The kind of society required for human flourishing : a critical comparison of the formation of ethical character in Aristotelian and African ethics.
One thing that ethics attempts to determine is the right way to live in order to attain human flourishing. Both Aristotelian and African ethics give us communitarian accounts of how flourishing is attained by individuals who are brought up to have the right sorts of character. I argue that there are significant similarities between the accounts of the formation of ethical character in Aristotelian and African ethics. I aim to show that through a critical comparison of these two accounts, an account of the kind of society required from human flourishing can be developed. This can then be used to critique a dominant view of human flourishing: that of contemporary individualism. First I set out the Aristotelian account showing how it depends on a certain conception of the nature of persons. Second, I explore the African account of ethics and ethical character and show how this account is based on a similar communitarian conception of the nature of persons. In both Aristotelian and African ethics, society and upbringing play a crucial role in the attainment of human flourishing. Thus, third, I examine in detail the kind of society required for the formation of ethical character according to Aristotelian and African ethics respectively. I argue that there are many fruitful structural similarities between the two accounts. Lastly, I use the work done in the third chapter, as well as the work of certain prominent communitarian theorists, to critique a contemporary individualist view of human flourishing.