1. Meaning and nature of philosophy
  2. Branches of philosophy
  3. Relationship and importance of philosophy to man.


Philosophy is regarded as the most difficult as well as abstract of all subjects, far removed from issues of daily life. Despite the fact that many of us think of it being extremely far from normal interests and beyond comprehension, almost all of us are philosophical. Most people are unclear about what philosophy is, the term appears commonly used in their conversations.

The word, philosophy is delivered from a Greek language, filosofia (philosophia), which is a union of two words, filia (philia, that is, love) and Sofia (Sophia, that is, wisdom). Thus philosophy is love of wisdom. If one love something, he or she searches for it. Similarly, love of wisdom means searching for wisdom. However, in popular usage, many different ideas are involved in the manner we use the term. At times we mean by ‘philosophy’ an attitude towards certain undertakings, for example, one may say ‘I disapprove your philosophy of doing agriculture’ or ‘I am voting for that person because I favour his/her philosophy about governance.’

Also, people talk about being ‘philosophical’ when they mean taking a long – range and detached view of certain immediate problems. When one is disappointed, people may suggest to him or her that he or she be ‘philosophical in handling the issue,’ like when one misses a bus. Here they mean to say that he or she should not be over – concerned with events of the moment, instead should ponder about alternatives. In yet another sense, we think of philosophy as an evaluation or interpretation of what is important or meaningful in life. Such usage may be indicated by the story of two people who were drinking tea together. One of them held his teacup to the front, scrutinized it thoughtfully, and then observed, ‘life is like a teacup. ‘his companion looked up at the teacup, turned to his friend and asked, ‘when is life like a teacup? He answered, ‘how should I know? I am not a philosopher?


However, philosophy has many definitions depending on one’s orientation. Indeed, throughout history, philosophy has been defined to mean one thing or another. Generally, philosophy is the science of primary causes =of being for the purpose of solving life problems. It is a science because its objective is to understand concepts through an investigation of their causes. In addition, philosophy is the science of primary causes because it is metaphysical or it transcends experience and it does not stop until it has investigated the whole procession of causes from the ultimate cause.

It is the science of prime causes in order to find solutions to problems of life contained in the question, “Why am I on this earth?’’

  1. Specifically, philosophy is the study of science of truth or principles underlying all knowledge and being or reality.
  2. It is a system of speculative beliefs such as when one speaks of Aristotelian philosophy or Marxist philosophy.
  3. It also denotes a set of convictions or stands on sensitive issues, such as when one speaks of Mrema’s philosophy or Mtikila’s philosophy.
  4. It also means a system of doctrine such as Ujamaa philosophy, the Idealist philosophy, and so on.
  5. It can mean a study of principles of a particular branch or subject of knowledge, for example, Philosophy of History.
  6. Philosophy also means a system of principles for guidance in practical affairs, for example, the philosophy of the United States of America on foreign affairs policies concerning the Middle East. In summary, philosophy can be defined as man’s intellectual and critical activity of which he desires to understand and explain things as he experiences them as well as they are in themselves. Thus, through philosophy, man is desirous to pursue truth.


There are many ways of branching philosophy, writers are providing a varying number of branches of philosophy, but in this chapter let us stick to 6 branches of philosophy, as they are listed down:

(a) Metaphysics

(b) Ethics

(c) Logic

(d) Epistemology

(e) Aesthetics


Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy which studies the whole of reality, seeking for its ultimate causes in an absolute sense. Metaphysics seeks for causes that, in the final analysis, account for being, including diverse manners of being things.

In a philosophical sense, metaphysics literally means “after physics” or “beyond physics” such that it is normally understood as the branch of philosophy that comes after natural philosophy and has for its study not merely physical being, but being as such. The discipline is also know as ontology (from the Greek word on, that is, being) because it studies the meaning, structure and principles of whatever exists and how it exists. In due regard, metaphysics is not limited to some kinds of being, unlike other branches of philosophy and particular sciences.

Thus, it is a study of the fundamental nature of reality and existence, including the essence of things.

Essence = What make something to be what it is.

Existence = The isness of things, it is reality, it is BEING.

The study of metaphysics tries to solve the following questions.

• What is real?

• What is the distinction between reality and appearance?

• What are the most general principles and concepts by which our experiences can be interpreted, as well as understood?

Ontology has some fundamental characteristics that include unity, truth and goodness. The characteristics are said to be coexistent with being, such that in regard to the measure as well as manner in which a thing shares in these characteristics it possesses. Together with the study of the fundamental characteristics of being, metaphysics examines the first principles and principles of being. The former includes first, the principle of contradiction which holds that the same thing cannot be and be at the sametime. Second, the principle of identity states that every being is determined in itself, is oneself as well as is consistent in itself. Third, the principle of excluded middle that states that there cannot be an intermediate between contradictions. Fourth, the principle of intelligibility that holds that everything that is, insofar as it is, intelligible.

Fifth, the principle of sufficient reason states that everything that exists has a sufficient reason for its existence. Sixth, the principle of causality holds that whatever comes to has a cause. Seventh, the principle of finality maintains that everything acts as an end, or that all beings, when acting, tend to have definite effect.


• On the other hand, principles of being are principles that explain how being can be shared by different entities, and how such entities, while differing from one another, can still be similar as beings. Principles of being are distinguished into intrinsic and extrinsic principles. The former are potency acts as well as essence and existence. The later principles are causality and participation.

• Natural theology is part of metaphysics. Metaphysics can seek for knowledge of God only as He is related to material things as their principle or first cause. Thus, natural theology works out proofs of God’s existence and it attempts to expound something about His essence and attributes. Finally, natural theology studies divine causality and the nature of evil.

• Metaphysicians do not agree on the same answer as each group regards. Its stand to be most correct of all positions. For example, on the question of composition of the universe. There is a problem whether there is any single stuff or substance of which all things are composed. Some metaphysicians (especially monists) hold that there is but one such substance. Monists reduce the composition of the universe either to matter only or to spirit (mind) only. According to them either matter is reduced to spirit consciousness or experience. They are known as idealists, such as Berkeley and Hume, or spirit is reduced to activities of matter and become nothing else but matter they are known as materialists, such as Democritus and Hobbes.

• Still some other philosophers believe that matter and spirit are two forms of existence irreducible and equally real. One of these philosophers is Descartes, according to these metaphysicians, both matter and spirit contributed to the composition of the universe.


Theodicy is the study of God according to human mind. It is distinct from Theology, which studies God according to revelation. Theodicy is the activity of human mind combined with experience to understand existence of God.

Theodicy tries to answer questions like:

• Is the idea of God a reality in itself?

• Can man know God without revelation?

• How does the idea of God come about?

• It is because of finiteness of man that the idea of God comes?

• Does the universe need any god for its being?

• Does man possess a free will or are our actions determined by causes over which we have no control?


In this regard, we have THEISM, which attributes everything including mind to originate from the Supreme Being, the Uncaused Causer, the Unmoved Mover, the Degree of Perfection, the Designer of Order in the Universe and the Finality of Creation.

These are five ways of proving the existence of God, using the human mind. Theism is divided into two parts, Monotheism – belief in the existence of one God, and Polytheism – belief in the existence of many gods.


Metaphysics is divided into two areas, i.e. Cosmology and Ontology.


Cosmology also referred to as “philosophy of nature” is the branch of philosophy, which deals with the study of material beings that make up the physical universe. The study of cosmology tries to solve the following questions:-

  • What is time?
  • What is space?
  • Is there a relation between time and space?
  • Where does the universe come from?
  • What is the finality of the universe?
  • Does the universe have a purpose?

In fact, cosmology examines the being of bodies in two main ways: First, bodies as three – dimension extensions (that is, width, length and height) and second, bodies as perceived by senses, that is, as possessing certain active as well as passive properties.

The subject matter of cosmology is “nature”. Nature is defined as the principle cause of motion and rest in which it is primarily, by reason it self and not accidentally.

Motion denoted to any kind of bodily change, accidental or substantial, while rest refers to attainment of the end to which change was directed. In cosmology, motion has two meanings. In the wide sense, motion stands for any continous as well as successive change, usually said to be movement. Cosmology deals with the issues of time and place (or space).

Time and Space:

When philosophers want to understand the nature of the universe, they often begin by examining the nature of time and space. Such questions include the following.

“Can there be time without change?”

