Ifá divination as an exercise in deconstructionism

Published in: South African Journal of Philosophy
Volume 38, issue 3, 2019 , pages: 330–345
DOI: 10.1080/02580136.2019.1656961
Author(s): Emmanuel OfuasiaPhilosophy, Lagos State University, Nigeria


While deconstructionism, one of the cardinal features of postmodern philosophy, was not popular until the preceding century in Western intellectual circles, the traditional Yorùbá are not new to the practice. This claim is especially striking once an inquiry into the procedural and epistemic underpinning of Ifá divination is attempted. If this holds, it is not unwise to query: Who are the Yorùbá? What kind of practice in Ifá divination is redolent of deconstructionism? Does deconstructionism among the traditional Yorùbá validate not only the persistence but also the practice of postmodern philosophy among these people? Through the method of analysis and interpretation, this study posits that the Ifá divination process reeks of deconstructionism even before the term and idea became ubiquitous in concurrent academic circles. In addition, this study highlights that deconstruction in Ifá divination is not only for the attainment of new meaning, but also serves as groundwork for the guidance, counsel and resolution of challenges both at personal and social levels.

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