By Yusuf Musa
Philosophy is a discipline that enhances the ability of the brain to think and conceptualize ideas, it arms us with the ability to explain difficult phenomena and eliminate ambiguities and vagueness from our arguments.
The absence of philosophy and its concomitant tools of critical thinking and logical reasoning is a threat to the academia in Nigeria. United Nations Economic, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed World Philosophy Day as a day for the revival of such tools and mechanisms and adopted “The Human of the Future” as the theme of this year’s celebration. Baba-Ahmed University in Kano took up the challenge, I think the first in Northern Nigeria, by outlining a series of events to celebrate the day on 15 and 16 November 2023.
Academic papers were presented by academics of high repute across the globe. The Oxford-trained philosopher, Steven Law, presented a paper on “The Value of Philosophy”, he identifies the benefits of philosophy like the ability to identify biases, and prejudices, and improve the ability to detect dodgy arguments, propaganda, and bullshit. Adriana Mica from the University of Warsaw, Poland, discussed “The Human of the Future”, in which she discussed the future of human beings amid artificial intelligence and nuclear proliferation and perfection.
Abula Matthew an economist from Baba-Ahmed University discusses how excessive debt can lead to negative consequences like inflation, high interest rates, and exchange rate instability. He argued that nations must adopt a prudent approach to managing their debt levels, ensuring that it has enough debt to finance critical projects while also ensuring that the debt is sustainable and will not pose a threat to the country’s long-term economic growth and a burden on future generations.
Bashir Bello, a lecturer from the Department of Sociology, at Baba-Ahmed University, discusses social security as the determinant of the human future. He charged stakeholders to provide adequate social security because it is an investment in the humans of the future. The paper presentation session was rounded up by my presentation on the Epistemological approach to the Life and Works of Late Baba-Ahmed. I up-root the epistemological theories of Late Baba-Ahmed from his works by analyzing them within the periscope of ontology and epistemology.
Another captivating session is the motivational talk session in which students and academics convey a highly emotional message on the theme “My Philosophy of Life”. Several captivating experiences and lessons were shared which served as a take-home message to the audience. We finally launched our philosophy of life for the year 2023, the students chose “honesty is the best policy” as the theme. This is another milestone through which moral decisions can be inculcated in the students by enabling them to make rational decisions regarding ethics.
The next event is the African Union Mock Summit in which students analyze and discuss issues in Africa, like the Sudan Civil War, Hamas-Israel Crisis, imperialism, xenophobia in South Africa, genocide in DR Congo, insurgency in Sub-Saharan Africa, African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, etc. The program which was influenced by the popular WTO Mock Summit at Bayero University Kano was aimed to educate the general public on the intricacies of global politics and how such perplexity can be resolved through logical reasoning and critical thinking. Students were encouraged to use their rational faculty to brainstorm on issues in Africa to debate them among their colleagues and present them during the session. The mock summit is a leadership training one, which will arm students with the ability to address critical challenges in due course.
Another important event which is an attempt to revive African culture is the video clip displayed on the day titled “The Aesthetics of Hausa Koroso Dance” written by Bashiru Abu-Hasan from the Department of Political Science, Baba-Ahmed University. The video highlighted the beauty of the dance and how it interprets intricate societal narratives.
To enlighten the public on the contribution of African scholars to the development of logic and philosophy another video written by Habiba Abdurrauf, Department of Accounting, Baba-Ahmed University, was displayed and in which she analyzed the contribution of the North African scholar Abdulkarim Al Maghili in the fields of political thought, law, jurisprudence, logic and philosophy
Programs like this would no doubt arm students with the ability to think critically and improvise their theories, ideas, and concepts devoid of any ambiguity and dogmatism.
The author is a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science, Baba-Ahmed University, Kano