“Is space something distinct from objects in the universe?’’


In this regard, some philosophers argue that time and space are absolute, that is, independent of any change in arrangement of contents of the universe. Time and space are absolute. Other philosophers are relativistic, that is, they believe that both time and space can be reduced to relationships between things in the universe. According to relativists, time and space are limited to things in the universe. Ontology is the study of being.

Dualism contends that mind and matter are two fundamentally distinct kinds of things. According to dualism, it could be impossible for a physical process to have a non – physical effect or mental event to result in changes in the physical world. Therefore, physical phenomenon results to physical changes and mental or spiritual phenomenon give rise to spiritual or mental changes. These two phenomena interact to one another and are responsible to physical as well as non – physical events.

Monism denies that mind and matter are two different things. According to monists, the two are but only one phenomenon. Monists as Materialists, assert that only matter exists and all mental phenomena are produced by the activity of matter. Soul/mind has no real existence. Idealist, on the other hand, hold that only ideas exist. All material things are an expression of an idea/ mind. There is on existence without mind and therefore, matter has no real existence.

Philosophical psychology studies human knowledge. It is also concerned with other human faculties such as desire, wish (or volition) as well as love psychology develops into philosophical anthropology. Philosophical anthropology analyses the nature of human and its immortality. In addition, it examines the mystery of personality and individual differences.

Metaphysics is having a number of theories developed by the philosophers, i.e materialism, idealism, mechanism and teleology

Materialism: maintains that only matter has real existence and that feelings, thoughts and other mental phenomena are produced by the activity of matter.

Idealism: states that every material thing is an idea or a from of an idea. In idealism mental phenomena are what is fundamentally important.

Mechanism: maintains that all happenings result from purely mechanical forces not from purpose, and that it makes no sense to speak of the universe itself as having a purpose.

Teleology: on the other hand, states that the universe and every thing in it exist and occur for some purpose.


Traditional metaphysics does not seem to meet all requirements. The conclusions arrived at by metaphysicians tend to be private and idiosyncratic. The extravagant claim of metaphysics as “the queen of sciences” is now largely abandoned for much of its subject matter is now in the domain of the empirical sciences which use the scientific methods.


The term ethics has its roots connected with a Greek term ethos, meaning custom or conduct. It is equivalent in meaning to moral philosophy which is similarly connected with a Latin term mores, customs and behaviour.

Ethics or moral philosophy studies the moral aspect of human activity in order to orient such activity toward what is “good” for man – self-actualization. Thus, the study seeks to uncover the moral of such acts (good or bad, duty or prohibitive) in order to discover some safe perceptions that help man use correctly his freedom to actualize himself. In addition, the study does not deal with how humans behave, but how they ought to behave.

In due regard, ethics discusses problems such as:-

• What makes right actions right and wrong actions wrong?

• What is good and what is bad?

• What are proper values of life?

Problems arise about the ethics because we always have difficulties in knowing exactly the right thing to do. In many cases, our obligations culminate in conflict or are vague. In addition, people often disagree about whether a particular action or principle is morally right or wrong.

Moral Values:

• The question of moral values lies outside the domain of science. Scientific investigation can tell us how people behave under a given condition (psychology). But it cannot tell us how they ought to behave under those conditions. Laws of nature can have nothing to say about good and evil.

• There are, for instance, no scientifically observable facts, which will settle the question whether or not armed robbers ought to be put to death.

• In questions about what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad, we are concerned with making value judgments.

To say that such things as fairness, honesty, liberty, and democracy are good, and that murder, cruelty, exploitation, dictatorship, and dishonesty are bad, is to make a value judgment. There is no scientific proof to support the verdict that they are good or bad.


• Value judgments are expressions of attitudes or wishes of those making them. They are essentially private and not public. Since value judgments are expressions of individual preferences, they do not necessarily commit any body else.

Agreement on Ethical Values:

In matters of ethics, there can be only persuasions and agreements between individuals or groups. Surprisingly, however, human societies have always shown the remarkable capacity to adhere to common ethical values. If it were not so, chaos would reign. More surprisingly still, humans as a whole seem to agree on certain basic ethical values, such as respect to others life, lusts, individualism and so on.


This philosophy maintains that what is right or wrong depends on a particular culture concerned. What is right in one society can be wrong in another society. There is no basic standard by which a certain culture may be judged right or wrong.


In objectivism, it is claimed that there are objective standards of right and wrong, which can be discovered as well as be applied to all (everyone). These are inborn senses of ethics, that do not need to be taught.


Subjectivists claim that all moral standards are subjective matters of taste or opinions. Everyone has his/her taste and opinions. Thus, it is impossible to have the standard moral value or practice.

In fact, the term ethics has been used in three quite related manners, signifying the following: Firstly, a general pattern or way of life, for example, people commonly speak of Buddhist or Christian ethics. Secondly, the term ethics signifies a set of rules of conduct or moral code,

e.g. professional ethics (for example, medical ethics, teaching ethics and so on) or unethical behaiour. Finally, the term ethics signifies an inquiry about ways of life as well as rules of conduct. In this sense, ethics is a branch of philosophy.


Aesthetics is the branch of philosophy, which deals with creation and principles of art as well as beauty. It also studies our thoughts, feelings and attitudes when we see, hear or read about something beautiful. There could be works of art such as a painting, symphony or poem, or it may be a sunset or other natural phenomena. Aesthetics also investigates the experience of engaging in activities such as painting, dancing, acting and playing. Also this branch


deals with experience and principles of criticism. Furthermore, it involves both works of art created by human beings and beauty found in nature.

Aesthetics is sometimes identified with the philosophy of art which deals with the following:-

• the nature of art;

• the process of artistic creation;

• the nature of artistic experience; and

• principles of criticism.

But aesthetics has a wider application. It involves both works of art created by human beings and beauty found in nature.

• Philosophers per se do not include this branch in philosophy, but rather, places it under

science of beauty or practical philosophy.

Aesthetics, Ethics and Political Philosophy

What are the differences between Aesthetics, Ethics and Poilitical Philosophy? How do they relate?

Aesthetics relates to Ethics and Political philosophy when we ask questions about what role art and beauty should play in a society, as well as in an individual’s life. Such questions include:-

• How can people’s taste in the arts be improved?

• How should arts be taught in schools?

• Do governments have the right to restrict artistic expressions?

• Are there any international standards for art and beauty?

• How standard are those international standards?


Logic is a branch philosophy, which deals with the study of the principles and methods of reasoning. Logic distinguishes between good (sound) and bad (unsound) reasoning.

Logic comes from Greek word logo V (logos meaning word). Therefore, it means the study of words. Words are uttered when we reason, when we utter words. All branches of philosophy employ thinking, whether or not such thinking will be correct, will depend on whether or not such thinking is in accord with laws of logic.

It has to be noted that logic is not a branch of psychology and that it does not deal with all types of thinking. Logic differs markedly from psychology be cause it does not deal with


all types of thinking such as slearning, remembering, day – dreaming, supposing and so on. But it only deals with that types of reasoning known as reasoning. In addition, it has to be borne in mind that while the psychologist is concerned with mental processes of the thinker, the logicians is concerned with the reasoning itself. The logician is concerned not with why people think in certain ways, but with formulation of rules that will enable us to test whether or not any particular piece or reasoning is coherent as well as consistent. That is, whether or not it is logical.

Thus logic shows the manner and according to what rules reason gets truth, as well as acquires sound knowledge. In due regard, logic studies our mental processes such that it uncovers laws governing them. There are three orders of rational thinking, namely: Simple apprehension, that is, grasping mentally an object without affirming or denying anything about it. Judgment, that is, a mental act whereby people affirm or deny something of something else. Reasoning, that is, the mental process whereby people proceed to new knowledge from prior former knowledge.

• The three orders give a threefold division, namely, logic of the term, logic of judgment and logic of reasoning.

Simple Apprehension:

Simple apprehension is the first knowledge, which we get before making judgment. Man uses sense of knowledge to have the first instance of knowing. The five senses of the human body, namely, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and touching (feeling) are the most important sources of knowledge of simple apprehension.

Simple apprehension also depends on the condition of a sense organ which leads to a defect on knowledge and therefore, the whole simple apprehension process. For example, a sick person undergoing malaria treatment using quinine will taste everything bitter and hearing will be partially impaired. Thus, two sensory organs will be temporarily incapacitated. This endangers the process of simple apprehension.


