World Ideas

We are not enjoying today. Why should we? Anybody shouldn't either . You woke up this Mother's Day Sunday morning with more sadness and mists in your eyes than joy. You and I have been thinking about what a screwed-up world we are in. and how unfair and inhumane some of us can be to others. Would women (Muslim and Christian) all over the world ever enjoy Mother's Day celebration? Some horrific bandits armed with bombs and grenades are desecrating whole villages in Northern Nigeria just because they detest impartiality and equal opportunity for women. They equate western education with…
Monday, 30 July 2012 06:00

Lev Vygotsky: Men of Ideas

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Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky was born in Western Russia(Belorussia) in 1896. He graduated with law degree at Moscow University. After graduation, he started teaching at various institutions. Vygotsky's first big research project was in 1925 with his Psychology of Art. A few years later, he pursued a career as a psychologist working with Alexander Luria and Alexei Leontiev. Together, they began the Vygotskian approach to psychology. Vygotsky had no formal training in psychology but it showed that he was fascinated by it. After his death of tuberculosis in 1934, his ideas were repudiated by the government; however, his ideas were kept…
Monday, 30 July 2012 05:39

Albert Bandura: Men of Ideas

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Albert Bandura was born December 4, 1925, in the small town of Mundare in northern Alberta, Canada. He was educated in a small elementary school and high school in one, with minimal resources, yet a remarkable success rate. After high school, he worked for one summer filling holes on the Alaska Highway in the Yukon. He received his bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of British Columbia in 1949. He went on to the University of Iowa, where he received his Ph.D. in 1952. It was there that he came under the influence of the behaviorist tradition and learning…
Sunday, 29 July 2012 23:34

Mary Ainsworth: World Ideas

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Mary Ainsworth was born in Glendale, Ohio, in December of 1913 (Biography, 2002). Ainsworth had two younger sisters and "a close-knit family" (O'Connell, 1983, 201). According to O'Connell, both of her parents graduated from Dickenson College. Her father earned a Master's degree in history. Ainsworth's mother taught for a while then started training to become a nurse, but was soon called home to care for her sick mother. Five years after her mother graduated, she married Ainsworth's father and became a homemaker. When Ainsworth was five, her father was transferred to a job in Canada working at a manufacturing firm,…
Sunday, 29 July 2012 23:06

John Bowlby: Men of Ideas

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John Bowlby was born in 1907. He started his intellectual career at the university of Cambridge where he read medicine, upon the advice of his surgeon father.. In his third year of study, John Bowlby became drawn to what would later be known as developmental psychology, and he temporarily gave up plans for a medical career. After graduation he pursued his new-found interest through volunteer at two progressive schools, the second a small analytically-oriented residential institution that served about 24 maladjusted children, aged 4-18 years. Bowlby is modest about his actual work at the school: "I don't think I would…
Sunday, 29 July 2012 22:51

Jean Piaget : Men of Ideas

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Jean Piaget was born on August 9, 1896 in Neuchatel, Switzerland and died September 17, 1980. He was an influential experimenter and theorist in the field of developmental psychology and in the study of human intelligence. His father was devoted to his writings of medieval literature and the history of Neuchatel. Piaget learned from his father the value of systematic work, even in small matters. His mother was very intelligent, energetic, and kind, but had a rather neurotic temperament that made family life troublesome. Her mental health influenced his studies of psychology and he became interested in psychoanalysis and pathological…
Sunday, 29 July 2012 22:49

John Locke : Men of Ideas

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1. Life John Locke was born at Wrington, a village in Somerset, on August 29, 1632. He was the son of a country solicitor and small landowner who, when the civil war broke out, served as a captain of horse in the parliamentary army. "I no sooner perceived myself in the world than I found myself in a storm," he wrote long afterwards, during the lull in the storm which followed the king's return. But political unrest does not seem to have seriously disturbed the course of his education. He entered Westminster school in 1646, and passed to Christ Church,…
Sunday, 29 July 2012 22:37

Jean-Jacques Rousseau : Men of Ideas

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a. Traditional Biography Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born to Isaac Rousseau and Suzanne Bernard in Geneva on June 28, 1712. His mother died only a few days later on July 7, and his only sibling, an older brother, ran away from home when Rousseau was still a child. Rousseau was therefore brought up mainly by his father, a clockmaker, with whom at an early age he read ancient Greek and Roman literature such as the Lives of Plutarch. His father got into a quarrel with a French captain, and at the risk of imprisonment, left Geneva for the rest of his…
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 07:31

The Deconstructionists Pseudo Thinkers

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This lecture tried to give a picture of the contemporary state of philosophy. Philosophy is in a state of disarray. It appears that academic philosophy really has nothing new to add to philosophy so like the sophists of old they deconstruct language and entertain folks with what seems like clever talk but in the end are really not saying anything that is slightly meaningful. Philosophy has moved on to psychology and psychology itself has reached the end of its tethers and the world awaits a new epistemology. THE DECONSTRUCTIONISTS PSEUDO THINKERS Ozodi Thomas Osuji Some people build and some people…
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 07:26

