oa Phronimon - Towards a dialogical moral theory

Volume 13, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1561-4018



In Western thought, moral acts have always been evaluated, condemned and/or justified by three normative theories, namely virtue theories, Kantian deontology and teleology, particularly utilitarianism. Because of the popularity of Western philosophy, these normative theories have wholesomely been applied across cultures as standards for human action despite the fact that some of these cultures have different moral requirements. The theories have put the individual at the centre of morality with reason occupying a central place. In this article, while I admit that these normative theories have to some extent received worldwide acclaim, I argue that they cannot be wholesomely applied across cultures without facing problems of cultural validation. Relying on my Zimbabwean moral experience, I argue against this universal application of normative theories across African cultures and I argue for a dialogical moral theory as the most appropriate or relevant theory to be used in Southern Africa in general, and in Zimbabwe in particular.

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