Judgment is the second process of Logic. After observation of things having the same characteristics, we start making judgments. For example, when one sees a giraffe in a National Park (Mikumi or Serengeti National Park), that simple apprehension remains in one’s intellect. When that person sees another creature of that type, he/she will say, “that is a giraffe”.That person will judge even characteristics of that animal as when he or she saw the animal for the first time. For example, behavioral attributes, like feeding on acacia tree leaves. Thus, judgment is an essential part of the reasoning process.



Reasoning is the final stage in Logic. It comes after simple apprehension and judgment. For example, when a person observes (biological) characteristics of a donkey and later on observes that they are similar to those of a zebra, that person can conclude that donkeys and zebras belong to the same group (family). The process can be arrived at through a process of using a syllogism.

For example, all animals having the same characteristics belong to the same family:-

• Zebras and donkeys have similar characteristics.

• Zebra and donkeys belong to the same family.

An inference of reasoning is called argument. An argument consists of a set of statements called premises together with a statement called conclusion. Normally, the conclusion is derived from premises. This is called a syllogism, that, an argument of which given two premises with a middle term, conclusion follows with necessity. The middle term is the word or clause or phrase, which joins the two premises but is not found in the conclusion.

For example, all human beings are mortal.

• All Greeks are human beings.

• All Greeks are mortal.

In the above statement:

All human being are mortal and all Greek are human beings.

• The use of human beings is in both premises. That means human beings form the middle term because the words appear in both premises.

• Again the word mortal is in the first sentence but it is not contained in the second sentence. The word mortal becomes our first term in the premises.

• Conclusion is normally joining the first term and the second term by omitting the middle term, that is, all Greeks are mortal.

• But the first premise must be universal while the second premise should not contain ideas shared by members of all those included in the first premise and others outside the premise to make the argument valid. Otherwise, the argument will be invalid.

• For example, all human beings are morta,l all Greek are mortal, and all Greeks are human beings.

The problem here is the idea of mortality, which is shared by all living things. The term mortal does not belong to human beings only and cannot be the middle term for such comparison, because one could also argue in the following manner.


• All the human being are mortal

• All dogs are mortal

• All dogs are human beings.

Types of Reasoning:

There are two types of reasoning called deductive and inductive:

Deductive reasoning is undertaken whereby a conclusion is necessarily taken from the premises. Given the true and valid premises, conclusion becomes true and valid. Deductive reasoning is used to explore necessary consequences of certain assumptions.

For example all passengers in that bus died in the accident:-

• Kakeli was one of passengers in the bus.

• Kakeli died in the accident.

Inductive reasoning involves premises derived from observations of certain common phenomena. In fact, conclusion begins with generalization of certain characteristic features and results to other conclusions.

Epistemology (Criteriology)

Epistemology is the branch of metaphysics devoted to the study of nature, basis and extent of knowledge. It explorers the various ways of knowing, the nature of truth and the relationship between knowledge and belief. The name comes from the Greek name, episteme, meaning knowledge in the truth, as well certain sense. Epistemology is also called Criteriology, from the Greek name, criterion, meaning a criterion or rule by which one may test knowledge to distinguish the true from the false. Less frequently it is known as a knownledge to distinguish the true from the false. Less frequently it is known as Gnoseology, from the Greek name, gnosis, meaning knowledge in a quite general sense. As already presented, the diversity of names reflects the controversial aspects of the discipline.

Epistemology (Criteriology) tries to solve the following questions:-

• What are features of genuine knowledge as distinct to what appears to be knowledge?

• What is truth?

• How can we know what is true from false?

• Are there different kinds of knowledge with different grounds and characteristics?

• What is knowledge? Is it in the book? Is it in the person?

• What does “to know” mean?

• Is knowing means understanding? Or is knowing the same as remembering? Is believing also a kind of knowing?


Philosophers distinguish between two kinds of knowledge, namely, a priori and a posteriori. A priori knowledge we arrive at through thinking without appealing to experience. It is knowledge from reason alone. For example a minute consists 60 seconds. 60 minutes make one hour. Therefore, there are 3,600 second in one hour. This knowledge is arrived at through the activity of thinking alone.

A posteriori knowledge or empirical knowledge is knowledge we get through observation and experience. Such knowledge like typing, playing a piano, playing a guitar, driving a motor vehicle, riding a bicycle, tailoring and so forth are obtained through observations and experience.

The nature of Truth:

Philosophers have been discussing the nature of truth since ancient time, partly because people so often use the term ”true” for ideas they find congenial, and want to believe and “false” for ideas they find not congenial. People also disagree about, which ideas are true and, which are false.

Criteria for truth:

Philosophers have attempted to define criteria for distinguishing between truth and error. But they disagree about what truth means and how to arrive at true ideas.

Examples include the following:

• Correspondence theory: holds that an idea is true if it correspondences to facts of reality.

• Pragmatic theory: maintains that an idea is true if it works or settles problems it deals with.

• Skepticism theory: claims that knowledge is impossible to attain and that truth is unknowable.

Sources of knowledge:

(i) Intuitive knowledge:-

This is the first knowledge. It is obtained through intuition. It is the most basic and most stable knowledge, which we get without being taught. Also it is a knowledge which comes from the insight of a person. A person just come up to conclusion through experiences. He many reach the conclusion about certain issue without analytical processes and not with scientific evidences. This knowledge includes sense of prediction, telepath of the work of tradition healers/doctors. the intuitive knowledge is a source of empirical knowledge, which also is used in military plans.


(ii) Empirical knowledge:-

This is sense knowledge. It is obtained through use of our senses. It is the foundation of so many forms of knowledge that human beings obtain. It is learnt by seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling. It is a kind of knowledge which is the surest and most dependable to understand the reality. Sometimes our senses are limited to give us exactly picture of an object e.g. always the stick that looks bent in the water but is not true. Other variables contributing a lot to make our senses perfect. For example, prejudices, physical fitness, weather condition etc. All these may affect our sensible knowledge of the world. Empirical knowledge is not reliable knowledge to depend on, because it needs other factors to be complete. It is only one of the avenues to understanding reality.

(iii) Scientific knowledge/pragmatism and extencialism

This knowledge is obtained through observations, experience trial and error as well as reasoning. It is the mixture of reasoning and experience. It is stable knowledge. Its theory maintains that an idea is true if it works or settles something it deals with.

(iv) Authoritative knowledge:

This is the knowledge we get from people with authority in their respective fields. People often believe easily something given from people with authority. For example, political leaders, religious leaders, institutional authorities, elders in societies, teachers and so on. These are people entrusted with power to pass knowledge to others. Also it is the type of knowledge which its research has already been done and various books (text books) have been written about them e.g. dictionaries, journals, encyclopedias, historical and geographical books, atlas, and other written documents.

Sometimes knowledge from highly learned people, e.g. professors, doctors and other academicians, is believed because we are sure that they cannot deceive us from what they have written or said. For example through (geography we know more about the earth and its components, including cities, countries, climates, economical and political activities) and we believe everything is true.

(v) Revealed knowledge:

This is divine knowledge given to human beings through revelation. Religious knowledge has its authority based on this. Thus, God revealed it. Knowledge gained from Holy Books is believed because it was revealed. Such knowledge is only stable to followers of the same religious denomination and may not be believed by others who are not of the same faith. Also it is the knowledge which comes from revelation. Through knowledge from faith (fideis) people believed tha there were some people who received various messages from God through revelation and they put these messages


into writings and produced books such as the Bible, the Koran, the Upanishads etc. Those people believed to have been divinely inspired. The contents of the books are very useful to the believers. But non – believers could say that what is contained in the Holly Books is not revelation at all.

The importance of studying Philosophy:

Thus, philosophy makes a person think about basic foundations of outlook, knowledge and beliefs. It makes one ask reasons for what one accepts and undertakes, including the importance of ones ideas, as well as ideals; hopefully that one’s final convictions, whether or not they remain the same as a result of examination, will at least be rationally held ones.

The following aspects underscore the importance of studying philosophy.

(i) Philosophy is guidance of life. It is needed for the ordinary man in everyday life especially in this age of science and technology. Life lacks meaning if we cannot think and plan for the future in this fast changing world.

(ii) Philosophy is needed to distinguish truth from false. In the fear from, or false, ideas occupying the minds with particular questions, philosophy will liberate man from such fears and false ideas.

