveal good moral character in a culture that is still significantly based on oral tradition?
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