Debating the Universal as an Unfinished Project and Regulative Ideal

  • Franziska DübgenEmail author
  • Stefan Skupien
Part of the Global Political Thinkers book series (GPT)


Hountondji calls for a transcultural debate on universal norms as opposed both to moral relativism and to Western monolingualism in the discussion on global values. This chapter reconstructs his early critique of African particularism in the context of his engagement with ethnophilosophy and connects this to his later pledge for the universal scope of a transculturally oriented philosophy. Following on from this, we bring Hountondji’s position into dialogue with other theoretical positions on particularism and universalism within contemporary African philosophy. An excursus to the idea of human rights serves an example to illustrate this debate. As a final step, this chapter discusses the implications of a critical universalism for normative theorising in general.


African particularism Critical universalism Transcultural philosophy Translation Human rights 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MünsterMünsterGermany
  2. 2.WZB Berlin Social Science CenterBerlinGermany

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