(iii) Philosophy stimulates learners to be more inquisitive. This is because philosophy raises the urge to learn more by understanding that we know less and less. There is no point we can say that we know everything, so learners should strive to know more at all times.

(iv) Philosophy is the mother of all sciences. All sciences (physical and social science) are results of philosophical speculations.

(v) Mystical life and religious life are parts of philosophy because they come as a result of man reasoning and acting to solve problems that cannot be easily solved. These sciences (political and pure) together with religious life are made perfect through reflection and speculation.

(vi) Systems of education follow a society philosophical ideas about what children should be taught and for what purposes. Democratic societies stress that people must learn to think and to make choices for themselves. In non democratic societies people are discouraged to think and make choices. The leaders want their citizens always to be sabmissive.

(vii) The value and skills taught by the educational system of any society should reflect the society’s philosophical ideas of what is important.


(viii) Philosophy helps to face the crisis / problems with concessors by investigating the situation critically with open mindedness.

(ix) Philosophy involves accurate thinking into formal, logical and evaluating ways of thinking.

(x) It insists to have an attempt of addressing the issue thoroughly and holistically at all levels.

(xi) It helps in the logical analysis of a language and classification of the meaning of words and concepts, ie use of linguistic analysis, eg classification of words.

(xii) It exposes confusion and nonsenses and clarify the meaning of the use of terms or concepts of a language.

(xiii) If focuses in inquiring into deeper rather than partial problems of human existence, by answering philosophical questions coming up from paradigms of thoughts ie.

• Metaphysics or idealism

• Empiricism or realism

• Pragmatism

• Existentialism

(xiii) Philosophy also deals with the systematic body of principles and assumptions underlying the particular field of knowledge /discipline eg. Science, education, arts, music, laws, mathematics and religion.

(xiv) Moreover philosophy is used in every institution of society because it is based on philosophical ideas, ie. Law. Government, the family, marriage, industry, school, business. Philosophical differences will lead to a number of changes, including the overthrow of governments, change in laws or economic systems.



This can be well explained by examining a strong relationship which exists between philosophy and other fields of human activity. This can be seen by analyzing two main fields

(i) Philosophy and science and (ii) philosophy and religion.

The relationship between philosophy and science: Science studies natural phenomena and the phenomena of the society. When science does reflect on itself it becomes the philosophy of science and examines a number of philosophic questions. That is, “what is science?” what is scientific method?” what is the value of science?”

Philosophy has given birth to several major fields of scientific study. Up to 1700’s no distinction was made between science and philosophy. Eg physics-was called natural philosophy, psychology – moral philosophy etc .

In 1800’s sociology and linguistics separated from philosophy and became distinct areas of study. Logic has now developed to branch of mathematics and basic science.

Philosophy and science differ in many respects. Science has thus resolved disagreement about these matters. Philosophy has not. As a result, controversy has always been characteristic of philosophy.

Tooth (philosophy and sciences) seek to discover the truth to answer questions. Solve problems and satisfy curiosity Generally the civilization and development of man contributed a lot to philosophy. Philosophy facilitated all aspects of man to develop, eg religion, natural or physical and social sciences.


• Philosophical ideas of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Karl Marx, George Hegel, Kwame Nkrumah and Julius Nyerere

• Their historical background

• Their contributions to current situations in democracy, education, governance, economy.

• The influence of Plato’s and Aristotle’s ideas on current socio – economic development of Tanzania.


• Philosophical ideas of Kwame Nkuma and Julius K. Nyerere.

• The historical background of K. Nkuma and J.K Nyerere.

• Their contributions to:- Democracy, Ujamaa, Socialism, Education and African Unity.

The application of Nyerere’s plutosophical ideas

a) Greek philosophers: Socrates, Plato and Aristotle

1. Socrates (469 – 399 B.C)

Socrates was a Greek philosopher born in Athens, who profoundly affected Western philosophy through his influence on Plato. Socrates advocated dialogue. Encountering someone who claims to know much, Socrates pretended to be ignorant and sought assistance from the one who claimed to more knowledgeable. As Socrates began to raise questions, however, it became clear that the one reputed to be wise, really did not know what he claimed to know, and Socrates emerged as the wiser one, because he at least knew that he did not know. Such knowledge, of course, was the beginning of wisdom.

Socrates (469 – 399 B.C)
Socrates (469 – 399 B.C)

He believed that vice is the result of ignorance and that no person is willingly bad. Correspondingly, virtue is knowledge, and those who know the right, act rightly. His logic placed particular emphasis on rational argument and the quest for general definitions, as evidenced in the writings of his younger contemporary and pupil, Plato and of Plato’s pupil, Aristotle. Through the writings of these philosophers, Socrates profoundly affected the entire subsequent course of Western speculative thought.

Standpoint of Socrates:

• No man willingly does evil. According to Socrates, evil and wrong actions arise from ignorance and the failure to investigate why people act the way they do. So Socrates devoted himself in seeking the truth and goodness.

• Human nature leads people to act correctly and in agreement with knowledge.

• He differed from other people only in knowing that he was ignorant. His insistence on his ignorance reminded others of their own ignorance.

He shows that other people do not know what they claim to know. Socrates question people who claim to know or understand something about which he claims to be ignorant. He does not provide answers to his questions. He only shows that the answers provided by others are not adequate. So in short Socrates believed in education, free will, knowledge and virtue.


End of Socrates:

Socrates was regarded with suspicion by many of his contemporaries, who disliked his attitude toward the Athenian state and the established religion. He was charged in 399 BC with neglecting the gods of the State and introducing new divinities. He was also charged with corrupting the morals of the young, leading them away from the principles of democracy; and he was wrongly identified with the Sophists.

He was condemned to die, although only a small majority voted for his death. When, Socrates proposed to the court to pay a small fine because of his value to the State as a man with a philosophic mission, the jury was so angered by this offer, it therefore voted by an increased majority for his death penalty.

Socrates friends planned for hid escape from prison, but he preferred to comply with the law and die for his cause. He spent his last day with his friends and admirers, and in the evening he calmly fulfilled his death sentence by drinking a cup of hemlock.


2. Plato: (427 – 347 BC)

Plato was a student of the famous Greek Philosopher, Socrates. Among other things, which affected Plato’s philosophy, was the character of his teacher, Socrates. Socrates believed on truth and defended truth until his death. The Greek government accused him for having instigated young people to rebel against it. He was forced to take poison and he died by defending the truth.

Plato: (427 – 347 BC)

Plato was a Greek philosopher and one of the most creative and influential thinkers in Western philosophy. He was the first to use the term philosophy, which means “love of knowledge”.

Chief among Plato’s ideas was the theory of forms which proposed that objects in the physical world merely resemble perfect forms in the ideal world, and that only these perfect forms can be the object of true knowledge. The goal of this philosopher was to know the perfect forms and to instruct others in that knowledge.

Plato’s writings in dialogue form. Philosophical ideas were advanced, discussed, and criticized in the context of a conversation or debate involving two or more persons.


The dialogues may be divided into early, middle and later periods of composition. The earliest represent Plato’s attempt to communicate the philosophy and dialectical style of Socrates. Several of these dialogues take the same form as those of Socrates.

The dialogues of the middle and later periods of Plato’s life reflect his own philosophical development. The ideas in these works are attributed by most scholars to Plato himself, although Socrates continues to be the main character in many of the dialogues.

The works of the later period include that knowledge is to be identified with sense perception, a critical evaluation of the theory of forms, further consideration of the theory of ideas or forms, a discussion of the relationship the between pleasure and good, Plato’s views on natural science and cosmology, and a more practical analysis of political and social issues (Laws).

In general terms Plato believes:

• In dialectical method (dialogue)

A dialogue is a conversation involving two sides. Plato’s dialogue involved discussing philosophical problems while the two sides are giving opposing arguments for the sake of arriving at a conclusion.

• That all people desire happiness.

Although sometimes people act in a way which do not produce happiness, they do this because they don’t know what actions will produce happiness.

• That happiness is a natural consequence of a healthy state of the soul.

So all people should desire virtues (behaviour considered to be of very high standard)

Sometimes people do not seek to be virtuous because they do not realize that virtuous produce happiness.

• That the basic problem of ethics is a problem of knowledge.

