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Justification, Oral Testimony, Epistemology, Igbo, Yoruba.


This article is aimed at justifying oral testimony as a source of knowing in Igbo and Yoruba epistemology. This paper was informed by the fact that although previous studies on the subject by scholars acknowledged that orality is a crucial aspect of acquiring, retaining and disseminating knowledge in Africa, however, their claims were neither argued with appropriate epistemological theory and methodology, nor with processes or procedures for evaluating and authenticating orality which brought about prejudice and presupposition in their works and in turn makes their arguments and conclusions inadequate. This lacuna made contemporary epistemological discourses in African Philosophy to barely capture the plural oral indigenous knowledge systems which had made meaning to individuals, peoples as well as cultural groups in traditional Africa. This paper is aimed at filling this gap by using epistemological context-based theory to examine Igbo and Yoruba oral testimony arising from proverbial knowledge, mystical knowledge, mythical knowledge, symbolic knowledge, old-age knowledge, folklore knowledge, intuitive knowledge, religious knowledge and oral tradition. This will be done through the epistemological theory and methodology of reductionist and non-reductionist approaches, which emphasise critical analysis and philosophical evaluation in justifying knowledge claims on the basis of what we are told or heard. Hence, our conclusion is that oral testimony is as much a justification for believing and claiming to know in Igbo and Yoruba epistemological context and is arguably a veritable, valuable and authentic means of acquiring, retaining and disseminating knowledge.

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