Philosophia Africana 14 (1):61-83 (2012)

Thaddeus Metz
University of Pretoria
If contemporary African political philosophy is going to develop substantially in fresh directions, it probably will not be enough, say, to rehash the old personhood debate between Kwame Gyekye and Ifeanyi Menkiti, or to nit-pick at Gyekye’s system, as much of the literature in the field has done. Instead, major advances are likely to emerge on the basis of new, principled interpretations of sub-Saharan moral thought. In recent work, I have fleshed out two types of moral theories that have a clearly sub-Saharan basis, that differ from Gyekye’s moral perspective, and that also happen to constitute genuine rivals to dominant Western theories such as utilitarianism, Kantianism and contractualism. In catchwords, these African moral theories are constituted by ideals regarding community or friendliness, on the one hand, and vitality or liveliness, on the other. In this article I sketch these two under-explored ethical perspectives and then suggest several respects in which their implications for salient political controversies are novel and revealing. Sometimes the new African moral theories—and the community-based one in particular--entail different conclusions from Gyekye's position, while other times their conclusions are the same as Gyekye’s, but they provide different rationales for them that are more compelling than his.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5840/philafricana20121419
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 62,577
External links

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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Just the Beginning for Ubuntu: Reply to Matolino and Kwindingwi.Thaddeus Metz - 2014 - South African Journal of Philosophy 33 (1):65-72.

View all 15 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

African and Western Moral Theories in a Bioethical Context.Thaddeus Metz - 2010 - Developing World Bioethics 10 (1):49-58.
Toward an African Moral Theory.Thaddeus Metz - 2007 - Journal of Political Philosophy 15 (3):321–341.
An African Theory of Bioethics: Reply to Macpherson and Macklin.Thaddeus Metz - 2010 - Developing World Bioethics 10 (3):158-163.
The Virtues of African Ethics.Thaddeus Metz - 2013 - In Stan van Hooft (ed.), The Handbook of Virtue Ethics. Acumen Publishing. pp. 276-84.
The Motivation for “Toward an African Moral Theory”.Thaddeus Metz - 2007 - South African Journal of Philosophy 26 (26):331-335.
Ubuntu as a Moral Theory: Reply to Four Critics.Thaddeus Metz - 2007 - South African Journal of Philosophy 26 (4):369-87.
Recent Work in African Ethics.Thaddeus Metz - 2010 - Journal of Moral Education 39 (3):381-391.
The Final Ends of Higher Education in Light of an African Moral Theory.Thaddeus Metz - 2009 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 43 (2):179-201.


Added to PP index

Total views
66 ( #160,794 of 2,446,578 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
11 ( #60,420 of 2,446,578 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes