An exposition and critique of H. Odera Oruka's philosophy
This work is a conceptualization of the philosophy ofH. Odera Oruka. It is, in the main, an exposition of the philosophical ideas of Odera Oruka. The problem this work set out to address is to investigate and determine the nature of Oruka's philosophy and philosophical commitment. It is therefore an attempt at identifying some fundamental ideas around which Oruka's philosophical works revolve and on the basis of which they are understood and interpreted. A philosophy of an individual constitutes one's fundamental ideas which either form an ideatic thread running through one's works or a kind of an eclectic web. The general objective of this work, as already been mentioned, was to identify main ideas or ideals the pursuit of which dominated Oruka's philosophical engagement, and from which his philosophical commitments are inferable. More specifically, this work was concerned with the thematization of Oruka's philosophical works and the determination of the nature of connection between the themes. In pursuit of the objectives, this work adopts a holistic conception of philosophy by which philosophy is conceived as essentially normative. A deeper comprehension of philosophy as love of wisdom reveals that philosophy has both theoretical and practical aspects; but that the theoretical aspect is just a means to the practical or normative aspect. I posit, as the finding of this research, that Oruka's philosophy rests on the fundamental idea of human minimum; which is the minimum necessary for a human being to live a life worthy of a human person - a life of some dignity and which accords a human person the capacity to exercise rationality as a moral agent. A condition of life below the minimum deprives a human being of personhood and reduces a human being to a moral patient; but not a moral agent. Such a human being lacks in dignity and the ability to make moral choices for which one can be morally held responsible. In essence, Oruka's philosophy is based on the recognition or is an affirmation that there is no greater right of a human being than that to life and dignity. Consequently, his philosophy is a commitment to the search and articulation of a moral principle that would guarantee and safeguard the primacy of human life and dignity. The human minimum is a moral minimum which is both a right and a duty. As a right, it is the minimum that any human being, who cannot meet it by his/her own efforts, can reasonably demand from fellow human beings as moral beings. But as a duty, the human minimum imposes moral obligation on any human person to ensure that any other human being who lacks the human minimum is assisted to have it. The human minimum is also the lowest limit of social justice; it is the minimum necessary for any sensible talk about social justice. Therefore, Oruka's philosophy is essentially a search for a moral principle that would elevate human survival and dignity to the primacy of social justice. In recognition of the primacy of human life and dignity, and the fact that our world is increasingly becoming bedevilled by great inhumanity, this research recommends that it is imperative that scholars and governments world over should emphasize the respect and realization of the right to a human minimum as a fundamental universal human right, and as a means towards the humanization of our world.