•  31
    Survivor's Guilt
    In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics, Wiley. pp. 1-8. 2018.
    This essay first analyzes the concept of survivor’s guilt, distinguishing various manifestations of it and considering whether any truly count as a form of guilt. Then, it addresses arguments for thinking that survivor’s guilt is unreasonable to exhibit, after which it takes up arguments for thinking that it is reasonable. The aim is not to come to some firm conclusion about these conceptual and evaluative matters, but instead to acquaint the reader with the debates about them among contemporary…Read more
  •  25
    An Overview of African Ethics
    In Isaac Ukpokolo (ed.), Themes, Issues and Problems in African Philosophy, Palgrave-macmillan. pp. 61-75. 2017.
    A reprint of 'African Ethics' from the _International Encyclopedia of Ethics_ (2015), but expanded to include discussion of more topics, texts and authors.
  •  50
    An african theory of bioethics: Reply to Macpherson and Macklin
    Developing World Bioethics 10 (3): 158-163. 2010.
    In a prior issue of Developing World Bioethics, Cheryl Macpherson and Ruth Macklin critically engaged with an article of mine, where I articulated a moral theory grounded on indigenous values salient in the sub-Saharan region, and then applied it to four major issues in bioethics, comparing and contrasting its implications with those of the dominant Western moral theories, utilitarianism and Kantianism. In response to my essay, Macpherson and Macklin have posed questions about: whether philosoph…Read more
  •  14
    Good Governance: How Can Politics Promote Wellbeing?
    Drak Journal: A Journal of Thought and Ideas 1 (2): 90-99. 2015.
    A shortened and mildly revised reprint of a chapter initially composed as part of International Expert Working Group's report on Bhutan's project of Gross National Happiness, but published in full in Happiness: Transforming the Development Landscape (2017).
  •  278
    Given the myriad ways in which managerialism in higher education, and especially research undertaken there, is undesirable, is there a moral theory that plausibly explains why they all are and prescribes some realistic alternatives? In this contribution, I answer ‘yes’ to this overarching question. Specifically, I argue that the various respects in which managerialism is unjustified, particularly with regard to knowledge production, are well captured by an ethical philosophy grounded on salient …Read more
  •  42
    Respect for persons permits prioritizing treatment for hivaids
    Developing World Bioethics 8 (2): 89-103. 2008.
    I defend a certain claim about rationing in the context of HIV/AIDS, namely, the 'priority thesis' that the state of a developing country with a high rate of HIV should provide highly active anti-retroviral treatment (HAART) to those who would die without it, even if doing so would require not treating most other life-threatening diseases. More specifically, I defend the priority thesis in a negative way, by refuting two influential and important arguments against it inspired by the Kantian prin…Read more
  •  55
    Part of Robert Kane’s response to the contemporary cultural condition of pluralism is to attempt to ground morality in the _search_ for wisdom about how to live. With regard to the right, Kane argues, roughly, that a new principle capturing what all morally permissible actions have in common warrants belief on the part of all inquirers, even in the face of reasonable uncertainty, because it is justified as an essential means to ascertaining wisdom. Upon embarking for wisdom, one quickly discover…Read more
  •  168
    An African Theory of Moral Status: A Relational Alternative to Individualism and Holism
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (3): 387-402. 2012.
    The dominant conceptions of moral status in the English-speaking literature are either holist or individualist, neither of which accounts well for widespread judgments that: animals and humans both have moral status that is of the same kind but different in degree; even a severely mentally incapacitated human being has a greater moral status than an animal with identical internal properties; and a newborn infant has a greater moral status than a mid-to-late stage foetus. Holists accord no moral …Read more
  •  21
    Expanded version of article appearing in Philosophy East and West (2017).
  •  56
    Taking the good (generosity), the true (enquiry), and the beautiful (creativity) as exemplars of what can make a life noticeably meaningful, elsewhere I have advanced a principle that entails and plausibly explains all three. Specifically, I have proffered the view that great meaning in life, at least insofar as it comes from this triad, is a matter of positively orienting one’s rational nature towards fundamental conditions of human existence, conditions of human life responsible for much else …Read more
  •  26
    Portuguese translation by Desiderio Murcho of "Could God's Purpose Be the Source of Life's Meaning?" (Religious Studies 2000).
  •  45
    Review of Ethics & AIDS in Africa (review)
    South African Journal of Philosophy 25 (4): 369-71. 2006.
  •  944
    Ubuntu as a Moral Theory and Human Rights in South Africa
    African Human Rights Law Journal 11 (2): 532-559. 2011.
    There are three major reasons that ideas associated with ubuntu are often deemed to be an inappropriate basis for a public morality. One is that they are too vague, a second is that they fail to acknowledge the value of individual freedom, and a third is that they a fit traditional, small-scale culture more than a modern, industrial society. In this article, I provide a philosophical interpretation of ubuntu that is not vulnerable to these three objections. Specifically, I construct a moral theo…Read more
  •  51
    Reasons of Meaning to Abhor the End of the Human Race
    Faith and Philosophy 33 (3): 358-369. 2016.
