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Publication Type
Conference Proceedings
UWI Author(s)
Author, Analytic
Bamikole, Lawrence O.
Author Role
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Author Affiliation
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Paper/Section Title
The Concept of Right(s) in Western (Anglo-American) and African (Yoruba) Philosophies: an Exercise in Comparative Ethics
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Proceedings Title
Cave Hill Philosophy Symposium 2006 - Conversations II: Western and Non-Western Philosophies
Date of Meeting
March 2 -3, 2006
Place of Meeting
Cave Hill, Barbados
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Date of Publication
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Volume ID
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Location in Work
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Extent of Work
8
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Series Title
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Location/URL
http:; www.cavehill.uwi.edu/fhe/histphil/Philosophy/CHiPS/2006/Papers/bamikole.pdf
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Abstract
In this paper, the metaphysical, ethical and epistemological foundations of the concept of right(s) will be critically examined from the Western and African perspectives. It shall be observed that the Western conception of rights grounds the concept on a notion of the self that is atomistic; that is, not other regarding, while the African conception of rights (Eto in Yoruba) is grounded on the notion of the self, on which the self is an integral part of the community of persons. It will also be suggested that the Western conception of rights also derives from the ethical theories of the two philosophies; which are in turn derive from their respective epistemologies. Thus, while Western ethics relies on the Cartesian epistemology where proofs are always required to justify ethical conducts and ethical statements, African ethics relies on the lived day-to-day experiences of the African person. The paper will observe that the Western conception of rights, (natural and legal) which is also modeled along Cartesian dualism, creates a gap between ethical and social theories on one hand and ethical and social practices on the other. The paper will suggest that this gap can be bridged by the notions of commitment and engagement- notions that do not make a rigid distinction between knowing and doing.....
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