Philosophy and rationality in taboos with special reference to Kenyan Luo culture
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This- work, III its examination- of the concept of taboo and its .institution , recognizes that the basis for the dread of taboo which makes it appear less responsive to social change, is the mystification of this concept by which the ideas of God(s) or ancestral spirits are presented as essential to its definition and operations. In this work, the issues of God and spirits have been examined generally and in particular in the Luo belief system. It is argued here that God(s) and spirits, as independent objective existence, are logically and conceptually untenable, hence are not capable of giving edicts for human conducts. This work concludes that 'taboos' in general and by extension, the Luo taboos, are fundamentally human formulations for the regulation of people's behaviour in society, and hence have nothing to do with the works of 'God(s)' or 'spirits'. However, they have some social functions which should be, when necessary, rationally and with good grace appreciated. But when a social need arises which requires their change or abandonment, that should be granted as a matter of rational 'principle. We have shown how this exercise can be carried out by rationally discerning some Luo 'taboos' to reveal their possible "Socialfunctions since we realized that it is humanly impossible to attempt to do that to each and every 'taboo' because there are numerous 'taboos' in each society. However, the exercise needs a very penetrative, critical and systematic mind, that is, philosophical mind.
CitationA thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of master of arts in philosophy at the university of Nairobi.
Department of Arts-Philosophy