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PHILOSOPHY: What you need to know about Philosophy and the role it plays in our lives.

What you need to know about Philosophy and the role it plays in our lives.


Philosophy is the study of the foundation of human knowledge with an emphasis on the condition of its validity and finding answers to ultimate questions.

Though term philosophy is of Western origin and implies a kind of investigation typical of Western culture, it has its equivalents in various other cultures of the world notably India, China and the middle East.

*Philosophy of man 

Before defining philosophy we should first define the term "Definition". Definition is derived from the Latin word "de-finire" meaning "to state the limit of", "to enclose within the limits of", or "to enclose within limits". A thing can be limited by unfolding its nature or by getting its meaning or by laying hold of what includes and extends.

* What is philosophy ?         

Philosophy comes from two Greek words "philia" and "Sofia" meaning love and wisdom respectively. So philosophy  be said to be "philosophia" meaning "love of wisdom". Therefore it is the study of knowledge and wisdom itself.

Humans have always wondered about the nature of our universe and our place within it, therefore all philosophy begins in wonder. Philosophy aims to clear the nature of the universe and the nature and meaning of our lives.  


1.Philosophy is the study of nature and meaning of the universe and human lives.                    - Oxford Advance Learners Dictionary.

2.Philosophy is the truth of reason (Analytical Prepositions).

3.Philosophy is the tenacious attempt of reasoning the most fundamental issues of life to reach reasonable conclusions on first and last things, to suggest worthwhile goals that can command loyalty of individuals and groups.                                     -  Carlis Lamount.

4.Philosophy is a search for comprehensive view of nature, an attempt at a universal explanation of nature of things.                                                   - Alfred Weber

5.Coleridge defined philosophy as the science of sciences.

6.Philosophy is a philosophical process of solving some characteristics methods,from characteristic attitude and arriving at characteristic conclusions and results.           -Dr Ramnath Sharma.

7.According to John Dewey. "Whenever philosophy has been taken seriously it has always been assumed that is signified achieving as wisdom that would influence the conduct of life". 

8.Philosophy is a process of analysis, criticism, interpretation and speculation.

9.Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems,such as those connected with existence, knowledge,values,reason, mind and language.

10.Philosophy is the rational attempt to formulate, understand and answer fundamental questions.

Philosophers definitions arises out of wonder,out of curiosity, out of desire to learn, and to understand things. It deals with analysis, criticism, interpretation and speculation.

*Analysis - If we know how to synthesis and antithesis.

*Synthesis - Put idea together or event of the same characteristics.

*Antithesis - Remove from or put it out. Removing ideas.

*Criticism - Is a process of commenting or giving a judgement even if it's positive or negative.

*Interpretation - Demonstration of ideas.

*Speculation - Being satisfied.


Wisdom is the main goal of philosophy.

Discovering the nature of truth and the nature of knowledge.

It searches for what is basic value and importance in Life.

Examining the relationship between individuals and the society as well as humanity and nature.


Nature of the universe.

Standard of Justice and conduct of Life. 

Validity of knowledge.

Concrete application of reason.

Criteria of beauty.

Relationship between languages and thoughts.


People can clarify what they are believing. 

We can be stimulated to think of ultimate questions.

Philosophy promises us better understanding of ourselves.

Philosophy enables us think carefully and clearly about important issues.

Studying philosophy sharpens our analytical abilities, enabling to identify and evaluate the strengths and weakness in any position.

It hones your ability to construct and articulate cogent arguments of your own.


He who knows not yet,strives to know is a seeker.

He who knows not what he should know is a wanderer, guide him.

He who knows not what he should know is asleep, awaken him.

He who knows not and fears is a slave free him.

He who knows not and rejects to know is dead, pass him.

He who knows and shares what he knows, is wise feed him.

He who knows not but claims to know is an imposter, cast him away.

The cake doesn't make the crumbs, the crumbs make the cake, our lives are what we make of them not someone else ! God's gift to us is life . What is your gift to God ? 



Nation: It is a large body of people United by common descent, history, culture or language, inhibiting a particular country or territory.

Development: It is an event constituting a new stage in a changing situation.

Therefore the term "National Development" is the growth plus change. Change in turn is social and cultural as well as economic and qualitative as well as quantitative.

Furthermore Aristotle,in his politics, points that the fact that every state is a community of some kind, and every community is established with a view of some good. Following this, every nation of some sort is established with a view t to some good. If Nigeria as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has it, is a nation, then the people who have come together to form this nation called Nigeria have some good in view . Primarily this good is their welfare. Whatever is done to promote this welfare is an act of National Development. This is why National Development had been described as the ability of a nation to improve the Life of it's citizens. Hence it is acceptable to hold that "every responsible government is expected to draw comprehensive plans periodically through which the welfare of citizens is enhanced socially, economically and politically among others. In this connection, nothing can be more tenable than the fact that a developed society is the one that has succeeded in providing a source of living for the majority of its inhabitants and that such society, premium is attached to elimination of poverty, provision of food, shelter and clothing its members. 

It becomes clear that the concept of National Development refers to the improvement of the life of the people of Nigeria in various ramification. The ramification of National Development touches on the political, social and physical infrastructural decay, food insecurity, illiteracy, low capacity utilization, neglect of rural areas, insecurity of lives, urban congestion. "This is to say that the development process in Nigeria is quite slow and the development plans are not achieving much of their projected objectives".

