LIFE AFTER DEATH IN YORUBA ONTOLOGY: A CRITIQUE

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Abstract
This paper is a reflection on the puzzle of life after death. It explores the meaning, types and causes of death so as to contemplate the purpose of life. Thus, the paper takes into consideration metaphysical, moral and epistemic issues in the belief in life after death (or life after life). This exploration is done considering the Yoruba philosophy of death (iku), life (iye) and life after death (aye atun wa). We note that, for the Yoruba, life as seen in the body is ephemeral, whereas death (that is, the separation of the soul from the body—iku ara) is a transitory process of life to a renewed life. The paper shows that the Yoruba’s idea of death is not an end to life but a change in its form. It is argued, then, that the Yoruba ontology has the implications that: (a) life is a continuum and, (b) man is not his body, (c) hence, a theory of immortality of the soul is implied. The paper observes that, though certain contradictions exist in the Yoruba worldview, the ethos of the belief seems significant. The paper examines the notions of imo (knowledge) and igbabo (belief) in Yoruba epistemology and thus advances the thesis that their belief in life after death cannot be corroborated, though not unreasonable
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Archival date: 2016-01-20
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2016-01-20

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