R. M. Hare’s Prescriptivism and the Question of Good Governance in Nigeria

  • Damian Tersoo Anyam Benue State University, Makurdi
  • Solomon T. Gbagir Department of Philosophy, Benue State University, Makurdi
Keywords: Good Governance, Hare, Prescriptivism.


This paper carefully examined R.M. Hare’s prescriptivism and the question of good
governance in Nigeria. A critical look at democratic governance in Nigeria shows
a deficient system engulfed by lack of accountability, transparency, among others,
by leaders, and this has continued to eat deep into the fabrics of democratic
practice and governance in Nigeria; thus, raising concerns on the question of good
governance in the Nigerian polity. The paper adopted the qualitative research
design. Data were sourced from books, periodicals and the internet. The
expository, analytic and evaluative methods of research were used. The expository
method was used to expose ethical prescriptivism and, particularly, the
prescriptivism of R.M. Hare. The analytic method examined, in detail, Hare’s
notion of prescriptivism. The evaluative method was also employed in giving
reasoned value judgment on Hare’s prescriptivism in juxtaposition to good
governance in Nigeria. Significantly, the paper understood that good governance
champions a common cause for the common good of the people so that they are
economically, socially, psychologically, intellectually and otherwise stable. But a
system devoid of this results in abuse of power, educational and infrastructural
decay, poor welfare and health care provision and many more. The paper thus
submitted that in Hare’s description, value judgment or moral statements are
basically prescriptive in the sense that such moral judgments or statements contain
in them the direction for one’s action. In view of this, the paper recommended that
when a leader comes to power on the whims of brilliant and promising manifestoes,
such a leader is duty-bound to fulfill such promises. The paper concluded that for
good governance to thrive in Nigeria, the action of leaders must be a consequence
of, or proceed from, their moral statements or judgments.


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