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First Term Seminars

Philosophy in Africa, Africa in Philosophy

 

 

First term 2016
 

Tuesday 1 March, 1pm        Dr Uchenna Okeja, Philosophy, Rhodes

EGALITARIAN INTUITIONS IN AFRICA AND THE QUEST FOR A COHERENT MODEL OF GLOBAL JUSTICE

Centre for African Studies Seminar Room, Harry Oppenheimer Institute Building Level 3

 

Tuesday 8 March, 1pm       Pitso Tsibolane, Information Systems, UCT

BEYOND SOCIAL CAPITAL: UBUNTU AS AN EXPLANATION FOR COLLECTIVE WELLBEING

Classroom 3A, Neville Alexander Building Level 3

 

Tuesday 15 March, 1pm      Assoc Prof Kathy Luckett, EDU, UCT

                                            Veeran Naicker, Religious Studies, UCT

GAZES FROM THE POST-COLONY: AN ANALYSIS OF AFRICAN PHILOSOPHIES USING LEGITIMATION CODE THEORY

Centre for African Studies Seminar Room, Harry Oppenheimer Institute Building Level 3

 

Tuesday 22 March, 1pm     Dr Edwin Etieyibo, Philosophy, Wits

AFRICAN PHILOSOPHY AND NONHUMAN NATURE

Philosophy Seminar Room, Neville Alexander Building Level 3

 

A full written paper will be circulated one week in advance of each seminar. Abstracts of the talks follow:

 

Okeja: EGALITARIAN INTUITIONS IN AFRICA AND THE QUEST FOR A COHERENT MODEL OF GLOBAL JUSTICE 

Global justice asserts that people in affluent countries owe some duty of assistance to poor people in developing countries. This raises the question of justification of this duty of assistance to non-compatriots. In this paper, I address this question from the perspective of the egalitarian intuitions prevalent in African societies. I focus mainly on analyzing the egalitarian intuition that informs the extended family system in African societies. In doing this, my aim is to distill some insights that will enable me to reconstruct a coherent model of global justice from this perspective. Overall, the claim I set out to defend is that the egalitarian principle implied by the extended family system is capable of providing a ground for the assessment of what could count as a coherent model of global justice. The paper is divided into four parts. In the first part, I present an overview of the debate about global justice. My aim in part two is to forward, largely without argument, the egalitarian intuition embedded in the extended family system. In the third part of the paper, I provide an outline of a model of global justice informed by this egalitarian intuition. Finally in part four, I provide reasons to justify my claim that this model of global justice is coherent and plausible. The conclusion is dedicated to consideration of counter-arguments and clarification of the limits of the paper.
 

Tsibolane: BEYOND SOCIAL CAPITAL: UBUNTU AS AN EXPLANATION FOR COLLECTIVE WELLBEING 

There have been attempts in academic literature to understand the dynamics between the pan-African collectivist philosophy of Ubuntu and the concept social capital to explain how communities act together to attain social wellbeing. This paper proposes a theoretical framework to explain the interrelationship between social action and social wellbeing in African communities as a function of the principles embedded in the philosophy of shared interdependence of Ubuntu. The framework helps to support the notion that the concept of social capital is insufficient to holistically explain collective wellbeing in the context of communities with an Ubuntu worldview.

 

Luckett & Naicker: GAZES FROM THE POST-COLONY: AN ANALYSIS OF AFRICAN PHILOSOPHIES USING LEGITIMATION CODE THEORY 

This article use Maton's Legitimation Code Theory (Specialization) to understand the principles that legitimate a range of different knowledge paradigms, claims and practices in the field of African philosophy. This field is of interest because historically it is premised on responding to and challenging dominant Western ideas imposed on African intellectuals and societies through processes of colonization. Colonialism is understood as an epistemic (as well as military, political and socio-cultural) event with on-going effects – termed 'coloniality' - for post-colonial societies. Maton's concepts are applied to Hallen's map of the field which is divided into three broad categories: Ethnophilosophy and philosophical sagacity, socialist and Marxist philosophies and the works of professional philosophers. The point of the analysis was to generate theoretically-informed guidelines for recontextualizing knowledge from this field into an undergraduate curriculum in a post-colonial context. Finally, the potential of Maton's conceptual tools are assessed.

 

Etieyibo: AFRICAN PHILOSOPHY AND NONHUMAN NATURE 

What is the moral status of nonhuman nature (animals and inanimate entities) in African philosophy (African value system, thought, metaphysics, or worldview)? Some would suggest that it is anthropocentric, namely, that it is committed to the view that nonhuman nature is not intrinsically valuable, that the worth of nonhuman nature is derivable from human characteristics, and that nonhuman nature is to be prized insofar as it is of benefit to humans. In this paper I want to question this interpretation. I gesture towards the view that on some dominant African metaphysical worldviews African philosophy could be said to be conceivably closer to biocentricism or ecocentricism rather than anthropocentricism.