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Ghana Post Digital Address: GA-018-1233

Ephraim Amu Memorial Lecture 2023 –The Ethics of Nation-Building: Perspectives from The Legon Tradition of Philosophy

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Speaker – Prof. Martin Odei Ajei

Prof. Martin Odei Ajei is an Associate Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy and Classics at the University of Ghana. He obtained a DLitt et Phil in philosophy from the University of South Africa, an MPhil from University of Ghana, and a BA (Hons) from the University of Stockholm, Sweden. His research interests include African philosophy, applied ethics, political philosophy, and philosophies of liberation. He is the author of more than thirty peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and of two books: The Paranormal: An Inquiry into Akan Metaphysics and Epistemology and Africa’s Development: The Imperatives on Indigenous Knowledge and Values. He is also the editor of an anthology of philosophical commentary on Kwame Nkrumah’s philosophy: Disentangling Consciencism: Essays on Kwame Nkrumah’s Philosophy. He has held several fellowships, the latest of which was fellow of the German Reference Center for Ethics in the Life Sciences, University of Bonn. He is currently working on his third book: Empathetic Humanism: A Legon Tradition of African Philosophy.

Prof. Ajei is a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Synopsis of Lecture

Nation-building is an effort by a State – a political and legal entity in international law – to attune its citizens to its pursuit of the ideals of nationhood. Nation-building, thus, signifies both a political and moral need. Political because of the aspiration to forge a political unit whose citizens think, act and live in unified pursuit of demarcated ideals – in the case of Ghana – of the ideals of freedom and justice. And moral because the ideals such as freedom and justice are moral, in as much as they seek to ensure the harmonious coexistence of Ghanaians; as well as their survival, interests and welfare. For these reasons, politics furthers the ends of ethics, and so the former ought to be guided by the latter. Thus, the nation-state of Ghana, as a political entity in pursuit of the ideal of nationhood, ought to assume a moral duty to work unceasingly toward achieving the common good of Ghanaians. This lecture enunciates and defends the thesis that philosophers who have been affiliated with the University of Ghana have produced a body of thought and a systematic approach to philosophy that merits the status of a tradition of philosophy; and that this tradition is exemplified by distinctive moral philosophical perspectives that are germane to the task of nation building in Ghana.

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