A Critique of Kwasi Wiredu's Moral Theory

This article critically engages with Kwasi Wiredu’s moral theory. I observe that major criticisms of this moral theory have not sufficiently addressed two aspects of it. Firstly, they have not exhaustively problematized Wiredu’s ‘welfarism’ – the claim that morality is definable purely in terms of welfare. In this regard, it is not clear what Wiredu and much of the African literature might mean by ‘welfare’, I give some account of this. Secondly, Wiredu’s ethical principle of sympathetic impartiality (golden rule) appears to be unrelated to welfare. If this principle is meant to guide to the good, as I construe Wiredu to take a consequentialist approach to ethics, then there is a hiatus between sympathetic impartiality and welfare. This article, by use of analytic philosophy techniques, delves into these two objections.
Keywords Humanism  Golden rule  Sympathetic impartiality  Welfare
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