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Taboo and moral reinforcement in Yoruba traditional thought

Oluwatosin Adeoti Akintan
Department of Philosophy, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Nigeria

Olukayode Felix Oyenuga
Department of English, Faculty of Arts, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Nigeria



The world is best described in three words – a global village. In extension, the global village is a village of crisis where morality is seriously endangered with particular references to Africa, there is a serious need to attest the pathetic erosion of morality. There are diverse mechanisms for achieving this but one potential factor that should be considered is the potency of taboo. Really, the logical neo-positivist questions the scientific verifiability of taboo while many Christians and Muslims regard it as mere mythical construction to low unvaried mind through superstitious and further the relevance of African Traditional Religion. This paper argues that it is a critical analytical blunder to examine taboo through the lens of Western logic. Besides, modernity does not outlaw the pragmatic significance of taboo. Hence, taboo obeys a special metaphysical logic that draws on the synergy between the physical and the divine realm.

Keywords: taboo, morality, reinforcement, Yoruba worldview