David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Ethical Perspectives 3 (2):76-90 (1996)
Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu is the Zulu version of a traditional African aphorism . Although with considerable loss of culture-specific meaning, it can be translated as: “A human being is a human being through other human beings.” Still, its meaning can be interpreted in various ways of which I would like to highlight only two, in accordance with the grammar of the central concept ‘Ubuntu’ which denotes both a state of being and one of becoming.Firstly, it can be interpreted as a statement of fact about the human condition, i.e. as a descriptive claim about the social nature of human being and personal identity; even the constitutive relation between alterity and identity. Secondly, it can also be interpreted as a value-judgement, i.e. as a normative appreciation of social difference and human diversity; even as an imperative to expose ourselves to others, to encounter the difference of their humanness, in order to fully become our own. The meaning would then be — to paraphrase a translation of Ramose : To be human is to affirm one’s humanity by recognising the humanity of others in its infinite variety of content and form.CONCLUSION :The challenge of a philosophical understanding of the multi-cultural context of apartheid South Africa has still to be met. To meet this challenge is to try and trace the consequences of what it would mean if — to paraphrase Walzer — our crucial commonality is our particularity. Perhaps it will mean accepting that what we are and are becoming, our identity, escapes any reduction to the categories of the ‘self’ and the ‘other’ and eludes a dialectical ‘aufhebung’ of their difference. This may be the case if what we are and are becoming involves the paradox of being and becoming ever more different in the realisation of our self-sameness. Our African aphorism speaks of this paradox and, in so doing, it draws a limit to our philosophical understanding and provides us with a rule of conduct: Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu!
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Sharad Chari (2008). Elite Transition: From Apartheid to Neoliberalism in South Africa Unsustainable South Africa: Environment, Development and Social Protest Against Global Apartheid: South Africa Meets the World Bank, IMF and Global Finance Talk Left, Walk Right: South Africa's Frustrated Global Reforms Arise Ye Coolies: Apartheid and the Indian, 1960–1995 We Are the Poors: Community Struggles in Post-Apartheid South Africa Blacks in Whites: A Century of Cricket Struggles in KwaZulu-Natal. [REVIEW] Historical Materialism 16 (2):167-189.
George Carwe (2000). Affirmative Action in Post-Apartheid South Africa. Social Philosophy Today 16:77-94.
William J. Danaher Jr (2010). Music That Will Bring Back the Dead? Resurrection, Reconciliation, and Restorative Justice in Post-Apartheid South Africa. Journal of Religious Ethics 38 (1):115-141.
Neville Richardson (1986). Apartheid, Heresy and the Church in South Africa. Journal of Religious Ethics 14 (1):1 - 21.
David M. Smith (1999). Social Justice and the Ethics of Development in Post-Apartheid South Africa. Philosophy and Geography 2 (2):157 – 177.
Mary-Anne Plaatjies-Van Huffel & Dineo Seloana (2008). About the Empowerment of Women in the Church in Post-Apartheid South Africa : A Post-Structural Approach. In Steve De Gruchy, Nico Koopman & S. Strijbos (eds.), From Our Side: Emerging Perspectives on Development and Ethics. Unisa Press
Herman Wasserman & Arnold S. de Beer (2005). A Fragile Affair: The Relationship Between the Mainstream Media and Government in Post-Apartheid South Africa. Journal of Mass Media Ethics 20 (2 & 3):192 – 208.
Andrew West (2006). Theorising South Africa's Corporate Governance. Journal of Business Ethics 68 (4):433 - 448.
Ashwin Desai (2004). Magic, Realism and the State in Post-Apartheid South Africa. Historical Materialism 12 (4):383-403.
Colleen Murphy (2011). Justice and Reconciliation in Post-Apartheid South Africa. Philosophical Papers 40 (1):49-154.
Drucilla Cornell (2009). Is Technology a Fatal Destiny?: Heidegger's Relevance for South Africa and for All 'Developing' Countries. In Karin Van Marle (ed.), Refusal, Transition and Post-Apartheid Law. Sun Press
Dominic Griffiths & Maria Prozesky (2010). The Politics of Dwelling: Being White / Being South African. Africa Today 56 (4):22-41.
Aneta Pawłowska (2004). The Roots of Black Post-Apartheid Art in South Africa. Art Inquiry. Recherches Sur les Arts 6:81-104.
Pieter Duvenage (1999). The Politics of Memory and Forgetting After Auschwitz and Apartheid. Philosophy and Social Criticism 25 (3):1-28.
K. Moodley (2007). Teaching Medical Ethics to Undergraduate Students in Post-Apartheid South Africa, 2003 2006. Journal of Medical Ethics 33 (11):673-677.
Added to index2010-09-02
Total downloads27 ( #145,003 of 1,906,980 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #162,336 of 1,906,980 )
How can I increase my downloads?