If a person knows that moral virtue leads to happiness, he/she naturally acts virtuously.

• That it is worse to commit an injustice which can cause someone to suffer, because immoral behaviour is a symptom of a diseased soul.

• That it is worse for a person who commits an injustice to go unpunished than to be punished, because punishment helps cure this most serious of all diseases

• That the real nature of any individual thing depends on the form in which its shows itself.

For instance a certain object is a triangle because it appears in a form of triangularity.


It differs from other ordinary things that we see around us. Ordinary things change, but their form do not change. That means a particular triangle may be altered in size of shape, but the form of triangularity can never change.

Plato’s political philosophy was based on his theory of the human soul. He argues that human soul is divided into three parts.

(a) the rational part (the intellect)

(b) the will

(c) the appetite/desire

These parts occasionally conflict with each other. For instance a person may desire some things but fight this desire with the power of the will.

In a properly functioning soul, the intellect (the highest part) should control the appetite (the lowest part) with the aid of the will.

According to Plato, like the soul, the State also has three parts:

(i) The philosopher Kings: These govern the society.

(ii) The Guardians

They keep order and defend the society

(iii) The ordinary citizens

These are farmers, merchants and craft workers who provide the society’s material needs.

The philosopher Kings represent the intellect (the ability to think in a logical way and understand things especially in an advanced level). The Guardians represent the will and the Ordinary citizens represent the appetite.

Plato’s idea society resembles a well functioning soul because the philosopher kings control the citizens with the aid of the Guardians.

Plato’s believed that though the body dies and disintegrates, the soul continue to live forever. After a time the soul is made a body again and return to the world.

According to Plato, learning consists of recalling what the soul experienced in the realm of the forms. He urged strict censorship of the art because of their influence in molding people’s character


(The ability to think in a logical way and understand things especially in an advanced level) the Guardians represent the will and the ordinary.

Plato believed that there are two worlds, the world of ideas and the world of forms. He held that this physical world and every material object, is an idea of the real thing represented by the object. The real objects exist in the world of forms. According to him, he saw the world of forms as the perfect world where every material object comes from, and will be joined again after disappearing from this world. This philosophy was later known as IDEALISM.


3. Aristotle: (384 – 322 BC)


Aristotle was Plato’s student, but he took his own way. He denied the existence of the two worlds and he asserted that only the material world exists. Ideas were seen as just operations of the mind and he do not contain any reality in themselves. When we think of an idea, it does not mean that the idea exists somewhere separate from the matter. This philosophy resulted to MATERIALISM.

Aristotle: (384 – 322 BC)
Aristotle: (384 – 322 BC)

Plato and Aristotle are regarded as Great Greek philosophers and founders of idealism and materialism philosophies, respectively. They were also concerned with the prevailing economic problems facing Greece at their contemporary time

(428 – 322 BC). During that time, the economy of Greece was based on slave labour. Greece was regarded as a democratic state because the ruled ones were satisfied, although oppression and exploitation existed in the society.

Philosophers of that time also supported the system because they also benefited from it. Plato and Aristotle supported slavery thought they discouraged violence. Plato accepted social inequality and argued that people have a variety of gifts from God. Everybody had to concentrate on what nature made him. He held the opinion that social stratification in a society consists of rulers (nobles), philosophers, soldiers, artisans and producers. For Plato, both wealth and poverty led to poor, wealth produced luxury and idleness, while poverty led to poor standards of conduct. He held that the upper class should not own private property, but devote themselves to offer service to their people.


Aristotle supported private property on the grounds that it was more productive since it received more attention apart from giving pleasure to the owner. Common property was not conducive to peace because it was a source of complaints among partners. Aristotle supported exchange of commodities (barter system) but rejected commercialism for monetary profit. He argued that money did not bring about man’s satisfaction and did not satisfy the necessities of life. The rich in coins may be in need of food.

Aristotle who was a Greek philosopher and a student of another philosopher called Plato, believed.

• In logical reasoning in his form of argument called syllogism.

• That the essence of things can be discovered only through reasoning.

• That the goal of human being is happiness.

• That human beings achieve happiness when they feel their reasoning is fanctioning. A happy life for human beings is a life governed by reason. Mans happiness depends on living in conformity with nature.

• That the principle of life in a living creature is soul not matter.

• That upbringing and training of the young in a society should involve both moral and political education.

• This means that children and citizens should be taught the virutes and examples of being good and doing good.

• That rhetoric (eloquent, artful and articulate public speaking) as a subject should be incorporated in the curriculum.

• That apart from God, there are things that do not change.

• The ethics and polities study practical knowledge. This knowledge enables people to act properly and live happily.

• That nature is in a continuous process of change.

• That moral virtue is a matter of avoiding extremes in behaviour. For instance the virtue of generosity is the mean between stinginess and wastefulness.

• That tragedy affects the spectator by arousing the emotions of pity and fear. A tragedy is a serious play that ends sadly, especially with the death of the main character, while it is intended to teach a moral lesson.


Aristotle therefore criticizes art of morality because he believes that it is difficult if not impossible to teach a moral lesson by arousing the emotion of pity and fear to the intended person.

To practice his ideas, Aristotle established his own school in Athens called the Lyceum. The school was called Peripatetic (walking strolling school) because much of the discussions in this school took place while the teachers and students were walking about the Lyceum grounds.

4. Georg Wilheim Friendrich Hegel (1770-1831)

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German idealist philosopher, who became one of the most influential thinkers of the 19th century.

Georg Wilheim Friendrich Hegel
Georg Wilheim Friendrich Hegel

He proposed that truth is reached by a continuing dialectic, in which a concept (thesis) always gives rise to its opposite (antithesis) and the interaction between these two leads to the creation of a new concept (synthesis).

So Hegal:

• Is the father of dialectics.

Hegel advocated dialectical method in reaching the truth. Dialectics involve a discussion between two people each seeking the truth of the topic being discussed. In the discussion opposed points of view may be given in the first instance. Each side however may gradually come to understand the other’s position, and ultimately both of them may come to agree to reject their initial standpoint and accept a new and broader view and that does justice to the issue at hand.

In summary, truth is reached by a continuing dialect in which a concept (thesis) produces its opposite (antithesis) and the interaction between thesis and antithesis lead to new concept (synthesis)

Hegel believed that any proof of development has positive (thesis) and negative (antithesis – rejecting or discarding the old) aspects of growth and the emergence of new forms (synthesis)

• Insists that the task of philosophy is to know the infinite and to see all things in God.

• Identity is reached only through an experience of difference.


For example:

• Truth is absence of error, but it is know to be true if error has been experienced and truth has trimphed.

• God is good and powerful, but his goodness and power will not be seen if evil has not been present and God triumped over it.

• Adam and Eve were innocent in the Garden of Eden, but their fall was necessary if man was to attain moral goodness.

• Believe that people are objects of right (law), and what law needs from them is mere obedience, no matter what the motives of obedience may be.

• Believes that all people are equal before law.

• Believes that disputes emanating from sovereign States could be settled by violence alone. This is because each nation is an individual and sovereign in its own sphere and it cannot yield easily.

5. Karl Marx (1818 – 1883)

Karl Marx was a German political philosopher and a revolutionist. He was a cofounder with Friedrich Engels of scientific socialism (modern communism), and as such one of the most influential thinkers of all times. Karl Marx with Friedrich Engels, defined communism. Their most famous work was the Communist Manifesto produced in 1848, in which they argued that the working class should revel and build a Communist society.

Karl Marx:

• Was greatly influenced by the theories of Hegel.

• Disclosed that economic forces were increasingly oppressing human beings. For instance the capitalistic class exploits the working class by appropriating the surplus produced by the later.

Karl Marx
Karl Marx


• Discovered that the History of society is the history of class struggles between exploiting and exploited social classes – exploiting rulers or employers against the exploited workers.

• Believed that individual, not God is the highest being. The people have made themselves what they are by their own labour and reasoning.

• Predicted that the capitalist system would be eliminated by a worldwide working class socialist revolution and would be replaced by a classless society. In this classless society the major means of production would be publicly owned.

According to Karl Marx Capitalism would destroy itself in the following ways:

(a) Industry and business would grow and the owners would get rich.

(b) The owners would pay very low wages to their workers so as to get super profit.

(c) The poor workers would be unable to buy the goods that the system produced.

(d) Economic depression would occur due to the accumulated goods that would have not been sold.

(e) The depression would worsen until the workers revolt and take over the industries and overthrow the State in power.

In this regard, it was assumed that the workers would revolt and take over the industries and other means of production. Therefore social classes would end.

Karl Marx predicted that such revolutions would take place first in Western European nations that had highly developed economies. He was uncertain if Russia would experience such a revolution. In fact he died before witnessing any workers revolution.

All in all Karl Mark considered capitalism as the most efficient and dynamic system ever devised. But it contained flaws that would destroy it. Such flaws were the severe periods of inflation, and depressions. The most serious flaw in the capitalist system was that it accumulated more and more wealth but became less and less capable of using this wealth. As a result Marx saw the accumulation of wealth resulting to the rapid spread of human sufferings. It is these sufferings that made a socialist revolution inevitable.


(i) Some Philosophies of the Contemporary Time:

There are six contemporary philosophies today ruling the world. Although everyone, every state or institution has its own style of philosophy. Among those six contemporary philosophies, two movements have had their greatest influence in Continental Europe. These are existentialism and phenomenology.

(ii) Some other three have been more influential in the United States and Great Britain. These are: Pragmatism, Logical Positivism and Philosophical Analysis. One movement has originated in the capitalist world and has spread to many parts of the world today. This is Liberal philosophy.

(iii) Existentialism:

Among the great philosophers of existentialism, is the French author Jean Paul Sartre. This philosophy became influential especially during the Second World War (1939-1945) and after the War. The Second World War witnessed despair and separation from the established order. These feelings led to the idea that people have to create their own values. In a world in which traditional values no longer govern. Existentialism insists that choices have to be made arbitrarily by individuals who thus create them, because there are no objective standards to determine a choice.

Jean Paul Sartre
Jean Paul Sartre

(iv) Phenomenology:

This philosophy was developed by a German philosopher, Edmund Husserl. Husserl conceived the task of phenomenology, hence the task of philosophy, as describing phenomena the object of experience accurately and independently of all assumptions derived from science. He thought that this activity would provide philosophic knowledge of reality. He termed his philosophy as phenomenology of the spirit.

(v) Pragmatism:

John Dewey and William James both of USA maintained that knowledge is subordinate to action. They held that meaning and truth of ideas are determined by their relation to practice. Therefore an idea, which is not practical, is meaningless/void.

John Dewey


(vi) Logical Positivism:

This philosophy which was developed in Vienna, Austria, in the 1920s, believes that philosophy should analyze the logic of language of science. It regards science as the only source of knowledge. It claims that metaphysics is meaningless. It bases


this claim on the principle of verifiability by which a statement is meaningful only if it can be verified by sense experience.

(vi) Philosophical Analysis:

This generally tries to solve philosophic problems through analysis of language or concepts. Some versions of this philosophy attempt to show that traditional philosophic problems dissolve, that is, disappear on proper analysis of terms in which they are expressed. Other versions use linguistic analysis to throw light on, not dissolve, traditional philosophic problems. The most influential philosophers practicing philosophic analysis have been Bernard Russel of England and Ludwig Wittegenstein who was born in Austria but studied and taught in England.

(vii) Liberal Philosophy:

Liberal philosophy began with the rise of capitalism in its different stages. Feudalism in Europe had limited individual freedom and centred power on the monarchs. The state controlled both the economy and political affairs of the state. It is associated also with Renaissance in Europe (1304 – 1550).

The English political revolution referred to as Common Man’s Charter. It had elements of liberal philosophy where common peole wanted liberation from absolutism practiced by King Charles II. This brought about the freedom of the parliament.

It was followed by the French Revolution of 1789 where the Monarch such as King Louis XVI and his wife Maria Antoinette were assassinated. This revolution brought an end to monarchial rule as an attempt to liberal philosophy in France.

With disintegration of communism and disappearance of socialist ideology, which emphasized on the interest of the state over the interest of individuals, liberal philosophy now predominates. The world emphasized on individual interests.

Principles of Liberal Philosophy:

• Emphasis is on freedom, equality and opportunity for an individual as well as the government to remove obstacles for enjoyment of those freedoms.

• Economic opportunities should be created to enable individuals to enjoy.

• The government should limit its intervention on private matters for individuals to enjoy their liberty.


• Individual rights and freedom should be given priority. For example, freedom of expression, assembly, press, association, speech and so forth.

• The government should have transparency in the governing process in order to check abuse of power.

• There must be free competition in economic sectors and politics. Freedom should permit the private sector investments, free market economy, multiparty politics, and so on.

• When the conflict between the interest of the state and individual interests occur, individual interests should be given priority.


6. Kwame Nkrumah (1909 – 1972)

Nkrumah spent many years working to acquire independence to the British Colony of the Gold Coast (later Ghana). This was achieved in 1957, when Ghana became the first sub – Saharan African colony to gain independence. Kwame Nkrumah became the first Prime Minister of Ghana between 1957 and 1960. He also became the first President of Ghana between 1960 and 1966. He was the first black African postcolonial leader.


Kwame Nkrumah (1909 - 1972)
Kwame Nkrumah (1909 – 1972)


In 1964 he declared the CPP the only legal party in Ghana. While Nkrumah was visiting China in

1966, his government was overthrown by the army coup. Nkrumah lived in exile in Guinea, where Guinea President Sekou Toure appointed him a honoray co – president of Guinea. He died in 1972 in Romania while receiving treatment for throat cancer.

In short, Kwame Nkrumah:

• Associated the backwardness of Africa and the Africans with imperialism.

• Spearheaded African nationalism.

• Advocated African unity

• He vigorously spoke for African common market for her raw materials and industrial goods.


Advantages of African unity according to Kwame Nkrumah:

• Speaking with one voice

• Dictating prices for our raw materials

• Determining prices of goods from outside. This will help African to escape the trap of imperialist exploitation and oppression.


7. Julius K. Nyerere (1922 – 1999)

Nyerere joined politics in 1954 and founded Tanganyika African National Union (TANU). He became Tanganyika’s Prime Minister when TANU won the elections of 1960. He was the first Prime Minister when Tanganyika became independent in 1961. He resigned early in 1962 to concentrate on restructuring TANU for its post independence role. Elections in 1962 brought him back as President of a Republic. In 1964 following a revolution on the Arab – dominated islands of Unguja and Pemba a mutiny in his army, Nyerere formed a union of the two countries, with himself as the President. Committed to African liberation, he offered sanctuary in Tanzania to members of the African

Julius K. Nyerere (1922 – 1999)
Julius K. Nyerere (1922 – 1999)

National Congress and numerous other rebel groups from Zimbambwe, Mozambique, Angola, and Uganda.

His government emphasized Ujamaa “familyhood”, a unique form of rural socialism. Nyerere stepped down as President in 1985, but he continued as head of the ruling party. CCM which was formed by the merger of TANU and ASP in 1977 until 1990.

The country maintained an expanding educational system and a strong sense of national unity. Nyerere remained active in international politics until the final months of his life.

Aspects of Tanzanian life philosophy:

Tanzanian philosophy has been that of UJAMAA and education for self Reliance, designed and developed by Julius K. Nyerere.

• Tanzania’s Ujamaa philosophy was based on human equality to social, economic and practical organization of societies. It was based on equality, love, peace and mutual assistance.


• The doctrine (partly socialist) demanded that there had to be a an organization of societies in such a manner that it had to be impossible or very difficult for individual desires to be pursued at the cost of the other people, or for individual strength to be used for exploitation of others.

• The purpose of Socialism (Ujamaa) was the well being of people, and the basic assumption was acceptance of human equality. For socialism, there was as belief that every individual man and woman, whatever colour, shape, religion, race, creed or sex was an equal member of a society, with equal rights in society and equal duties to it.

Characteristics of Socialism:

(i) The means of production are in the hands of people or the hands of their freely elected government.

(ii) There is democracy. People run their own government through their elected representatives.

(iii) Means of production are friendly, and therefore, there are no antagonistic contradiction, no exploitation of man by man.

(iv) Everybody works and is paid according to his/her contribution.

(v) There is planning of the economy under a centralized socialist system.

The Arusha Declararion:

On the 5th February, 1967, Tanzania announced the policy of socialism, commonly known as The Arusha Declaration. The themes of the Declaration were:-

(i) To have public control of the economy through control of the major means of production.

(ii) To have development through self reliance.

