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Genuine Intellectuals. Academic and Social Responsibilities of Universities in Africa

Academic and Social Responsibilities of Universities in Africa

Bernard Nsokika Fonlon

Publication Year: 2009

This book, slim as it looks, took Bernard Nsokika Fonlon the best part of five laborious years to write 1965-9 inclusive. He writes: "I was penning away as students in France were up in arms against the academic Establishment, and their fury almost toppled a powerful, prestigious, political giant like General de Gaulle. In America students, arms in hand, besieged and stormed the buildings of the University Administration, others blew up lecture halls in Canada - the student revolt, a very saeva indignatio, was in paroxysm. But in England (save in the London School of Economics where students rioted for the lame reason that the College gate looked like that of a jail-house) all was calm..." Fonlon drew on these events to define the role of university education in this precious treasure of a book, which he dedicates to every African freshman and freshwoman. The book details his reflections and vision on the scientific and philosophical Nature, End and Purpose of university studies. He calls on African students to harness the Scientific Method in their quest for Truth, and to put the specialised knowledge they acquire to the benefit of the commonwealth first, then, to themselves. To do this effectively, universities must jealously protect academic freedom from all non-academic interferences. For any university that does not teach a student to think critically and in total freedom has taught him or her nothing of genuine worth. Universities are and must remain sacred places and spaces for the forging of genuine intellectuals imbued with skills and zeal to assume and promote social responsibilities with self abnegation.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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The Genuine Intellectual

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pp. vii-viii

A happy couple of humble background gave him life. In remotest Nso he passed infancy unnoticed noticing. The mirror of culture sealed an image in his memory, And made Fonlon a child of the people, an object of hope...

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Prolegomena

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pp. ix-xx

This book, slim as it looks, took me the best part of five laborious years to write 1965-9 inclusive. I was penning away as students in France were up in arms against the academic Establishment, and their fury almost toppled a powerful, prestigious, political giant like...

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The Credo

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pp. xxi-xxii

I believe in John Henry Cardinal Newman, Fellow of Oriel and Trinity, Oxford, Founder and first Rector of the Catholic University, Dublin.
I believe with him that the University should be an ideal land, a central Metropolis of Learning, where the True, the Good and the Sublime should be found in substantial-being...

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Preface to the First Edition

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pp. xxiii-xxvi

As I look back, now, and memory brings to light the bright faces of the friendly youths and the charming colleens among whom I found myself then, I begin to wonder whether those youngsters, in their teen-agedness, had a keen, clear, and precise awareness of what they had come there...

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Chapter One - The University: Birth and Growth

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pp. 1-14

We of the African race cannot remind ourselves too often of what the Blackman has gone through and of the condition in which he finds himself today consequent on centuries of tribulation. He was despoiled of all he had, despoiled of his rights, despoiled...

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Chapter Two - Conservation and Reorganisation

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pp. 15-28

The history of the advance of higher Education, unfortunately, was not destined to be so smooth. For it suffered reverses at the hands of the northern hodes that laid the Roman Empire low – the Goth, the Hun, the Lombard. The progress of letters and science...

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Chapter Three - Nature of Studies

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pp. 29-42

University studies are called higher studies. But in what sense are they such? Is it in the sense that more is piled up, indiscriminately, on what was learnt before, like so many stones heaped up into an enormous mound? But a pile of stones, however high, does...

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Chapter Four - The Scientific Method

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pp. 43-58

The problem which poses itself at the start of any inductive inquiry is, how are we to obtain our data, and how we must apply to these data our knowledge of Logic, in order to pass from them to the general fundamental principles of science. In other words...

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Chapter Five - Approach to History and Literature

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pp. 59-70

The principal substance, the essential material, of which History is made is the corpus of events in the life of an outstanding individual, in the life of a community, in the life of a nation, in the life of the world...

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Chapter Six - Philosophy: A Categorical Imperative

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pp. 71-84

I set out to show that University Studies, if they are to be worthy of the name, must be scientific and philosophical. Thus far, I have striven to demonstrate how such studies can be rendered scientific. I now turn to the second part of this treatise, namely, that for University...

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Chapter Seven - The Genuine Intellectual

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pp. 85-100

In philosophical jargon, a distinction is made between the formal end and the final end of any action or enterprise undertaken by a conscious agent. Here, however, to render what I am saying less esoteric or pedantic, I will simply speak of the End (for the formal end) and the...

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Chapter Eight - Dedication to the Common Weal

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pp. 101-122

I said at the start of the last chapter that, whereas the end of an action or enterprise is the natural, inevitable objective outcome that issues from the said action or enterprise, the purpose, on the other hand, is the subjective intention that the doer has in mind in doing what...

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Chapter Nine - Tributes to Professor Dr. Bernard Fonlon

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pp. 123-140

1. Twenty years ago, on 26th August 1986, Bernard Nsokika Fonlon died in Canada. He had gone there in the month of May of that year in order to receive a doctorate degree in Literature (D. Litt.) from the University of Guelph, and it was his intention to spend the 1986/1987 academic...

Books and Articles by Bernard Fonlon

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pp. 141-142

Books and Articles on Fonlon

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pp. 143-146

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789956715541
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956558599

Page Count: 172
Publication Year: 2009