Personhood and the Cosmos: Exploring Some Similarities Between Traditional African and Western Conceptions of Personhood

Makotoka Kahaka


The African conceptions of personhood are generally viewed to stand in contrast to the conceptions of personhood that have dominated western philosophy. There is a general consensus that on the whole, the African view holds a communal understanding of personhood where relationships and communal existence defines a person. This is in contrast with the Western view where a personhood is understood in individualistic terms and almost totally outside the group. Notwithstanding this plausible contrast, this article submits that an analysis of the views of some classical and traditional African and Western philosophical views on the nature of relationship between human persons and the rest of nature suggest a favourable comparison of views between the two camps. Thus, both these traditional African and the Western views on personhood and reality put emphasis on the interrelatedness or interconnectedness of human person and everything in nature. This demonstrates that with respect to the specific African and Western traditional views discussed and compared in this work, there is a degree to which some of their conceptions of personhood can be harmonized.

Keywords: Personhood, cosmos, African view, Western view, Contrasting view, similar view

DOI: 10.7176/JPCR/47-04

Publication date: December 31st 2019

Full Text: PDF
Download the IISTE publication guideline!

To list your conference here. Please contact the administrator of this platform.

Paper submission email:

ISSN 2422-8443

Please add our address "" into your email contact list.

This journal follows ISO 9001 management standard and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Copyright ©