Description - The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful by Barry Hallen
In Yoruba culture, morality and moral values are intimately linked to aesthetics. The purest expression of beauty, at least where human beings are concerned, is to possess a good moral character. But what is the basis on which moral character is judged? how do actions, and especially words, reveal and identify good moral character for a culture that s still significantly based in oral tradition? In this original and intimate look at Yoruba culture, the author asks the Yoruba onisegun, the wisest and most accomplished herbalists or traditional healers, individuals justly reputed to be well versed in Yoruba thought and expression, what is means to be beautiful and good. Posed as an outsider wanting to gain an understanding of how to speak Yoruba correctly, he engages the onisegun and has them explain to him to subtleties and intricacies of Yoruba language use and the philosophy behind particular word choices. Through their instructions, they reveal a striking and profound depiction of Yoruba aesthetic and ethical thought.
The detailed interpretations of everyday language the author supplies provide evidence to challenge prevailing western views that African thought is nothing more than acquiescence to long-established religious or communal values. the philosophy or ordinary language reveals that moral reflections is indeed individual and evaluation of action and character take place on the basis of clearly and rationally delineated criteria. With the onisegun as his guides. The author identifies the priorities of Yoruba philosophy and culture though everyday expression and shows that there are rational pathways to both truth and beauty.
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(235mm x 155mm x mm)
Indiana University Press
Publisher: Indiana University Press
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Author Biography - Barry Hallen
Barry Hallen has taught philosophy at the University of Ile-Ife in Nigeria. He is a Fellow at the W. E. B. DuBois Institute for Afro-American Research at Harvard University and Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Morehouse College. He is co-author (with J. Olubi Sodipo) of Knowledge, Belief, and Witchcraft: Analytic Experiments in African Philosophy.