Digest of terms

African Ethics

Certain themes emerge as distinctive of ethical thinking in sub-Saharan Africa, rooted in traditional communal forms of living. A widely used covering term is Ubuntu, humanness. This in turn is construed as emphasizing interrelatedness and interdependence such that other people's flourishing is a condition of one's own well-being. At one level humanist, at another Ubuntu may involve harmonious relations with spirits and ancestors, or correlatively with the natural environment. There are clear links between this communal emphasis and the communitarian critique of individualism prominent in modern Western liberalism.

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