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The phenomenon of reincarnation in the Igbo society themselves cannot unravel; through the belief in reincarnation is part of the African world views, that have not accepted and philosophy cum rational explanations. The rate at which the Igbo exercise their ardment belief in it, like the custom of taking a new born baby to native doctor. The Igbo belief in reincarnation in order to have a more detailed knowledge of it to develop a new outlook in the Igbo belief in reincarnation as a belief in African Philosophy. Only secondary data source where use, source from magazine, text books and journals. The significance of the study, firstly it will serve as a source of reference for further studies and research especially for undergraduate students in such discipline as a philosophy religion and his ping. Having argued thus far it is plausible make some useful recommendations that will help our philosophic understanding of the phenomenon of reincarnation the Igbo should be more critical about their belief in reincarnation, and should not just believe in what witch doctors would say. One can conclude from the above views that, reincarnation is not scientifically, oriented, it is based on mere belief and it is even more critical to belief in the immortality of the soul than in reincarnation.

chapter one


1-1 Background of the Study:

the phenomenon of reincarnation is one of the concepts in african philosophy that has exercised the minds of both african scholars and natives of african origin, not only that it is a mystery which africans themselves cannot explain, but it is at the same time, a some worth impossible occurrence which requires some ontological and existential explanations given the African world view.

It is a belief among the Igbo that there exist two worlds, the land of the living which they call “Uwa” and the land of the dead called “Ani-mmuo”, and for the Igbo, life moves in the circle of birth-death and rebirth; and that when one dies, he or she has the spiritual power to come back to life again, and that is what the Igbo call “Ilo-uwa” (reincarnation). Now, the   major problem   with   this aged   long belief   in the Africans in the African/Igbo ethno philosophy is that,   Africans cannot empirically, scientifically, experientially etc explain the fact that, the old matured and long dead human is the person that has come to life again as a child.

This therefore presents reincarnation as a dogma, which does not have any concrete-rational explanation and examination. But, it appears that, the Igbo belief in the phenomenon of reincarnation has some truth given the many instance of its occurrence in different Igbo societies and communities. Many have reported that, the new born baby a times come to the world with some marks and some exact physiological features, which an elder in the family had when he or she was alive.

Some of these instances and experiences of incidence of reincarnation places one in a dilemma between rejecting the phenomenon or reality. Hence, the researchers believe that, it is through a vivid philosophical examination via an inquiring into the Igbo concept of reincarnation that this puzzle can be demystified.


1.2 Statement of the Problem:

Though the belief in reincarnation   is part of the

African   worldviews,   culture   and   traditions that have   however among those cultures and traditions that have not accepted any philosophy cum rational explanations. For if one beliefs that, the old man that once died in the family is who have come to life again, then that person will be unavoidably faced with the question of whether the old man entered the womb of a woman and was born again? The rate at which the Igbo exercise their ardent belief in it, like the custom of taking a new born baby to native doctor to foretell who has reincarnated into that new born baby has prompted the researcher to raise such questions as what really inform this belief among the Igbo? How did the old person enter into the womb of the woman that gave birth to the newborn baby? Is there any exchange of food and chemicals between the newborn baby and the old person that reincarnated into the newborn baby? These are some of the problems that surround this research. And the researcher beliefs that by adopting a more critical and logical approach that some of these questions can be resolved.

1.3 Objectives of the Study:

This research study aims at the following Objectives:

To critically expose the Igbo belief in reincarnation in order to have a more detailed knowledge of it.

To use the empirical cum the scientific Method of observation and experiment to examine the Igbo belief in reincarnation.

To develop a new outlook in the Igbo belief in reincarnation as a belief in African philosophy.

To expose African philosophy like every other philosophical traditions.

1.4 Significance of the Study:

This research will be significant or beneficial in the following ways:

Firstly, it will serve as a source of reference for further studies and research, especially for undergraduate students in such disciplines as philosophy, Religion and History.

Second, it will serve as one of those attempts to expose African worldviews, as a reaction to the western claims that Africans do not have a philosophy.

Thirdly, it will help to encourage Igbo to be more rational and critical in their belief in reincarnation.

Fourthly, it will help to demystify some of the puzzles that surround the Igbo belief in reincarnation through critical and logical exposition.

Fifthly, the research will serve as both educating and entertaining material for the lovers of African culture.

1.5  Method of the Study:

This research will employ the critical, analytic, evaluative, expository and the argumentative methods of philosophy. The work will depend on materials from the library like books, journals, articles, memo graphs and internet sources. The research will also make use of the modern MLA style of documentation in its citations.

1.6  Scope of the Study:

The study of reincarnation will be such a vast area in the study of metaphysics if it is been studied from the different philosophical traditions, backgrounds and conceptual schemes in the world. Thus, to make this work to be more focused, the researcher will concentrate on the concepts of reincarnation in the Igbo society or communities. However, allusions can be made once in a while to how it is being conceptualized in other African societies. And through the kind of analysis this work will achieve, it can be concluded that the researcher have really exposed the concept of reincarnation in a typical African society, using the Igbo society as a study case.

1.7 Clarification of Terms:

At this juncture, it is pertinent to clarify some of the terms that we are going to be using in this work, and the sense in which we are going to use them. Some of these terms or concepts include the following:

  • Reincarnation: in this work, the term reincarnation is used to mean the belief in the fact that, at death of the physical body; that the soul of a human can enter another body and begin to undergo another earthly existence or life span. So, it is used in that sense in which the Igbo belief that, there can be life after the death of the physical body. It is in
    view of the above that, Ojong .K. opines that, “the belief in reincarnation upholds that the soul of the dead person returns to inhabit a new body” (86).
    One will see from the position of Ojong that, the Igbo like other Africans; reincarnation has to do with rebirth and immortality of the soul after the death of the body.
  • African philosophy: though philosophy in the real sense of it is philosophy everywhere, in this work, the construct African philosophy is used to mean the philosophy that reflects on African world view and notion of reality. Hence as G.O Ozumba writes, African philosophy as it was appears to have been trapped in the grace of western modifications for it. It is like an invisible hand teleguiding the contents and the spirit of African philosophy. These colloquia are set to burst all such manipulations as under and to launch African philosophy into prominence … (i)

Thus, in this work attempt is made to examine the phenomenon of reincarnation in line with the African worldview and notion of reality.


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