Seminar Series: An African Philosophical Perspective on the Tension between Autonomy and Solidarity

Monday, Oct 12, 2020
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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An African Philosophical Perspective on the Tension between Autonomy and Solidarity by Caesar Atuire, PhD
Passcode:  Atuire

The COVID-19 pandemic, among other things, has brought to a head the subjacent tension between autonomy and solidarity in some schools of thought. Public health responses to the pandemic require healthy persons to make choices not only for their own wellbeing but also for the benefit of more vulnerable members of society. Appeals to solidarity may seem to contrast with personal choices grounded on autonomy. Drawing from African philosophy and some European traditions, Dr. Atuire will tease out a conception of autonomy that is not antithetical to solidarity. He argues that the normative ideal of being human entails the autonomous exercise of solidarity. This view challenges bioethicists towards building a broader framework for empirical ethical evaluation.

Dr. Atuire is a philosopher and bioethicist based at the Department of Philosophy and Classics at the University of Ghana, Legon. He is a Visiting Fellow of All Souls College, University of Oxford (Hillary and Trinity terms 2020). He is also a member of the lead team of the NYU-UG Training Programme in Research Ethics and a founding member of the Ghana Research Ethics Consortium. He is also a member of the Planning Committee of the Global Forum on Bioethics in Research, 2020.

In 2019, Dr. Atuire co-edited the volume Bioethics in Africa: theories and praxis. Atuire’s philosophical research interests and publications are on the African and global sources of normative thinking. He has carried out research on the frameworks informing attitudes towards mental disorder and suicide in Ghana.

In addition to Dr. Atuire’s impressive academic profile, he is the Founder and President of a Non-Governmental Organisation, Amicus Onlus. This NGO delivers healthcare to persons in marginalized rural communities in the coastal areas of Ghana.