•  111
    Meaning (Atheism)
    In Graham Oppy & Joseph W. Koterski (eds.), Theism and Atheism: Opposing Arguments in Philosophy, 1st Edition, Gale. pp. 507-521. 2019.
    A critical exploration of the position that God is necessary for meaning in life for mainly undergraduate and postgraduate readers, with some defence of the view that He is not.
  • Reprint of an article that appeared in Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics (2017).
  •  6
    Much of the debate about post-secularism has presumed a background of Western countries and the sort of statutory law that legislatures should make, and how they should make it, in the light of residents’ religious attitudes and practices. In this chapter I address a fresh context, namely, that of South Africa and the way that courts have interpreted, and should interpret, law in the face of African traditional religions. Specifically, I explicate the fact that, by South Africa's famously progre…Read more
  •  27
    In my view, postmodernism, as a cluster of bold epistemological claims, foundered on the rocks of contemporary science. Many postmodern positions about knowledge have conflicted with views of science that are extraordinarily difficult to doubt, which in this short article (composed to honour Educational Philosophy and Theory's 50th anniversary), I point out and argue holds a lesson about how to undertake the philosophy of education.
  •  407
    There has been the recurrent suspicion that community, harmony, cohesion, and similar relational goods as understood in the African ethical tradition threaten to occlude difference. Often, it has been Western defenders of liberty who have raised the concern that these characteristically sub-Saharan values fail to account adequately for individuality, although some contemporary African thinkers have expressed the same concern. In this chapter, I provide a certain understanding of the sub-Saharan …Read more
  •  7
    Many values originating in Africa and in China, and ones that continue to influence much of everyday communication in those societies, are aptly placed under the common heading of 'harmony'. After first spelling out what harmony involves in substantially Confucian China, and then in Africa, this article notes respects in which the Confucian and African conceptions of harmony are similar, an awareness of which could facilitate smooth communication. The article then indicates respects in which the…Read more
  •  171
    The dominant view amongst contemporary Western philosophers about the essence of a natu­ ral object is that it is constituted by its intrinsic properties. The ontological approach salient in the African philosophical tradition, in contrast, accounts for a thing’s essence by appeal to its relational properties. The Afro­relational ontology is under­developed, with the primary aim of this article being to help rectify that weakness. Specifically, this article’s aims are: to articulate an African a…Read more
  •  54
    Humility and the African Ethic of Ubuntu
    In Mark Alfano, Michael Lynch & Alessandra Tanesini (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Humility, Routledge. pp. 257-267. 2020.
    This chapter explores prominent respects in which humility figures into ubuntu, the southern African (and specifically Nguni) term for humanness often used to capture moral philosophies and cultures indigenous to the sub-Saharan region. The chapter considers respects in which humility is prescribed by ubuntu, understood not just as a relational normative ethic, but also as a moral epistemology. Focusing specifically on philosophical ideas published in academic fora over the past 50 years or so, …Read more
  •  179
    In this article, I seek to answer the following cluster of questions: What would a characteristically African, and specifically relational, conception of a criminal trial’s final end look like? What would the Afro-relational approach prescribe for sentencing? Would its implications for this matter forcefully rival the kinds of penalties that judges in South Africa and similar jurisdictions typically mete out? After pointing out how the southern African ethic of ubuntu is well understood as a rel…Read more
  •  25
    Advancing the Philosophy of Medicine: Towards New Topics and Sources
    Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 43 (3): 281-288. 2018.
    The first part of a symposium devoted to Alex Broadbent's essay titled ‘Prediction, Understanding and Medicine’, this article notes the under-development of a variety of issues in the philosophy of medicine that transcend bioethics and the long-standing debates about the nature of health/illness and of evidence-based medicine. It also indicates the importance of drawing on non-Western, and particularly African, traditions in addressing these largely metaphysical and epistemological matters.
