Conceptual Analysis of Ubuntu/Umunthu and Meaning

  • Grivas Muchineripi Kayange
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 135)


The chapter questions the meaning of the concept ubuntu/umunthu, in African idealism. There are two idealist conceptions of this concept, namely, the radical communitarian conception which underlines communal relationships, and Ramose’s conception of ubuntu as being becoming. In both versions of idealism the community relations are fundamental in understanding this concept. The chapter argues that this idealism provides problematic ontological and ethical conceptions that are grounded on the idea of ‘community’. Through the study of language, the chapter shows the loop holes in these developments, and suggests a comprehensive conception of ubuntu, that is based on virtue theory (moral and intellectual virtues, community-oriented and individual-oriented virtues).


Ubuntu Communitarianism Ordinary language approach African philosophy Virtue theory Universal. 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Grivas Muchineripi Kayange
    • 1
  1. 1.Chancellor CollegeUniversity of MalawiZombaMalawi

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