(iii) Stress to be on rural development.

(iv) To have equality among people; and

(v) Emphasis had to be on rural socialism.

• All private sectors were nationalized, including financial institutions, industries, large scale agricultural production, schools, hospitals and so on.


• Various policies were enacted to elaborate the Declaration. They included:

 Education for Self – Reliance.

 Socialism and Rural Development.

 Varied paths to socialism.

 The target is man;

 Principles and development.

 Ten years of the Arusha Declaration.

 Siasa ni Kilimo;

 Decentralization.

Education for self – reliance:

Education has to be transmitted from one generation to the next, with accumulated wisdom and knowledge of society. It strives to prepare young people to be useful in their societies and their active participation in enhancing development.

Independent Tanzania, like all other colonized countries, inherited the education system of the colonial powers (the British). This education system had so many weaknesses. It induced an attitude of human inequality, the domination of the weak by the strong, especially in the economic field. Moreover, this stystem was theoretical than practical, inculcating the Western value and preparing schoolers for white color jobs.

Steps taken to reshape Tanzanian Education System:

(i) Racial distinction in schools was abolished. Also discrimination on religious grounds was abolished. Schools owned by missionaries were nationalized with the exception of Catholic Seminaries.

(ii) The number of secondary schools and post secondary education institutions were increased. This has enabled a good number of students to have access to education.

(iii) Technical schools and vocation centers were established to provide practical education.

(iv) The school curricula were reshaped to be highly Tanzanian in content and context.

(v) The Tanzanian Institute of Education (TIE) was introduced to enable the majority of citizens get at least primary education in order to eradicate ignorance.

(vi) Adult education was introduced to enable the old population to know how to write and read.


There are six contemporary philosophies today ruling the world. Although everyone, every state and institution has its own life philosophy. Among these six contemporary philosophies, two movements have had their greatest influence in Continental Europe. These are existentialism and phenomenology.



It is an English word religion which has a Latin etymology. However, there is disagreement over whether the Latin religare, meaning to bind together (suggesting possibly the concept of a group or fellowship) or releger, meaning to rehearse, to execute painstakingly, referring possibly to the repetitious nature of liturgy. As it can be noticed, each word makes sense as a root and that each word taps a dimension of religion that will be included in the definition.


Meaning of religion:

In attempting to define religion formally, the following definition is probably less elegant than some, yet more inclusive than many characteristics of religion: Religion is a system of beliefs and practices by which a group of people interprets, as well as responds to what they feel is sacred and , usually supernatural as well.

Religion is an organized system of beliefs. Ceremonies, practices and worship that focus on one Supreme God (Deity) or gods (Deities).

• Atheists

Principally, these believe that no God or gods exist. Good examples are the Communists who believe in material rather than spiritual or idealistic things

Review: Seven Types of Atheism by John Gray — 'the most depressing ...

• Agnostics:

These are neutral in that they hold that the existence of God cannot be proved or disproved.

• Theistic:

They believe in God or gods. Most of the major religions are theistic. They teach that God or gods govern or greatly influence human actions.


In involving several characteristics of religion. The following attempts to define the meaning of religion.

• Religion is an organized system of belief, practices, ceremonies and worship that centres on a Supreme Supernatural Being (God).

• Religion is and ideology because it comprise a doctrine , belief, symbols, which constitute any ideology.

• Religion is quest for values of the ideal life involving three phases: the ideal, practices for attaining values of the ideal and the theology relating the quest to the environing universe.

• Religion also means a particular system in which the quest for the ideal life has been embodied. For example, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and so forth.

Aspects of religion include:

• Main recognition of a controlling supernatural power worth of obedience, reverence and worship.

• Spiritual attitude to the supernatural being (power)

• Manifestation of the feelings in the conduct of life.

Origin of Religion:

Religion comes as answers to questions, that the human mind cannot provide an appropriate answer to. When man is faced with sentiments of terror and need for protection in the face of disturbing events of life, including nature, he cannot provide satisfactory answers to questions using his reason. Therefore answers are expected from the supernatural power. This is the position of materialism.

Man would like to live forever. He cannot provide appropriate answers to questions such as death and he cannot explain the source of life. With fear of disappearance from the world and existence in general, man came up with the idea of God as the solution to these problems. Finally, man “home” for those who die. All religions are concerned with the question of life after death. This is the position of Atheism and Scientism. Man has created God.

God revealed himself to people of the past and showed them his nature, power, wishes and laws. These have been passed from one generation to another. This is the position of Theism (the belief that everything originates from God)


Types of religion:

Generally there are several ways of categorizing religion, but a number of writers give as different types of religions. The main two groups are Christianity and non Christianity.

Christianity is divided into Roman Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox. The Protestants have several branches, including Pentecoste, Adventist, Anglican, Lutheran etc.



Non Christian are divided into the following types: Islamic, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, Shinto’s, Bahai etc.



In other words, religion comes in many forms: Christianity, islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintu, Bahai, etc.

Regarding the object of devotion, there are two types of religion:

(i) Monotheism: This is the belief in ONE supernatural Being, omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (knowing everything) and omnipresent (every where). Such religions are Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.

Symbol of Monotheism

(ii) Polytheism: This is the belief in MANY supernatural beings. These include gods or goddesses of rain, moon, sun, winter, harvest and so forth. Many pre-colonial African societies belonged to this group.

Polytheism in Europe | Hindu Human Rights Worldwide


Major and common characteristics of a Religion:

(i) Belief in diety or in power beyond the individual

(ii) A doctrine (accepted teaching) of salvation.

(iii) A code of conduct.

(iv) The use of sacred stories.

(v) Religious rituals (acts and ceremonies)

Secular and non Secular States

a) Religious / non-secular states

These are states, that are governed in accordance to an established religion (Theocratic states). Religious laws are part of the states constitutions where a government in power abides by a particular religion. Example Vatican, Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc.


Religious states are of two types:

(i) States, that recognize only ONE religion and forbid citizens to believe in any other religion. A state religion is the official religion of a state as seen in Iran,

Saudi Arabia, The Vatican City, etc

(ii) States with official religion but other religions are permitted to exist. In such cases, only leaders must be from the official religion, but other religions are permitted by the constitution. Examples of such states include Britain, the Netherlands, Republic of Ireland and Israel.

Britain is a Christian country under the Anglican Church as the official religion. The head of state (Queen or King) is also the head of the Anglican Church. Anglicanism is part of the culture of the country although other religion are also allowed to operate.

In Japan, the Monarch must be a SHINTO (the Japanese Buddha)

The Republic of Ireland is a Catholic state, although other religious are also allowed to operate. Britain is Anglicanism and Ireland is Catholicism.

Although Israel theoretically is as secular state, but practically, it is a religious state. To be in power you must be a ZIONIST. Zionism is a belief in Israelites to be God’s chosen race. Their religion is regarded to be the truest of all religious and that their ancestors have had spoken with God who gave them the land they are occupying. The Promised Land. The official religion is Judaism.

(b) Secular States

Secular states are states without official religion. Individuals are free to follow any religion. Such states include Tanzania, Kenya, Germany, South Africa, U.S.A, etc

Reasons why Tanzania is a secular state:

(i) The number of Christians, Muslims and non – believers is almost the same. Declaring Tanzania as a religious state, it means denying other religions their rightful recognition.

(ii) Respect of the United Nations “Declaration of Human Rights, especially Article 18, which emphasizes on the right to freedom of thought, conscience and worship.


“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and worship. This includes freedom to change the religion or belief and freedom; either alone or as a group, in public or in private. To manifest ones religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

(iii) The need to maintain unity and cooperation of different believers, so as to facilitate mobilization of citizens for economic, political and social activities.

Advantage of Being a Secular State:

The following are advantages of a Secular State:

• political stability

• peace and harmony

• unity and cooperation;

There is ample time for politicians to deal with political and state matters, religious matters are left in the hands of the religious leaders. This creates separation of responsibility, respect and tolerance.

If a state is not categorically secular, there is a danger of political instability social insecurity, and religious clashes such as those witnessed in Nigeria, Sudan and Northern Ireland. As a result, people’s development is jeopardized and hatred creeps in.

Roles of Religion in a Society:

• True religion charges its followers to be mindful of their duties in a society they live in.

• It advises political leaders to rule their people justly, kindly and with charity.

