Philosophy and Human Development: Nigerian Context
Philosophy as we all know is the mother of all sciences and a universal discipline that directly enquires into the phenomena of life, while it concerns itself with the basic questions and problems confronting man and his existence and the environment in which he lives. It is a humanistic discipline that guides man and offers him the necessary prescriptions to cope with the challenges of life and existence for his well-being, that of others and for the nation at large. This article tries to relate clearly the sacred role of philosophy with regard to development. As an education of the mind it is a very powerful medium through which necessary skills can be acquired to cope with daily life’s prospects meaningfully. With philosophy, one develops a rational outlook on life that interrogates the basic assumptions and realities of life; the polis, culture, religion, etc. It grapples with the issues of human conduct and value system of the people to think clearly in traditional manner suitable for their culture about the problems on ground and seeks to proffer humane solutions. It enables a rational system of good behaviour and advices the government to permit the role of reason in its affairs. The philosophical education of the mind on the consciousness and the clarity of the fundamental principles (nation’s philosophy) upon which the governance of the nation is constituted helps to inculcate sense of nationalism, patriotism, loyalty and objectivity in the minds of the members, while it empowers them to be non-dogmatic but rational, coherent and act accordingly. To this effect, Philosophers believe that knowledge is power (scientia est potentia) through which one can conquer existential barriers, promote authentic existence and sustainable development. Ignorance on the other hand is an ailment that demotes the standard of life and impedes quality development. It goes to buttress the biblical saying that, “my people perish for lack of knowledge” (Hos. 4:6). In the same vein, our people shrivel for ‘lack of philosophical ideas’ to analyze life’s phenomena properly and make thoughtful decisions that guide their actions towards proper development.