•  3
    Karl Popper is famous for favoring an open society, one in which the individual is treated as an end in himself and social arrangements are subjected to critical evaluation, which he defends largely by appeal to a Kantian ethic of respecting the dignity of rational beings. In this essay, I consider for the first time what the implications of a characteristically African ethic, instead prescribing respect for our capacity to relate communally, are for how the state should operate in an open socie…Read more
  •  8
    In this article I critically discuss English-speaking philosophical literature addressing the question of what it essentially means to speak of 'life’s meaning'. Instead of considering what might in fact confer meaning on life, I make two claims about the more abstract, meta-ethical question of how to understand what by definition is involved in making that sort enquiry. One of my claims is that over the past five years there has been a noticeable trend among philosophers to try to change our un…Read more
  •  584
    The Meaning of Life (Textbook)
    In Duncan Pritchard (ed.), What Is This Thing Called Philosophy?, Routledge. pp. 319-358. 2015.
    A three chapter part of a textbook for undergraduate philosophy majors.
  •  250
    Symposium: Are Certain Knowledge Frameworks More Congenial to the Aims of Cross-Cultural Philosophy?
    with Leigh Jenco, Steve Fuller, David H. Kim, and Miljana Milojevic
    Journal of World Philosophies 2 (2): 99-107. 2017.
    In “Global Knowledge Frameworks and the Tasks of Cross-Cultural Philosophy,” Leigh Jenco searches for the conception of knowledge that best justifies the judgment that one can learn from non-local traditions of philosophy. Jenco considers four conceptions of knowledge, namely, in catchwords, the esoteric, Enlightenment, hermeneutic, and self- transformative conceptions of knowledge, and she defends the latter as more plausible than the former three. In this critical discussion of Jenco’s article…Read more
  •  82
    Recent work by comparative philosophers, global ethicists, and cross-cultural value theorists indicates that, unlike most Western thinkers, those in many other parts of the globe, such as indigenous Africa, East Asia, and Latin America, tend to prize relationality. These relational values include enjoying a sense of togetherness, participating cooperatively, creating something new together, engaging in mutual aid, and being compassionate. Global economic practices and internationally influential…Read more
  • A debate between Thaddeus Metz and Joshua Seachris on what makes life meaningful, with emphasis on the potential relevance of God, immortality, narrative and achievements.
  •  14
    Addiction in the Light of African Values: Undermining Vitality and Community (repr.)
    In Yamikani Ndasauka & Grivas Kayange (eds.), Addiction in South and East Africa, Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 9-31. 2019.
    Reprint of an article that first appeared in Monash Bioethics Review (2018).
  •  89
    Pursuing Knowledge for Its Own Sake amidst a World of Poverty: Reconsidering Balogun on Philosophy’s Relevance
    Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 8 (2): 1-18. 2019.
    In this article I critically discuss Professor Oladele Abiodun Balogun’s reflections on the proper final ends of doing philosophy and related sorts of abstract, speculative, or theoretical inquiry. Professor Balogun appears to argue that one should undertake philosophical studies only insofar as they are likely to make a practical difference to people’s lives, particularly by contributing to politico-economic development, or, in other words, that one should eschew seeking knowledge for its own s…Read more
  • The Concept of Life's Meaning
    In Iddo Landau (ed.), Oxford Handbook on Meaning in Life, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    I critically discuss views about what it is that professional English-speaking philosophers characteristically mean when speaking of ‘life’s meaning’ or what they normally have in mind when reflecting on the topic. I first demonstrate that there has been a standard view of how to analyse the concept of life’s meaning according to which talk of ‘life’s meaning’ is about: human persons, and centrally their intentional actions, which exhibit a high desirability or choice-worthiness that is characte…Read more
  •  30
    In this article I address the question of what makes addiction morally problematic, and seek to answer it by drawing on values salient in the sub-Saharan African philosophical tradition. Specifically, I appeal to life-force and communal relationship, each of which African philosophers have at times advanced as a foundational value, and spell out how addiction, or at least salient instances of it, could be viewed as unethical for flouting them. I do not seek to defend either vitality or community…Read more
  •  13
    Replacing Development: An Afro-communal Approach to Global Justice (repr.)
