African Indigenous Ethics in Global Bioethics

Interpreting Ubuntu

  • Leonard Tumaini Chuwa

Part of the Advancing Global Bioethics book series (AGBIO, volume 1)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Leonard Tumaini Chuwa
    Pages 1-32
  3. Leonard Tumaini Chuwa
    Pages 33-88
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 245-258

About this book


This book educates whilst also challenging the contemporary schools of thought within philosophical and religious ethics. In addition, it underlines the fact that the substance of ethics in general and bioethics/healthcare ethics specifically, is much more expansive and inclusive than is usually thought. Bioethics is a relatively new academic discipline. However, ethics has existed informally since before the time of Hippocrates. The indigenous culture of African peoples has an ethical worldview which predates the western discourse. This indigenous ethical worldview has been orally transmitted over centuries. The earliest known written African text containing some concepts and content of ethics is the “Declaration of Innocence” written in 1500 B.C., found in an Egyptian text. Ubuntu is an example of African culture that presents an ethical worldview. This work interprets the culture of Ubuntu to explain the contribution of a representative indigenous African ethics to global bioethics. Many modern scholars have written about the meaning of Ubuntu for African societies over centuries. Some scholars have viewed Ubuntu as the greatest contribution of African cultures to other world cultures. None of the scholars, however has explored the culture of Ubuntu as providing a representative indigenous ethics that can contribute to global bioethics as discussed in this book.​


Catholic social ethics UNESCO declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights Ubuntu Worldview Ubuntu ethics emergence of global bioethics global bioethics human relationships indigenous African ethics indigenous culture of African peoples

Authors and affiliations

  • Leonard Tumaini Chuwa
    • 1
  1. 1.St. Vincent’s Health CareDuquesne UniversityPittsburghUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Humanities, Social Sciences and Law
  • Print ISBN 978-94-017-8624-9
  • Online ISBN 978-94-017-8625-6
  • Series Print ISSN 2212-652X
  • Series Online ISSN 2212-6538
  • Buy this book on publisher's site