Personhood and a Meaningful Life in African Philosophy

South African Journal of Philosophy 39 (2): 194-207 (2020)
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Abstract

This article proffers a personhood-based conception of a meaningful life. I look into the ethical structure of the salient idea of personhood in African philosophy to develop an account of a meaningful life. In my view, the ethics of personhood is constituted by three components, namely (1) the fact of being human, which informs (2) a view of moral status qua the capacity for moral virtue, and (3) which specifies the final good of achieving or developing a morally virtuous character. In light of the ethics of personhood, I will propose the view that a meaningful life is a function of achieving moral excellence or perfection. The moral perfection proposed here, to embody a meaningful life, is of a deontological and satisficing kind. The achievement of satisfactory levels of moral excellence, within sociopolitical and moral limits, captures the essence of a meaningful life. I conclude the article by considering objections against the view proposed here.

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Author's Profile

Motsamai Molefe
University of Witwatersrand

References found in this work

Moral saints.Susan Wolf - 1982 - Journal of Philosophy 79 (8):419-439.
Toward an african moral theory.Thaddeus Metz - 2007 - Journal of Political Philosophy 15 (3):321–341.
Two distinctions in goodness.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1983 - Philosophical Review 92 (2):169-195.

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