Re-Examination of Igbo Values System, and the Igbo Personality: A Kantian and African Comparative Perspective


The primordial Igbo personality is subsumed in a world view of metaphysical reality in which God, as the Supreme Being, plays a central role. The construction of the model Igbo personality starts with an adequate appreciation of the communal role of the individual in maintaining societal balance, peace, prosperity and moral transparency. It is impossible to think of the individual as different from the community. There is a pre-existing metaphysical and social bond that inextricably links one to the other. The interests of the individual are concomitant with that of community. His aspirations, dreams and hopes for a better future and a fulfilled life are dialectically tied to the communal apron strings of what is good for the community. Thus it is “alu”, “nso ani” and “ajoomume” (evil and evil conduct in the Igbo moral sphere) for the individual to even think or act against the metaphysical and cosmological position of his indigenous Igbo community. With this attunement between the individual and his community, it becomes easier to build personalities who see themselves as members of the community. Most importantly, these personalities do exhibit values and virtues which strengthen the spiritual, ethical, social and economic heritage and resources in the Igbo communities. The conception of the Igbo personality, primordially speaking, is a conception in which the individual radiates, as it were, communal values. These communal values are the structural principles and powers that define the identity, integrity and inner self of the Igbo person. When an Igbo man reflects a personal behavior pattern filled with these action-values he is seen to be on the path of a dignified existence. He becomes, as it were, the embodiment of the universal merited dignity of humanity as we say in Igbo lore—“Onyenkabummadu” (this person has human dignity and lives it in his conduct). We can then re-examine to what extent the Igbo communal values are in attunement with the Kantian concept of human dignity. This paper posits that the Igbo communal system has the best indigenous ethical and environmental structure for the restoration of man’s dignity as posited by Kant and, has, for ages before Kant, been at the forefront of this restoration, ethicalization and construction of values for human dignity.

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Casmir, K. , Ome, E. and Nwankwo, A. (2014) Re-Examination of Igbo Values System, and the Igbo Personality: A Kantian and African Comparative Perspective. Open Journal of Philosophy, 4, 397-403. doi: 10.4236/ojpp.2014.43043.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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