1st Edition

African Ethics and Death Moral Status and Human Dignity in Ubuntu Thinking

By Motsamai Molefe, Elphus Muade Copyright 2024

    This book analyzes the concepts of moral status and human dignity in African philosophy and applies them to the moral problems associated with death.

    The book first challenges the criticism and rejection of moral status in African philosophy and then continues to consider how moral personhood is defined in African ethical theories, investigating which entities have full moral status or moral personhood and are therefore worthy of full ethical consideration. It then applies this theory to the problems associated with death. In the medical context, will an African theory of moral status permit or forbid euthanasia? Do we have moral obligations towards dead human bodies? Overall, the book provides an important African axiological contribution to debates on global ethics and moral philosophy.

    Providing an important overview of the ethical problems associated with the biological fact of death, this book will be of interest to researchers across the fields of philosophy and African studies.

    Part 1: African Moral Philosophy

    Chapter 1: Introduction to Moral Status and Death in African Ethics 

    Chapter 2: A Defence of Moral Status in African Philosophy

    Chapter 3: Ubuntu Ethics, ubuntu and Moral Status

    Chapter 4: Ubuntu, Empathy and Moral Status 

    Part 2: African Applied Ethics

    Chapter 5: Ubuntu Ethics and Voluntary Euthanasia

    Chapter 6: Ubuntu Ethics and the Moral Status of Dead Human Bodies


    Motsamai Molefe is Senior Researcher, Centre for Leadership Ethics in Africa (CLEA), University of Fort Hare, South Africa, and Editor-in-Chief of the South African Journal of Philosophy.

    Elphus Muade is an expert in medical ethics, medical law, environmental ethics, and bioethics with a PhD from the University of Kwazulu–Natal, South Africa. He is currently doing his post-doctoral fellowship at the Centre for Leadership Ethics in Africa, University of Fort Hare.