  •  16
    Medicine without Cure?: A Cluster Analysis of the Nature of Medicine
    Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 43 (3): 306-312. 2018.
    Part of a symposium devoted to ‘Prediction, Understanding, and Medicine’, in which Alex Broadbent argues that the nature of medicine is determined by its competences, i.e., which things it can do well. He argues that, although medicine cannot cure well, it can do a good job of enabling people not only to understand states of the human organism and of what has caused them, but also to predict future states of it. From this Broadbent concludes that medicine is (at least in part) essentially a prac…Read more
  •  812
    Community Vitality
    with Ilona Boniwell and Rowan Conway
    In Centre for Bhutan Studies (ed.), Happiness: Transforming the Development Landscape, Centre For Bhutan Studies and Gnh. pp. 347-378. 2017.
    An analysis of the value of community vitality as it figures into the Royal Government of Bhutan's policy of Gross National Happiness.
  •  1309
    Good Governance
    with Johannes Hirata, Ritu Verma, and Eric Zencey
    In Centre for Bhutan Studies (ed.), Happiness: Transforming the Development Landscape, Centre For Bhutan Studies and Gnh. pp. 329-346. 2017.
    An analysis of the nature of good governance as it figures into the Royal Government of Bhutan's policy of Gross National Happiness.
  •  435
    Definitions of Terms
    with Alejandro Adler, Ilona Boniwell, Evelyn Gibson, Martin Seligman, Yukiko Uchida, and Zhanjun Xing
    In Centre for Bhutan Studies (ed.), Happiness: Transforming the Development Landscape, Centre For Bhutan Studies and Gnh. pp. 21-38. 2017.
    Definitions of terms that are central to a theoretical understanding of the Royal Government of Bhutan's policy of Gross National Happiness.
  •  17
    A collection of several articles on African moral and political philosophy by Thaddeus Metz, translated into French by Emmanuel Fopa, and edited and introduced by Pius Mosima of the University of Bamenda, Cameroon.
  •  122
    Why Objective Truth Is the Ally of Social and Epistemic Justice: Reply to Jenco
    Journal of World Philosophies 2 (2): 130-134. 2017.
    In “Are Certain Knowledge Frameworks More Congenial to the Aims of Cross-Cultural Philosophy? A Qualified Yes,” Leigh Jenco responds to an article in which I had argued for a similar conclusion. I had contended roughly that the positing of objective truth combined with a fallibilist epistemology best explains why a philosopher from one culture could learn something substantial from another culture. In her response, Jenco contends that this knowledge framework does not account adequately for the …Read more
  •  134
    I consider the implications of two globally influential love-centred value systems for how to respond to painful memories that are a consequence of large-scale social conflict. More specifically, I articulate a moral-philosophical interpretation of the sub-Saharan worldview of ubuntu, and consider what it entails for responding to such trauma. According to this ethic, one should strive to become a real person, which one can do insofar as one honours those capable of communal (or broadly loving) …Read more
  •  28
    Ends and Means of Transitional Justice
    Journal of Global Ethics 14 (2): 158-169. 2018.
    With her new book, The Conceptual Foundations of Transitional Justice, Colleen Murphy has advanced novel, comprehensive and sophisticated philosophical accounts of both what severely conflict-ridden societies should be aiming for and how they should pursue it. Ultimately grounded on a prizing of rational agency, Murphy maintains that these societies, roughly, ought to strive for a stable and legitimate democratic polity committed to not repeating gross historical injustice and do so in ways that…Read more
  •  23
    Reprint of an article that initially appeared in _Ethical Theory and Moral Practice_ (2012)
  •  83
    The point of psychotherapy has occasionally been associated with talk of ‘life’s meaning’. However, the literature on meaning in life written by contemporary philosophers has yet to be systematically applied to literature on the point of psychotherapy. My broad aim in this chapter is to indicate some plausible ways to merge these two tracks of material that have run in parallel up to now. More specifically, my hunch is that the connection between meaning as philosophers understand it and therapy…Read more
  •  247
    Replacing Development: An Afro-communal Approach to Global Justice
    Philosophical Papers 46 (1): 111-137. 2017.
