عنوان مقاله [English]
نویسنده [English]چکیده [English]
This research attempts to throw light on and show the fundamental similarities and differences between an African and Western ethical conceptions by examining the foundation of ethics and morality in the two systems, using the Golden rule principle in an African ethics and Kant’s categorical imperative in Western ethics as tools of comparative analysis. An African indigenous ethics revolves round the “Golden Rule Principle” as the ultimate moral principle. This principle states that, “Do unto others what you want them to do unto you”. This principle compares favorably with Immanuel Kant’s whose main thrust is found in his “Categorical Imperative”, with the injunction for us to “Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.” The categorical imperative becomes for Kant, the principle of reason and universalizability, which according to Kant, is categorical and must be equally binding on everyone. This idea of Kant, we argue, compares with the “Golden Rule Principle”. Both are rationalistic and social but the limitation of Kant which I hope to point out is the idea that moral intentions can be fully grounded on reason. I argue that human interest or welfare is the basis for morality. This refusal to see the wider horizon of morality is precisely the limitation of Kant’s principle, which makes it quite insufficient as the foundation of morality. The African’s which is more humanistic describes morality and is better served. The main difference between the two ethical systems lies in the fact that whereas the “golden rule” starts from the self and considers the consequences on the self before others, the universalizability principle on the other hand considers the consequences on others first before self.