But why is this so? Many commentators on the issue point to a number of challenges to National Development including corruption, lack of discipline, lack of commitment over ambitious development plans, lack of continuity of government programmes, inefficient public service and lack of proper public Private sector partnership. Besides other factors challenging National Development in Nigeria are noted to include the inapplicability of development of plans to the Nigerian situation and insufficient funding among others. These challenges to National Development in Nigeria are not insurmountable. As a matter of fact proper philosophy would solve some, if not all of them. And to the questions of how philosophy can achieve this let us now turn. 


Philosophy is useful in National Development in terms of the drafting of workable development plans. As mentioned earlier, philosophy is considered as the love of wisdom and the philosopher is the lover of wisdom. Accordingly, Aristotle notes that it's the office of the wise person to order things to their end. Philosophers know what the best thing is to be done. This is because they have a broad perspective view of things. In this connection philosophy would enable the working out of practicable development plan after the merely wishful ones have been laid off. To be able to do this, philosophers should be incorporated into the actual planning process. With their presence, whatever choices of development strategies are laid down would be the ones possible, given the Nigerian context. Hence, their presence is to question the legitimacy of the choices for national development plans, and so doing to show the ones that are best suited. 

Moreover, philosophy provides proper training for good leaders, not one person would look at the situation in Nigeria and finger bad leadership as a bane of its political life. There is great need for good leaders. The cry for the elimination of corruption and the culture of waste is a testimony to this. Following the platonic Maxim "If Nigeria must develope politically, her Kings must become philosophers and her philosophers, Kings". It is rather strange that in Nigeria, as it's, unfortunately so many other nations, people who have never had a class of political theory would be admitted high public offices of profound political significance. What ideas are such that people suppose to put in practice? This is not to say that possession of theory necessarily means ability to practice? But the real question is, what is a mechanical engineer doing in a bank as a cashier? This look like a misplacement of priorities. No one is doubting the fact that one can have academic background in one field as well as competence in another. But let those whose task it is to do something do it. 

More to this, philosophy ensures the integral development of human person . So the true philosopher is a person who values the moral life and who shows concern for the good of the society. Having such a person at the helm of political affairs can ensure nothing but greater good for all.

Additionally, philosophy furnishes people with requisite autonomy and confidence to raise questions about their fundamental rights. 


1.Tardy economic growth in terms of G.N.P and standard of living.

2.Large scale unemployment and underemployment.

3.Rapid growth of population.

4.Challenges of National and emotional integration.

5.Inertia to change process.

6.Slow process of modernization.

7.Problem of evolving a democratic, socialistic and secular order. 

8.Incidence of poverty and poor standard of living. 

9.Phenomenon of urbanization and it's allied malaise.

10.Lethargic attitude of people to the core values of work and unwillingness to take responsibility.

11.Mismatch between moral and scientific values. 

12.Rise of phenomenon of brain drain.

13.Useless and low quality products of institutions of higher learning. 


1.Development through a well planned national economy.

2.Increase in agricultural production trough application of modern technical know how.

3.Harnessing industrial production. 

4.Development of human resource. 

5.Application of science and technology in production sector.

6.Provision of mass education.

7.Provision of various facilities to meet the needs and aspirations of disadvantaged deprived and poorest of the poor segments of population 


The term 'wrong headed' means ideas or judgement that are not suitable for a particular situation. Plato made mention of providence inspiring their rulers, Kings or their children to embrace true philosophy. Now the question here is, can there be false philosophy? An ideology is sometimes adopted as someone's philosophy of life which can easily become convention.

The maxim " if you can't beat them, join them" is a wrong way of reasoning and a wrong way of approaching philosophy. Such ideas are not suitable in philosophy. 

Many youths have been led astray because of this join them mentality. Many are forced to join them if they can't beat them because they can't get a job or some basic civil rights. The minds of people are no longer tuned to higher things which intrinsic values foster, but they are geared towards acquisitiveness and consumerism. The Nigerian youths have unfortunately found it more convenient this spirit ' bon vivant' than to unbibe the lesson of WAIC (War Against Indiscipline and Corruption ) and of MAMSER ( Mass Mobilization, Economic Recovery, Self reliance and Social justice ). It is disturbing to know within certainty that some Nigerian youths tenaciously going to such indiscreet maxisms as the young shall grow to perpetuate the corruption system. This is as frightening as it is cripplingly, because a philosophy lives through generations and centuries and wrong headed philosophy have tendencies to endanger recurring political problems of the first magnitude. One is disappointed to learn that even though the youths decoy the present state of affairs they nevertheless endorse the philosophy of feasibilism which wants to keep things as they are. Given that these youths are leaders of tomorrow, do we need a prophet to foretell or this nation still has a bleak future? A huge sum of money has been spent on the transmission to civil rule program. New strategies have been adopted eg the open ballot system yet people claim that the elections are not fair and free . Even so, after election what next ? Unless we succeed in changing our philosophy of life and wealth, a change of system will only be like a change of garment which does not touch the inner man.


At this stage word of caution needs to be addressed. Philosophy can be and has been a lethal tool in the hands of many and they have used it wrongly. Indeed philosophy has been used to give ground to such terrible things as slavery, wars, pogroms etc. There is even belief that philosophers are atheists. 

In final analysis philosophy contributes to national development in Nigeria in such a way that it provides national development planners with requisite skills to critically choose which plan suites the Nigerian context . Besides since leadership is a major setback in development in Nigeria, philosophy enables the proper training of good leaders by its emphasis on integral development. And more so, philosophy ensures the anatomy and confidence of the citizenry and offers them the opportunity to exercise their rights.


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