MORALITY OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT:
ACASE FOR AFRICAN MORAL HUMANISM
Alloy S Ihuah PhD
Department of Rel. and Philosophy
Benue State University,
Human nature, ethicists are agreed, is constituted of reason and passion. Thus, man may be properly defined as a moral being whose actions are either morally rights or morally wrong. Taken as the products of man’s reason, that is, theoretical knowledge, which is episteme, and the principles of action, that is practical knowledge which is techne, contemporary science and technology have their ultimate end in the perfection of the whole man. Thus, if contemporary science and technology must receive credibility as an action of human rational action, its ultimate finality must coincide with that of the destiny of man that is the advancement of the good of the whole human person. Science and technology assumes a proper direction only as far as it achieves the integral good of man, in his/her material and spiritual goods, the two poles between which the human being is caught. A genuine ethic for science and technology consists in a true normative science of human conduct that promotes both the material pole which in reality, the shadow of personality and a spiritual pole which does concern true personality, the meaning and bountifulness of man, the form or the soul of the whole being, man. In this regard, ethical principles concern themselves with the norms of standard of human behaviour along the line of the moral law with the sole aim of advancing the integral good of the human person. This paper attempts a critical evaluation of the morality of human actions. In so doing, we shall undertake an analysis of such ethical theories like moral positivism, ethical hedonism, intuitionism, utilitarianism and categorical imperative. Moral humanism shall be advanced here as a moral theory which brings out the essential features of morality neglected by other ethical perspectives. In itself, it is a morality that is determined by the full, integral development of the human being as a human being. In its essential feature, this ethical paradigm directs the endeavors of the man of science and technology away from dehumanization and depersonalization towards human sustainable living.
Ethical Decision and the Concept of Moral Value
All of us constantly face certain kinds of situations, which is usual to call moral or ethical. Clearly as we recognize or classify such situations as moral, we are not always sure whether our classification is right or wrong. In fact, apart from philosophizing, we are not likely to be very concerned with such clarification. So diverse in nature and context are such situations that we may fail initially to see them as having anything in common. Still, ethical problems are related, and if we give heed, less to the new situations than to the questions they raise, we will see that in these very questions is found the relatedness that links diverse situations as ethical ones. And ethical reflection, we may say, is directed toward certain kinds of questions about human situations and problems, no matter how diverse they may seem. What is it, then, that constitutes an ethical? ‘Ethics’ is derived from the Greek word ‘ethos’ which means “character” and, in the plural, “manners”. The synonym morals derive from the Latin ‘moralis’, which Cicero used to render the Greek ‘ethikos’ and also means “character” and “manners” or “customs”. Such etymologies suggest that the ethical refers to one’s own relationship (character) to his and other’s manners and customs. In reference to philosophical usage, this is partly right, yet partly misleading. Ethical experience and reflection are about human conduct but, what is omitted is the problem of evaluation, of judging by reference to the right and the good; the fundamental principles of the moral law (Omoregbe,...
References: Achebe, C. (1959) Things Fall Apart, Greenwich Ct., Fawcett Pub.
Adams (1946) The Educatioin of Henry Adams, Intro; Adams, James Truslaw, New York, Random House.
Adelakun, F. (1988) “Whose Project? Film in Nigeria’s National Development”, A Paper presented at the First National workshop on the role of film in National Development, at the University of Jos, in August, 1988.
Maritain, J. (1947) The Person and the Common Good, trans. J.J. Fitzgerald, New York: Charles Scribners Sons.
Maritain, J. (1979) An Introduction to Philosophy trans. Watkin, E.I. London, Sheed and Ward.
Mason, S.F. (1979) A History of Science, New York, Collier Books.
Mill, J.S. (2003) Utilitarianism, cited in Omoregbe, J.I. (ed.) Ethic: A Historical and Systematic Study, Lagos. Joja Educational Research and Publishers Ltd.
Momoh, C.S. (ed) (2000) Philosophy For All Disciplines, Vol. II, Lagos, Department of Philosophy Publications.
Momoh, C.S. (ed) (2000) The Substance of African Philosophy, Auchi, African Philosophy Projects Publications.
Newsweek, March, 10, 1997.
Omoregbe, J.I. (1990) Knowing Philosophy, Lagos, Joja Educational Research and Publishers Ltd.
Omoregbe, J.I. (2003) Ethics: A Historical and Systematic Study, Lagos, Joja Educational Research and Publishers Ltd.
Ozumba, G.O. (2001) A Course Text on Ethics Lagos, Obaroh and Ogbinaka Publishers ltd.
Royce, J.E. (1969), Man and Meaning, New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co.
Russell, B. (1927) Selected Papers of Bertrand Russell, New York.
Russell, B. (1962) “The Taming of Power” In the Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell (1903-1959), R.E. Egner, & Dennon (eds), New York: Simon & Schuster .
Sofola, J.A. (1973) African Culture and African Personality, Ibadan, African Resource Publishers.
Stumpf, S.E. (1993) Elements of Philosophy: An Introduction (3rd edition) new York, McGraw Hill, Inc.
Temples, P. (1959) Bantu Philosophy, Paris Presence Africaine.
Time Magazine (1984)
Please join StudyMode to read the full document