CFA: Workshop: African Conceptions of the Meaning of Life

June 6, 2019 - June 7, 2019
Department of Philosophy, University of Johannesburg

Cnr Kingsway & University Rd. 2001 Rossmore
South Africa



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CFA: Workshop: African Conceptions of the Meaning of Life

The question of life’s meaning continues to intrigue and fascinate philosophers the world over. Indeed, Albert Camus in his book Myth of Sisyphus stated that the question which trumps all other philosophical questions as the most fundamental is the question of life’s meaning. Many philosophers, especially those of the Western tradition, have sought to answer this question in various ways, but, curiously, not much has explicitly been said about this topical issue in African philosophy. The question of life’s meaning affects every individual in any tradition, and it would be interesting to examine this question and its implications from an African philosophical perspective and in conversation with other traditions.

Addressing the issues outlined above would involve answering questions related (but not necessarily specific) to: What are the African conceptions of the meaning in/of life? Which one(s), if any, is defensible? Does or should death play a role in an African perception of meaningfulness and/or meaninglessness? Is life meaningless if there are no ‘living-dead’, and what would that entail for how to live? Might a meaninglessness existence justify a suicidal or anti-natalist disposition, despite resistance by the tenets of most African moral theories?  What might African approaches to meaning have to teach those in, say, the East Asian or Western traditions, and vice versa?

Mr Aribiah Attoe, as part of the University of Johannesburg’s Department of Philosophy, will be convening a one or two-day workshop devoted to these and other related questions as follows:

Date: 6-7 June, 2019

Venue: University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park Campus, Johannesburg, South Africa

If you are interested in participating, please send an extended  300 – 750 word abstract along with your basic information and affiliations to by December 13, 2018. Selected proceedings from this workshop will be submitted for publication as a special issue of a Journal in either ethics or African philosophy.

Some funding might be available for some of the speakers selected for the workshop. Preference for funding will be given to those from developing countries. Please indicate whether you would require funding and, if so, for what, as part of your submission.

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