A postfoundational ubuntu accepts the unwelcomed (by way of ‘process’ transversality)

Wayne G. Smith
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 38, No 3 | a1556 | DOI: | © 2017 Wayne G. Smith | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 November 2015 | Published: 06 October 2017

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Wayne G. Smith, Department of Systematic Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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This examination of ubuntu is engaged in a conversation with the speculative philosophy of organism (‘process’) to acquire an extended tool by which to engage within its ontology the widest possible range of human interaction. The engagement by ubuntu’s relational doctrine of the speculative philosophical cosmology of A.N. Whitehead placed portions of the latter’s constructs at the service of ubuntu’s transversal capacity to examine and apply the deepest understanding of its own etymology. It has been a challenge to understand occasions of injustice and suffering which have manifested within the same African culture which has given to the world the language and concept of ubuntu. It has been commonplace to isolate the utopian relational ontology implicit in the aphorism from occasions of the worst of human nature. It was the premise of this study that an understanding of an ubuntu which excludes dystopian occasions has done a disservice to the breadth, depth and height of what is to be fully human – including occasions of suffering and anti-social behaviours.


philosophy of organism; ubuntu; 'process' thought; prehensions; speculative cosmology; relational ontology; theodicy; utopia; dystopia; suffering; hermeneutic; transversality; rationality; postfoundationalism; communitarianism; intersubjectivity; ethics


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