Faculty: Arts
Department: Department Of Philosophy


Archibong, E. I;
Umeogu, B;


The concept of force is a reality with a flip side representing African explanation, particularly (Bantu ontology) as adumbrated by Placide Tempels on one hand, and Newtonian/Einsteinian explanations in western science on the other. Force, the study contends has a material (scientific) and an immaterial (African) explanation but operates by the same principles leading to the motion and change of state or shape of an object. While Isaac Newton systematized the concept of force using mathematical postulates or axioms in his three laws of motion through the scientific method of observation and experimentation, it didn’t jettison the metaphysical substratum of the concept analytically. Newton’s first, second and third laws of motion provided an ontological truth of force in the guise of it being factually descriptive without stating what force is in itself. But in Einstein, force or energy became clearly a metaphysical concept in relativistic and quantum mechanics. In Bantu-Afrcan ontology, force is held metaphysically in hierarchical order with God at the apex and minerals (materials) at the lower wrung of the ladder. Force in Africa is generally reduced to a metaphysical reality while force in western science is to physical quantities. The study interrogated the material and factual claims of force in western science from its ontological derivatives such as: motion, velocity, acceleration, mass, distance, change, gravitation, relativity, and space-time arguing that force as a material concept does not adhere strictly to the highly prized scientific method of observation and experimentation. The study employed the method of comparative analysis which exposes the convergence and divergence of force from an African and western systems and the implications arising from each. Force the study held has an ambivalent nature of the material and immaterial with one serving as a missing link of the other. Also, except perhaps for linguistic convenience, the study found that the scientific concept of force doesn’t really tell what force is in itself unlike the African worldview where it is clearly defined. The study revealed further that the categories of the mind can delineate the immaterial from the material components of force in a complementary manner revealing convergences and divergences in the western and African system. Since force is an attribute of being, the study deduced that the belief in force can determine human behavior and action. The study found also that confusion arises when humans hold one explanation of force as absolute to the exclusion of the other. The study faulted the compelling unity of the method of science as advocated by the logical positivists as unnecessary to the discovery of the truth of reality as there are indigenous systematic approaches (alternative theoretical frameworks) to tackling such complexities as force which needs to be explained within a cultural context just as we have in the African system. The study also examined some ontological questions generated by the concept of force and applied them to human social relations showing the negative and positive implications of adhering strictly to either the material or immaterial aspect of force. The study concludes that no belief or thought system about any concept of reality is primitive or unsophisticated even voodoo, witchcraft, magic or sorcery.