• It teaches people to be obedient to their lawful authorities and to abide to the established laws.

• It helps the state to make sure that there is high morality within society. For example, condemnation of corruption, prostitution, crimes and many other bad behaviours.

• Provision of social services to people such as hospitals, schools, water, sanitation and communication inftrastructure.

• To give asylum to those in need. For example, refugees, orphans, widows and so forth.


• To give reverence and love to mankind

• To foster or promote peace and orderiliness

• To create unity and solidarity within the society.

• Sometimes a religion acts as social service provider, including health, education, sanitation etc.

Some concepts related to religion in Tanzania.

(i) Freedom of Religion:

• Every person is free to belong to any religion of his/her liking.

• A person is free to practice religion in public or private and to manifest his or her religion in teaching, worshiping and observance.

• Followers of any religious sect cannot be prevented to join any political party or leadership.

• The state should not involve itself in religious activities unless they contravene the established laws of the country.

• The government may not force religious beliefs to its citizens.

• All religious matters should be regarded private.

(ii) Tolerance and peaceful coexistence:

When there is a need for tolerance and peaceful co – existence among believers or followers all religions work for common good of the people. The affinity (resemblance) among religions is not apparent in creed and ceremonies. It is clearly founded in the areas of ethics or moralities. For example one’s relationship to another or neighbour.

There are striking paralles among different religions; for example:

• All religious work for the common good of the people.

• The resemblance of ethics among religions in their creeds is not by coincidence, but essential for the common good. For example one’s relationship with another.

• Christians. Whatsoever you would like that men should do to you, do even so to them.


• Muslims sunnah holds that, no none is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.

• Tolerance will enable different religions to exist peacefully and deliver both material as well as spiritual benefits to citizens.

These are Golden Rules of the existing religions, emphasizing true concern for others’ needs and welfare.

iii) Hatred and conflict among religions:

These are caused by the following aspects /patterns:

• Some religions claim to be the only revelation of God and therefore, superior to all other faiths.

• When a religion involves itself in politics, its members are likely to be used by politicians to spread hatred and disturbance to other believers of different religions.

• When the government interferes with activities of a certain group while allowing another group to enjoy freedom of religion.

• When tolerance and peaceful coexistence is not accomodated.

• When use of force becomes one of the strategies for converting people to one’s religion. For example, Jihads and Crusades.

The Relationship Between the State and Religion in Tanzania.

The relationship between the state and Religion in Tanzania is observed in various aspects, but the main one is in the United Republic’s Constitution. The Constitution of Tanzania, Article 19, provides freedom of belonging to a religion of ones choice. Tanzania state, though secular, it gives her citizens a freedom of religion affiliation and worship. That is, every citizen has right to worship.

Religious institutions and other religious activities are practiced outside the government influence or control. These institutions are non – governmental organizations (NGOs).

Every Tanzanian citizen is free to worship via a faith of his/her choice. The state is aware of the fact that people who practice their religious faithfully are good citizens. By abinding to the law of God, they automatically abide to the laws of country. The government of Tanzania and its people are God fearing.


The relationship between the states and religion in Tanzania:

• The Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania (Article 19) guarantees the right to worship. The state gives citizens freedom of choosing their own religion.

• Religious activities are allowed by the state unless they contradict the established laws.

• Religious institutions and other religious activities are practiced outside the government sphere of control.

• The state encourages religious activities knowing that people who practice their religion faithfully make better citizens.

• When singing the National Anthem, we pray for God to help our nation and its people.

• All top government officials take oaths in which they swear to serve the nation faithfully. They end up by saying: so help me God.

• All religious holidays (Christians and Muslims) are public holidays.

Challenges of Religion Today:

What are the challenge of Religion today? Today there are several institutions acting as Quasi – Religion. These are not real religions. They are temporal ones and not authentic. Examples may include: Nationalism, patriotism, devotion to scientific humanity, all these have become substitute of formal religion.

The belief in the all efficacy (artifacts) of technology is one of such sciences of faith for millions of pupils. Both are source of explanations and the object of devotion. Communism and Fascism of Lamu, Hitler and Mussolini, as well as Karl Marx, is said to be some of religions of today. Generally, they agreed that the real religions always operate as the agent in other world, acting as opium to the followers (members of the society). A devotion to social values, to purely human objectives is enough for a religion.

Quasi – Religious are groups of believers who appear inform of religion but are not real according to what they preach, believe and practice, are not real religions.

• Quasi – religions are temporal not universal, and in many cases follow some individuals who are normally radical.

• The emphasize on personal revelations.


• They preach segregation, hatred and call upon their believers to be against the existing authority.

• Followers are made to believe that they are the most holly in the world. They have been given a special mission to convert others who do not know God.

• Unbelievers can be even killed for the sake of God.

• Another name for quasi –religion is “Religious fundamentalism.”


This is patriotism related to religion. It is identification of a certain religion in a certain nation. Some existing social problems connected with a certain nation are therefore identified with religion. For example, nationalism led to birth of Lutheranism form the Catholic Church as a response. The Germans nationalism against Italians; the Anglican Church from Catholic Church, and so forth.

nationalism in tanganyika
nationalism in tanganyika

Colonialism was identified with Christianity. Some colonial masters used Christianity to justify colonialism and made people surrended to colonial rule. When African nationalistic movements started, Christianity and colonialism were all fought because they were identical, for example, in Mozambique.

Science and Technology:

As science and technology advances, religious beliefs are likely to decrease or disappear. Some of the problems formerly solved by religion can now be well explained in science (they are under the microscope). The belief in technology is one such faith. Science is for millions of people, both the source of explanation and the object of devotion. This is why religious beliefs in developed countries are disappearing.

Communism and fascism:

• They consider religion as opium of people.

• As for them, religion is for the weak and coward people.

• Religion is a source of exploitation, blocking the thinking capacity of people. Man should get out of this block.

• Religion is an illusion, a way imposed to monitor peace and obedience to those in power (for further discussions refer to Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini and the like)


Atheism and Agnosticism:

Please refer to notes under theodicy concerning atheism and agnosticism under this topic. Causes of intra and inter religious conflicts:

l Lack of education / illiteracy to some followers and their learders, specifically their duties and responsibilities in their society.

l Poverty among followers contributes to the above problems.

l Too much freedom of worship some. Some leaders misuse their freedom while propagating their faith.

l Globalization and liberalization may cause conflicts within religion and with other religions.

l Weak leadership ie. Political / government leaders fail to put in place regulations to overcome existing problems.

l Foreigners may influence conflicts within or with other religions e.g. the Jamaican who was chaise away from Kenya in 2009.

l Advancement of and application of science and technology in a society e.g. the information technology and its spread among the society.

l Sometimes religions leaders enterfere or combine religions teachings with politics. These could cause enemity between the government and religious institutions. Eg. Civic education towards 2010 election, prepared by the TEC, in 2009.

Effects of Intra and Inter Religious Conflicts:

l Weakening unity and solidarity among followers of the same religion, as well as other religions.

l Creating an atmosphere of tension and fear among people of the same religion, or other religions, or the entire community.

l Undermining socio-economic development of citizens. They fail to achieve their goals due to the existed conflicts.

l The situation will limit employment and provision of social services because of religionalism.

l The conflicts may lead to political instabilities, even civil war.


Importance of Practising Religious Tolerance

l Promotes peace, order, harmony among people in the country which has diversified believers.

l Promotes development in all aspects, economic, social, culture, as well as political development.

l It allows benefactors to support the country whose people are not attached to a specific religion.

l It attracts foreign investors to invest in a country without fear, and creates employment.

l It facilitates goods leadership, ie political and religions institutions join hands in leading people.

l It promotes freedom of worship and association of the citizens.


Revision questions:

1. Define philosophy and explain its main branches.

2. Show the significance of studying philosophy.

3. Metaphysics is the mother of philosophy. Substantiate.

4. Examine the importance of religion to national development.

5. Briefly explain the following philosophical concepts

(i) Liberalism

(ii) Materialism

6. Discuss about the philosophical ideas of Julius Nyerere on education for self reliance and steps taken since independence to reshape Tanzanian education system.

7. Show the importance of religious tolerance in multicultural societies like Tanzania.

8. Show the advantages of separating religion from the state.

9. What are the challenges of religion today?

10. With reference to the role of religion in the modern society, discuss the Marxist view about religion.

Read More:






Leave a comment