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.
Adebayo, J. (1979), Yoruba Fun Ile-Eko Giga. Ibadan: Heinemann Books,
Adélékè, A. (2010), “Writing” and “Reference” in Ifá Divination Chants, Oral Tradition, 25/2
Ajayi, A. (2005), “Sources for the Study of Early African Culture and Civilization,” in Ajayi, A. (ed.) African Culture and Civilization, Ibadan: Atlantis Books.
Akinwumi, I. (2008), Fabu: Akojopo Awada, Ibadan: D.B. Martey Books.
Akinyemi, A. (2003), “Yoruba Oral literature: A Source of Indigenous Education for children,” Journal of African Cultural Studies 16 (2).
Anyanwu, K.C. (1983), The African Experience in the American market place a scaring indictment of western scholars and their distortion of African culture. New York: Exposition Press.
Audi, R. (1998), Epistemology: A Contemporary Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge. London: Rutledge
Awojoodu, O. and Baran D. (2009), “Traditional Yoruba Medicine in Nigeria: A Comparative Approach,” Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Brasov, Vol. 6 (51).
Awolalu, J.O, and Dopamu P.A, (1979), West African Traditional Religion, Ibadan: Onibouje Press.
Coady, C. A. J. (1992). Testimony: A Philosophical Study, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Ejikemeuwa, J. O.N.(2014), “Nature and Function of Logic in African Epistemology,” Journal of Humanities and Social Science. (IOSR-JHSS) Volume 19, Issue 11.
Fayemi, A. K., & Babajide, O.D. (2015), “Oral Tradition in African Philosophical Discourse: A Critique of Sophie Oluwole's Account”, The African Symposium: An Online Journal of the African Educational Research Network, 57 Volume 15, No. 1, July.
Finnegan, R. (2012), Oral literature in Africa, World Oral Literature Series. Volume 1, Cambridge: Open Book Publishers.
Folorunso, O, & Sofoluwe, J.O. (2002), “On Randomized Expert System for “Ifa” (An Africa Traditional Oracle) Asset: An Int. J. Series B., 1(2): pp. 65-75.
Folorunso, O. (2010), “A Mobile-based knowledge Management System for 'Ifa': An African Traditional Oracle”, African Journal of Mathematics and Computer Science Research. Vol. 3(7).
Hallen, B. (2004), “Yoruba Moral Epistemology”, in K. A Wiredu, (ed) Companion to African Philosophy
Hallen, B. and Sodipo, J. O. (1997), Knowledge, Belief, and Witchcraft: Analytic Experiments in African Philosophy, Stanford: Stanford University Press,
Hountondji, P.J. (1983), “Reason and Tradition” in Oruka, H. O and Masola D. A. (Eds), Philosophy and Culture, Nairobi: Book Wise.
Ihuah, A. S. (1999), “Philosophy in African Oral Text”. Journal of African Philosophy and Studies 2(3), 124-140.
Kanu, I.A (2014), “Igbo Proverbs as Embodiment of Igbo-African Philosophy”. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, Vol.4. No.1
Kaphagawani, D.N & Malherbe, J. (2002), “Epistemology and the Tradition in Africa” in Coetzee, P.H. & Roux, A.P.J. (eds): Philosophy from Africa: A Text with Readings (Second Edition). Cape Town: Oxford University Press
Lackey, J. (2005), “Testimony: Acquiring Knowledge from Others” in Alvin Goldman and Dennis Whitcomb (Eds), Social Epistemology: An Anthology, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Laleye, S. A. (2005), “Contextualism: A paradigm of Epistemic justification in Yoruba Epistemological World view” in Journal of Critical and Analytic Philosophy. Vol: 1
Matthew, W. (2003), “Accepting Testimony.” The Philosophical Quarterly, 53, Olufunke, A. (2007), “The Changing Conception of Elderhood in Ibadan, 1830 – 2000”, Nordic Journal of African Studies 16
Oluwole, S.B. (1999), Philosophy and Oral Tradition. Lagos: ARK Publications.
Omoregbe, J. (1998), Epistemology: A Systematic and Historical Study, Lagos: Joja Educational Research.
Sogolo, G. (1993), Foundations of African Philosophy: A Definitive Analysis of Conceptual Issues in African Thought. Ibadan: University Press.
Tempels, P. (1959), Bantu Philosophy, Paris: Presence Africaine
Tyler, B. (1993), “Content Preservation”. The Philosophical Review 102: 457-488.
Udefi, A. (2012), “Philosophy, Mythology and African Cosmological System”. Ibadan Journal of Humanistic Studies. Nos. 21 & 22.
Udefi, A. (2014), “The Rationale for an African Epistemology: A Critical Examination of the Igbo Views on Knowledge, Belief, and Justification”. Canadian Social Science. Vol. 10, No. 3, DOI: 10 3968/4445
Uduigwomen, A. F. (2002), Footmarks on African Philosophy, Lagos: Obaroh and Ogbinaka Publishers Ltd.
Vansina, J. (1985). Oral tradition: A Study in Historical Methodology. H. M. Wright. (Trans.). London.
Wiredu, K. (2004), A Companion to African Philosophy, Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers.