David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Moral Education 39 (3):273-290 (2010)
In this article we provide a theoretical reconstruction of sub-Saharan ethics that we argue is a strong competitor to typical Western approaches to morality. According to our African moral theory, actions are right roughly insofar as they are a matter of living harmoniously with others or honouring communal relationships. After spelling out this ethic, we apply it to several issues in both normative and empirical research into morality. With regard to normative research, we compare and contrast this African moral theory with utilitarianism and Kantianism in the context of several practical issues. With regard to empirical research, we compare and contrast our sub-Saharan ethic with several of Lawrence Kohlberg’s views on the nature of morality. Our aim is to highlight respects in which the African approach provides a unitary foundation for a variety of normative and empirical conclusions that are serious alternatives to dominant Western views.
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