    In Bolaji Bateye, Mahmoud Masaeli, Louise Muller & Angela Roothaan (eds.), Beauty in African Thought: Critique of the Western Idea of Development, Rowman & Littlefield. forthcoming.
    Shortened version of an article that first appeared in Philosophical Papers (2017).
  •  15
    An African Theory of Just Causes for War
    In Luis Rodrigues-Cordeiro & Danny Singh (eds.), Comparative Just War Theory, Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 131-155. 2020.
    In this chapter, I add to the new body of philosophical literature that addresses African approaches to just war by reflecting on some topics that have yet to be considered and by advancing different perspectives. My approach is two-fold. First, I spell out a foundational African ethic, according to which one must treat people’s capacity to relate communally with respect. Second, I derive principles from it to govern the use of force and violence, and compare and contrast their implications for …Read more
  •  7
    An African Theory of Good Leadership (repr.)
    In Josef Wieland & Julika Baumann Montecinos (eds.), Sub-Saharan Perspectives on Transcultural Leadership, Metropolis. pp. 41-63. 2018.
    Reprint of an article from the African Journal of Business Ethics (2018).
  •  14
    A Theory of National Reconciliation: Some Insights from Africa (repr.)
    In Aleksandar Fatic, Klaus Bachmann & Igor Lyubashenko (eds.), Transitional Justice in Troubled Societies, Rowman & Littlefield International. pp. 213-235. 2018.
    Reprint of mildly revised version of a chapter that initially appeared in _Theorizing Transitional Justice_ (2015).
  •  165
    An African Theory of Good Leadership
    African Journal of Business Ethics 12 (2): 36-53. 2018.
    This article draws on the indigenous African tradition of philosophy to ground a moral-philosophical theory of leadership that is intended to rival accounts in the East Asian and Western traditions. After providing an interpretation of the characteristically sub-Saharan value of communion, the article advances a philosophical account of a good leader as one who creates, sustains, and enriches communal relationships and enables others to do so. The article then applies this account to a variety o…Read more
  • In this chapter the author critically explores answers to the question of how immortality would affect the meaningfulness of a person’s life, understood roughly as a life that merits esteem, achieves purposes much more valuable than pleasure, or makes for a good life-story. The author expounds three arguments for thinking that life would be meaningless if it were mortal, and provides objections to them. He then offers a reason for thinking that a mortal life could be meaningful, and responds to …Read more
  •  636
    Suppose a person lives in a sub-Saharan country that has won its independence from colonial powers in the last 50 years or so. Suppose also that that person has become a high-ranking government official who makes decisions on how to allocate goods, such as civil service jobs and contracts with private firms. Should such a person refrain from considering any particulars about potential recipients or might it be appropriate to consider, for example, family membership, party affiliation, race or re…Read more
  •  1
    Community, Individuality, and Reciprocity in Menkiti
    In Edwin Etieyibo & Polycarp A. Ikuenobe (eds.), Menkiti on Community and Becoming a Person, Rowman and Littlefield. 2020.
    For four decades Ifeanyi Menkiti has addressed the question of which sort of community constitutes personhood from a characteristically African perspective. In this chapter, I critically discuss the conceptions of how one acquires personhood through community that Menkiti has advanced, in search of the one that would most enable him to avoid prominent moral objections made to his views over the years. In particular, his account of personhood has been criticized for insufficiently accommodating i…Read more
  • Adherents to reconciliation, restorative justice, and related approaches to dealing with social conflict are well known for seeking to minimize punishment, in favor of offenders hearing out victims, making an apology, and effecting compensation for wrongful harm as well as victims forgiving offenders and accepting their reintegration into society. In contrast, I maintain that social reconciliation and similar concepts in fact characteristically require punishment but do not require forgiveness. …Read more
  •  20
    I seek to advance enquiry into the point of a public higher education institution by drawing on ideals salient in the sub-Saharan African philosophical tradition. There are relational, and specifically communal, values prominently held by African thinkers that I use to ground a promising rival to the dominant contemporary Western, and especially Anglo-American, accounts of what a university ultimately ought to strive to achieve, which focus mainly on autonomy, truth, and citizenship. My aims are…Read more
  •  25
    The African Ethic of Ubuntu
    1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. 2019.
