Situating the Yoruba Concept of “Ori” within the Soft-Deterministic Frame Work

Godwin Oriyomi Adeboye


The concept of Yoruba belief in Ori and its significance in destiny determination have been interpreted to make Yorubas hard determinists. Several scholars and Yoruba Philosophers have tempted to interpret the concepts of Ori to be the sole-determinant of a man’s destiny in Yorubas’ theology. Though the plausibility of hard-deterministic thesis may first appear great but, according to Oladele Balogun, a critical and objective look at the salient issues that surround Yoruba religio-philosophical notion of Ori shows that the role of Ori in relation the conception of personhood to be determinism and predestination has been exaggerated and misunderstood. Virtually all Yoruba African scholars and philosophers (Olubi Sodipo, Moses Makinde, Ebun Oduwole, Samuel Ali, Toyin Gbadamosi, Bolaji Idowu, Joseph Awolalu, Ade Dopamu etc) who have commented on Ori vis-à-vis the freewill-determinism problem have overlooked a point that the Yoruba theology of Ori can be used to solve the traditional freewill-Determinism Debate. But this can only be possible if such a concept (Ori) of a vast importance is well understood. Therefore, this is paper, using ethnographical method, investigates the possibility and plausibility of situating the concept of Yoruba notion Ori within the frame work of soft determinism.

Keywords: Yoruba, Ori, Soft-determinism, Hard determinism, Freewill

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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