Ubuntu and Development: An African Conception of Development

Africa Today 66:97 - 115 (2019)
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Abstract
This article articulates an African conception of development. I call such an account African insofar as it is based on the moral worldview of ubuntu, which is salient largely among the Bantu peoples. To articulate a conception of development, I rely on the paradigm of development ethics, which construes development as an ethical or philosophical enterprise constituted by three questions: what is a good life? what is a just society? and what duties do we owe to the environment? Answers to these questions constitute a conception of development. This article answers two of these questions in the light of ubuntu. Ultimately, I argue that a good life is a function of having a virtuous character, and a just society is one that respects persons in their capacity for virtue and operates on the moral logic of the common good. I conclude by considering the means prized by ubuntu for pursuing the goal of developmentā€”the ethics of means.
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Archival date: 2019-11-26
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