    In this article, I consider whether there are values intrinsic to development theory and practice that are dubious in light of a characteristically African ethic. In particular, I focus on what a certain philosophical interpretation of the sub-Saharan value of communion entails for appraising development, drawing two major conclusions. One is that a majority of the criticisms that have been made of development by those sympathetic to African values are weak; I argue that, given the value of comm…Read more
  •  41
    Animal Rights and the Interpretation of the South African Constitution
    Southern African Public Law 25 (2): 301-311. 2010.
    I argue that, even supposing substantive principles of distributive justice entail that animals warrant constitutional protection, there are other, potentially weightier forms of injustice that would probably be done by interpreting a Bill of Rights as implicitly applying to animals, namely, formal injustice and compensatory injustice. Formal injustice would result from such a reading of the Constitution in that the state would fail to speak with one voice upon newly according legal rights to an…Read more
  •  39
    The Reasonable and the Moral
    Social Theory and Practice 28 (2): 277-301. 2002.
  •  163
    Could God's purpose be the source of life's meaning?
    Religious Studies 36 (3): 293-313. 2000.
    In this paper, I explore the traditional religious account of what can make a life meaningful, namely, the view that one's life acquires significance insofar as one fulfils a purpose God has assigned. Call this view ‘purpose theory’. In the literature, there are objections purporting to show that purpose theory entails the logical absurdities that God is not moral, omnipotent, or eternal. I show that there are versions of purpose theory which are not vulnerable to these reductio arguments. Howev…Read more
  •  64
    Human Rights, African Perspectives
    In Deen Chatterjee (ed.), Encyclopedia of Global Justice, Springer. pp. 501-05. 2012.
    At least the three major academic debates one encounters about human rights in an African context are usefully framed in terms how they relate to community in various ways. Specifically, this entry first discusses disputes among moral anthropologists and political scientists about the extent to which human rights were present in pre-colonial, communal sub-Saharan societies; then it takes up ways in which group-based claims have significantly influenced human rights discourse and observance in po…Read more
  •  46
    Life, Meaning of
    In Henk ten Have (ed.), Encyclopedia of Global Bioethics, Springer. pp. 1-6. 2015.
    This entry begins by indicating respects in which the concept of life’s meaning has only recently become salient in English-speaking bioethical discussions and by clarifying what talk of ‘life’s meaning’ and cognate phrases mean, at least to most of the philosophers and bioethicists who have used them. This essay then addresses six major respects in which thought about what makes a life meaningful has influenced bioethics. The first four issues concern life and death matters for human beings, an…Read more
  •  21
    Toward an African Moral Theory (revised edition)
    In Isaac Ukpokolo (ed.), Themes, Issues and Problems in African Philosophy, Palgrave-macmillan. pp. 97-119. 2017.
    A mildly revised version of an article first published in the Journal of Political Philosophy (2007).
  •  4494
    Contemporary Anti-Natalism, Featuring Benatar's Better Never to Have Been
    South African Journal of Philosophy 31 (1): 1-9. 2012.
    A critical overview of the latest discussion of anti-natalism, with particular reference to David Benatar's work and three additional rationales for anti-natalism that differ from Benatar's.
  •  68
    The final ends of higher education in light of an african moral theory
    Journal of Philosophy of Education 43 (2): 179-201. 2009.
    From the perspective of an African ethic, analytically interpreted as a philosophical principle of right action, what are the proper final ends of a publicly funded university and how should they be ranked? To answer this question, I first provide a brief but inclusive review of the literature on Africanising higher education from the past 50 years, and contend that the prominent final ends suggested in it can be reduced to five major categories. Then, I spell out an intuitively attractive Afric…Read more