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Tangwa, Godfrey B.. Bioethics: An African perspective
1996,
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Clotilde Torregrossa

Abstract: In this paper I have attempted to open a window on an African approach to Bioethics – that of the Nso’ of the Bamenda Highlands of Kamerun – from the vantage position of someone who has familiarity with both African and Western cultures. Because of its scientific-cum-technological sophistication and its proselytising character, Western culture, as well as Western systems of thought and practice, have greatly affected and influenced other cultures, particularly African culture. But Western culture, systems of thought and practice, have been highly impervious and immune to influences from other cultures, philosophies, systems of thought and practice, even where these might have been salutary and enriching to Western culture and systems. What I have here termed Nso’ eco-bio-cummunitarianism clearly indicates a viable alternative world-view within which some of the bioethical perplexities and controversies of today might be more satisfactorily resolved than within a Western framework. I have further attempted to show, by way of example, how within such a world-view, abortion and suicide, for instance, would be disapproved of while euthanasia, in its etymological purity, is approved of

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Tangwa, Godfrey B.. Elements of African Bioethics in a Western Frame
2010, Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Jonathan Wolff

Abstract: For millennia, Africans have lived on the African continent, in close contact with the diversities of nature: floral, faunal and human; and in so doing they have developed cultures, values, attitudes and perspectives to the problems, ethical and otherwise, that have arisen from the existential pressures of their situation. The problem, however, is that such values and perspectives do not necessarily form coherent ethical theories. Theory-making is a second order activity requiring a certain amount of leisure and comfort which the existential conditions of life on the African continent have not easily permitted in the retrospect-able past. The elements of African bioethics are to be found in its cultural values, traditions, customs and practices. These are research-able, highlight-able and usable by those who would. The bioethical problems of our current global existential situation are such that all possible solutions, no matter their provenance, ought to be tried. Western culture has far too loud a voice combined with deaf ears in contemporary ethical discourse. But it should never be forgotten that other cultures have their own word to say and that alternative values, ways of thinking and practices exist, and attempt should always be made to bring these out and to highlight them, if they could possibly contribute to the satisfactory solution of a global problem. This book brings together various papers on bioethical issues and problems, written at different times, some previously published, each of which attempts to bring out some African elements, perspective or concern. The African narrative style predominates through these essays but their framing conforms, more or less, to the Western paradigm for presenting academic issues.

Comment: Could be used in 'global bioethics' classes.

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