    Online reprint of part of an encyclopedia entry (from the Encyclopaedia of Quality of Life and Well-being Research 2014).
  • How to Report on War in the Light of an African Ethic
    In Jonathan O. Chimakonam & Edwin Etieyibo (eds.), Contemporary Issues in African Philosophy, Springer. forthcoming.
    While there is a budding literature on media ethics in the light of characteristic sub-Saharan moral values, there is virtually nothing on wartime reporting more specifically. Furthermore, the literature insofar as it has a bearing on wartime reporting suggests that embedded journalism and patriotic journalism are ethically justified during war. In this essay, I sketch a prima facie attractive African moral theory, grounded on a certain interpretation of the value of communal relationship, and b…Read more
  •  29
    Reprint of a mildly revised article that initially appeared in the Journal of Animal Ethics (2017).
  •  5
    Relational African Values between Nations
    In Francis Onditi & Gilad Ben-Nun (eds.), Contemporary Africa and the Foreseeable World Order, Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 133-150. 2019.
    This chapter considers how some international ethical matters might be approached differently in the English-speaking literature if values salient in sub-Saharan Africa were taken seriously. Specifically, after pointing out how indigenous values in this part of the world tend to prescribe relating communally, this chapter articulates a moral-philosophical interpretation of communal relationship and brings out what such an ethic entails for certain aspects of globalization, political power, forei…Read more
  •  89
    Justice as Fairness: A Restatement (review)
    Philosophical Review 111 (4): 618-620. 2002.
    John Rawls’s professed aim in Justice as Fairness: A Restatement is to clarify in a concise way the changes his political philosophy has undergone since A Theory of Justice. In about 200 pages Rawls summarizes his current view that justice as fairness is a reasonable political conception, or, in other words, that liberal-egalitarianism is justified for modern democratic cultures since it follows from a certain notion of fairness implicit in them. The key question that most readers probably want …Read more
  •  382
    African Values and Capital Punishment
    In Gerard Walmsley (ed.), African Philosophy and the Future of Africa, Council For Research in Values and Philosophy. pp. 83-90. 2017.
    What is the strongest argument grounded in African values, i.e., those salient among indigenous peoples below the Sahara desert, for abolishing capital punishment? I defend a particular answer to this question, one that invokes an under-theorized conception of human dignity. Roughly, I maintain that the death penalty is nearly always morally unjustified, and should therefore be abolished, because it degrades people’s special capacity for communal relationships. To defend this claim, I proceed by…Read more
  •  194
    Neutrality, Partiality, and Meaning in Life
    De Ethica 4 (3): 7-25. 2017.
    Discussion of whether values and norms are neutral or not has mainly appeared in works on the nature of prudential rationality and morality. Little systematic has yet appeared in the up and coming field of the meaning of life. What are the respects in which the value of meaningfulness is neutral or, in contrast, partial, relational, or ‘biased’? In this article, I focus strictly on answering this question. First, I aim to identify the salient, and perhaps exhaustive, respects in which issues of …Read more
  • Agwa Oma N’Echiche Ndi Afrikana Nkowa Nke (An Account of African Moral Thought) (edited book)
    with Lawrence Ogbo Ugwuanyi
    Timeless Publishers. 2018.
    A collection of several articles on African ethics by Thaddeus Metz translated into Igbo by M. B. Mbah, and edited by Prof Lawrence Ogbo Ugwuanyi of the University of Abuja, Nigeria.