An African Theory of the Point of Higher Education: Communion as an Alternative to Autonomy, Truth, and Citizenship
I seek to advance enquiry into the point of a public higher education institution by drawing on ideals salient in the sub-Saharan African philosophical tradition. There are relational, and specifically communal, values prominently held by African thinkers that I use to ground a promising rival to the dominant contemporary Western, and especially Anglo-American, accounts of what a university ultimately ought to achieve, which focus mainly on autonomy, truth, and citizenship. My aims are not merely comparative, contrasting an Afro-communal approach with other ones that have been more globally influential, but also substantive. Although the theory of a university’s point that I articulate and defend has an African pedigree, I work to show that it should be taken seriously by a global audience, for plausibly capturing a variety of intuitions and claims that are widely shared.