Existentialist Thinkers

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This lecture reviewed the nature of existentialism and some existentialist writers. I am an existentialist, so, much of the material is drawn from my own experience, my phenomenology, hence is the most authentic in the series. EXISTENTIALIST THINKERS I have somewhere written that the twentieth century produced existentialist thinkers, psychologists and deconstructionist wannabe noise makers. In this lecture I will talk about existentialist's thinkers and in the next about deconstructionist wannabe noise makers. When you look at your existence what do you see? You see that when all is said and done that you are born, grow, age and die.…
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 07:23

The Utilitarian Thinkers

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This lecture reviewed the major utilitarian thinkers, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill. It also added the American William James to the mix. Utilitarianism is the belief that public policy should be guided by what does the most good for most of the people. Utilitarianism is now part of the liberal political ideology. THE UTILITARIAN THINKERS Ozodi Thomas Osuji We have governments but what should those governments be doing for us? Conservative thinkers such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke tell us that the primary function of government is to protect the people. The people are self centered and in pursuit…
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 07:20

German Idealistic Thinkers

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This lecture reviews the major German idealistic philosophers, Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. The reader is encouraged to go read these giants first hand and learn about the amazing capability of the human mind. Communion with great minds, and do not just spout simple ideas that enter your mind. GERMAN IDEALISTIC THINKERS So far we have mostly talked about English and French thinkers and rarely about German thinkers (except Leibniz). Why this absence of one of the most vigorous groups in Europe? It is because though they are physically vigorous Germans have a way about them when it comes…
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 07:17

The Almost Scientific Thinkers

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This lecture reviews those thinkers who were at the cuff of breaking into what we now call scientific thinking; they were not yet quite scientific in the sense that their ideas were not testable and verifiable but were very close to it. I believe that all of us, individuals and nations, go through this progression, from less scientific thinking to scientific thinking. THE ALMOST SCIENTIFIC THINKERS Ozodi Thomas Osuji Life seem like a progression from one point to another, is it not? It seems like we are moving in a lineal fashion from one point to another and in retrospect…
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 07:14

Renaissance To Reformation Thinkers

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This lecture reviewed the thinkers that shepherded Europe from the middle ages into the pre-scientific age. Once these thinkers prepared the ground Europe was ready to take the next step, become scientific, industrialized and modern. Those who seek modernity, such as Africans, need to learn these steps and must take them in some form or another before they can accomplish their goal. RENAISSANCE TO REFORMATION THINKERS Ozodi Thomas Osuji History and the history of ideas go together. Thus we have been tracing the history of Western civilization without really calling it a lesson in Western history. The modern West has…
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 07:11

The Early Christian Thinkers

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This paper reviewed the early Christian theologians, aka philosophers, such as St Augustine, Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, Roger Bacon and William of Ockham. These Christian thinkers employed their understanding of Plato and Aristotle in their efforts to make their Christian religion rational and philosophically sound. Though what these theologians said are no longer acceptable to those of us living in the scientific age, any one wishing to understand the spirit of the West must understand them. You cannot understand the present if you do not understand the past. THE EARLY CHRISTIAN THINKERS Ozodi Thomas Osuji It is reported…
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 07:08


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This brief paper summarizes the essence of the philosophy and teaching of Aristotle; it is recommended that the reader take the trouble to read the many writings of Aristotle. ARISTOTLE Ozodi Thomas Osuji Aristotle studied under Plato (at Plato's Academy). He was Plato's star student. For twenty years he imbibed what his master taught. However, he saw things differently and began expounding his different perception of reality. He established his own school called Lyceum. How does one go about teaching? One shows that one has already understood what ones antecedents taught, seen their problems and improved on them (hopefully). New…
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 07:06


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These write ups on the major philosophers, about sixty-six of them, are meant to help educate folks on what philosophy is all about. The long term goal is to help folks improve their thinking and reasoning on assorted subjects and not take their feelings and opinions as reasoned discourse. SOCRATES/PLATO Generally, most discussion of Western philosophy begins with Socrates. Actually, Socrates did not write anything down. What we know about Socrates comes to us from his star pupil's writing, Plato. Reading Plato, therefore, is the only way to know about Socrates. Thus, Western, or if you like, Greek Philosophy, began…
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 07:02

The Greek And Roman Intellectual Climate

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This paper provides an overview of the various philosophies that littered the Greek, and later the Roman landscape. Understanding of these antecedent ideas are prelude to understanding the major philosophers that we shall presently review. THE GREEK AND ROMAN INTELLECTUAL CLIMATE Ozodi Thomas Osuji Before I begin this review of ancient Greece's intellectual climate, one may ask why it is necessary for Africans to care about this subject. I can see an African nationalist argue that Africans who pay attention to so-called European affairs are those Africans who feel ashamed of their people and culture and identify with everything European,…