Kwame Gyekye’s Critical Dialogue with Kant’s Ethics and its Political Consequences


  • Marita RAINSBOROUGH Leuphana University of Lüneburg



Gyekye, Kant, moderate communitarianism, autonomy, free will, ‘meta-national’ society, globalization, cultural borrowing


In his philosophical exploration of Kants philosophy Gyekye focuses on his ethics. His theory of a moderate communitarianism, which recognizes the importance of individual rights, is based on Kant. In his concept of the person, Gyekye, in Kant’s tradition, presumes the individual’s moral autonomy, freedom, free will and the ability to choose without underestimating the importance of community for the development of personality. Kant’s theorems of human autonomy, freedom and dignity constitute his concept of natural law and thus human rights, to which Gyekye refers in his reasoning. Gyekye introduces Kant’s theorem of the autonomous subject into the philosophical debate on communitarianism. According to Gyekye, individual rights ought to be exercised based on responsibility for the community. Gyekye associates the primacy of society over individual law with the danger of tyranny in the political sphere. Through visions, ideas, ideals, and practices that exceed established communal frameworks, individuals make a decisive contribution to social changes and innovations. This allows for societal advancements at the different levels of communal life. The autonomous character of the individual is also basis for Gyekye’s political concept of a ‘meta-national’69 society and ‘nation-building’.70 Gyekye regards the individual as the essential political point of reference, not socalled ‘ethnicities’, which he characterizes as fictional entities. Gyekye aims to solve problems of multi-ethnic states, which cause internal and interstate tensions and conflicts both in the still relatively young states of Africa and in other parts of the world due to the increase in migration between cultures. It turns out that Kant’s theorems play an important role in the philosophy of Gyekye as a form of cultural borrowing in an intercultural dialogue that places Kant’s ideas in an African communitarian framework and transforms them decisively in a process of appropriation, offering a moral and political vision not only for Africa but for the world.

Biografia do Autor

  • Marita RAINSBOROUGH, Leuphana University of Lüneburg

    PhD from the University of Hamburg and teaches at the Institute of Philosophy and Sciences of Art, Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Germany. Since 2018, she has been an associate member of the Center of Philosophy University of Lisbon (CFUL). Her research focuses on French philosophy, contemporary legacy of classical German philosophy, intercultural philosophy, and African philosophy and literatures. In her doctoral dissertation she developed the concept of subject-oriented discourse analysis, based on the work of Foucault, Butler and others. Her habilitation is published under the title Foucault heute. Neue Perspektiven in Philosophie und Kulturwissenschaft, Bielefeld: transcript, 2018. One of her articles is “Experiências do estranho na arte. Do exotismo e orientalismo à crioulização e hibridização na arte contemporânea” in: Silva, Fernando M. F.; Marques, Ubirajara Rancan de Azevedo (eds.): arte & filosofia. Lisboa: Centro de Filosofia da Universidade de Lisboa, 2019, pp. 191-211.






Artigos / Articles

Como Citar

Kwame Gyekye’s Critical Dialogue with Kant’s Ethics and its Political Consequences. (2022). Estudos Kantianos [EK], 9(2), 53-68.