African Ethicists

In Tom Angier (ed.), Ethics: The Key Thinkers, 2nd Edition. Bloomsbury (forthcoming)

Authors
Thaddeus Metz
University of Johannesburg
Abstract
Unlike the Chinese, Indian, and Western ethical traditions, the African one had not been text-based until as recently as the 1960s. Since a very large majority of indigenous sub-Saharan societies had oral cultures, there are no classic texts in the field of African ethics and hence also no Big Names; there's nothing comparable to, say, Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics or Confucius’ Analects. However, some names and texts have been more influential than others in shaping ethical reflection, particularly over the past 30 years or so with the development of a decent cohort of Africans lecturing in universities. In my contribution, I engage with those contemporary African philosophers whose writings have made some of the most difference to field, favouring those whose views are particularly distinct from salient western approaches to ethics and should be taken seriously as rivals to them.
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