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Personhood, Morality and Dignity in African Philosophy

  • Motsamai MolefeEmail author
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Abstract

In this chapter, Molefe articulates a personhood-based account of African ethics. He elaborates on the two facets of personhood as a moral theory—the agent-centred and patient-centred theories of value. In the first part of the chapter, he discusses the agent-centred theory of value. He accounts for it in terms of moral perfection, where the chief moral goal of the agent is to perfect her own humanity. He further unfolds the moral egoism, moral individualism and importance of social relationships associated with this moral system. The second part of the chapter focuses on the patient-centred facet of value—moral status or dignity. He begins by repudiating Polycarp Ikuenobe’s personhood-based view of dignity. Molefe proceeds to derive and construct a personhood-based account of dignity in the works of Ifeanyi Menkiti and Kwame Gyekye. Ultimately, he accounts for dignity in terms of the capacity for sympathy.

Keywords

Agent-centred theory Animals Capacity for moral sense Dignity Patient-centred theory Personhood Sympathy The young 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Fort HareEast LondonSouth Africa

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