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Opening academic year 2019-2020

Thursday 5 September 2019
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

On Thursday 5 September 2019 the Institute of Philosophy will celebrate the opening of Academic Year 2019-2020. All staff, students, and members of the wider philosophical community are cordially invited to attend the presentations and the reception to follow.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor pj veth leiden




Opening and Welcome

James McAllister
Academic Director/Professor of History and Philosophy of Science



Floor van Lelyveld
Chair, Study Association Symposion


Yoruba Philosophy of Existence,
Iwa (Character), and Contemporary Socio-political Order

Olatunji Oyeshile
Professor of Philosophy, Ibadan University, Nigeria


Matthias de Vrieshof 2

All welcome

Olatunji A. Oyeshile: Yoruba Philosophy of Existence, Iwa (Character), and Contemporary Socio-political Order



What roles does iwa (“character” in Yoruba belief) play in Yoruba philosophy of existence and how can these roles help in providing solutions to challenges of contemporary socio-political order, not only in Africa but across the globe? These are the daunting questions this lecture sets out to examine. The foundation of Yoruba philosophy of existence is predicated mainly on the moral pivot called iwa. It is on iwa, which has both ontological and ethical etymologies, that the meaning of life is based. Iwa regulates the social relations among people and adherence to it within the Yoruba cultural matrix provides answers to complex questions of existence. It is submitted that the moral foundation of Yoruba philosophy of existence, as dictated by iwa, is a veritable basis for engendering normative principles for addressing problems in contemporary society as it harmonises disparate interests for common good, thereby reconciling the self with the other.


Olatunji A. Oyeshile has been Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ibadan since 2009. He gained his PhD in Philosophy from the same university in 2002. He was acting head of the Department of Philosophy from 2008 to 2010. He specialises in African philosophy with an emphasis on individual–community relations, metaphysics, and existentialism. He has supervised over 150 BA theses, 40 MA projects, and five PhD dissertations. Among his publications is The Idea of a Nigerian University: A Revisit (2013). He is presently working on an anthology titled Philosophy, Culture and Society: An African Gaze. He is treasurer of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, the highest professional academic association for humanities in Nigeria. He believes that social order and development can be attained only if we “reconcile the self with the other”.

Professor Oyeshile is visiting fellow at the Institute of Philosophy in 2019-2020, semester I.

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