Personhood and (Rectification) Justice in African Thought

Politikon:1- 18 (2018)
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This article invokes the idea of personhood (which it takes to be at the heart of Afrocommunitarian morality) to give an account of corrective/rectification justice. The idea of rectification justice by Robert Nozick is used heuristically to reveal the moral-theoretical resources availed by the idea of personhood to think about historical injustices and what would constitute a meaningful remedy for them. This notion of personhood has three facets: (1) a theory of moral status/dignity, (2) an account of historical conditions and (3) the achievement of moral excellence by the agent (personhood). This article argues that a just society is a function of (1) and (2), and it further argues that the aim of rectification justice is to correct these two facets of a society, which are necessary for (3) to be possible. The aim of correcting history just is to make personhood a possibility for all humanity, particularly of those who were victims of past injustices.

Author's Profile

Motsamai Molefe
University of Witwatersrand


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