    In this critical notice of Samuel Scheffler’s Death and the Afterlife, I focus on his intriguing suggestion that we reasonably care more about the fate of an unidentifiable, future humanity than of ourselves and our loved ones. Scheffler’s main rationale for this claim is that meaning in our lives crucially depends on contributing to the well-being of the human race down the road, with many commentators instead arguing that advancing the good of ourselves or existing loved ones would be sufficie…Read more
  •  91
    In this critical notice of Guy Bennett-Hunter’s book _Ineffability and Religious Experience_, I focus on claims he makes about what makes a life meaningful. According to Bennett-Hunter, for human life to be meaningful it must obtain its meaning from what is beyond the human and is ineffable, which constitutes an ultimate kind of meaning. I spell out Bennett-Hunter’s rationale for making this claim, raise some objections to it, and in their wake articulate an alternative conception of ultimate me…Read more
  •  32
    The default position in Western ethics is that survivor’s guilt is either irrational or not rational, i.e., that while survivor’s guilt might be understandable, it is not justified in the sense of there being good reason for a person to exhibit it. From a widely held perspective, for example, one ought to feel guilty only for having done wrong, and in a culpable way, which, by hypothesis, a mere survivor has not done. Typical is the following: ‘Strictly speaking, survivor guilt is not rational g…Read more
  •  53
    The Nature of Poverty as an Inhuman Condition
    Res Publica 22 (3): 327-342. 2016.
    In this article, part of a symposium devoted to Hennie Lötter’s Poverty, Ethics and Justice, my aims are threefold. First, I present a careful reading of Lötter’s original and compelling central conception of the nature of poverty as the inability to ‘obtain adequate economic resources….to maintain physical health and engage in social activities distinctive of human beings in their respective societies’. After motivating this view, particularly in comparison to other salient accounts of poverty,…Read more
  •  67
    The Meaningful and the Worthwhile: Clarifying the Relationships
    Philosophical Forum 43 (4): 435-448. 2012.
    The question I seek to answer is what the relationship is between judgments of people’s lives as meaningful, on the one hand, and as worth living, on the other. Several in the analytic and Continental literature, including the likes of Albert Camus and Ludwig Wittgenstein, and more recently, Robert Solomon and Julian Baggini, have maintained that the two words mean the same thing, in that they have the same referents or even the same sense. My primary aim is to refute such a position, and instea…Read more
  •  26
    In this work of normative political philosophy, I consider the ethical status of the South African government's responses to the Marikana massacre, where police shot and killed more than 30 striking miners, in light of a moral principle grounded on values associated with ubuntu. I argue that there are several respects in which the government's reactions have been unethical from an ubuntu-oriented perspective, and also make positive suggestions about what it instead should have been doing. Much o…Read more
  •  14
    An updated version of this 4000 word overview of the meta-, normative and applied ethical dimensions of contemporary sub-Saharan moral philosophy.
  •  35
    How the West Was One: The Western as Individualist, the African as Communitarian
    Educational Philosophy and Theory 47 (11): 1175-1184. 2015.
    There is a kernel of truth in the claim that Western, and especially Anglo-American-Australasian, normative philosophy, including that relating to the philosophy of education, is individualistic; it tends to prize properties that are internal to a human being such as her autonomy, rationality, pleasure, desires, self-esteem, self-realization and virtues relating to, say, her intellect. One notable exception is the idea that students ought to be educated in order to be citizens, participants in a…Read more
  •  252
    Meaning as a Distinct and Fundamental Value: Reply to Kershnar
    Science, Religion and Culture 1 (2): 101-106. 2014.
    In this article, I reply to a critical notice of my book, Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study, that Stephen Kershnar has published elsewhere in this issue of Science, Religion & Culture. Beyond expounding the central conclusions of the book, Kershnar advances two major criticisms of it, namely, first, that I did not provide enough evidence that meaning in life is a genuine value-theoretic category as something distinct from and competing with, say, objective well-being, and, second, that, even if…Read more
  •  367
    The Ethics of Routine HIV Testing: A Respect-Based Analysis
    South African Journal on Human Rights 21 (3): 370-405. 2005.
    Routine testing is a practice whereby medical professionals ask all patients whether they would like an HIV test, regardless of whether there is anything unique to a given patient that suggests the presence of HIV. In three respects I aim to offer a fresh perspective on the debate about whether a developing country with a high rate of HIV infection morally ought to adopt routine testing. First, I present a neat framework that organises the moral issues at stake, bringing out the basic principles…Read more
  •  6
    Reprint of an article that initially appeared in the American Philosophical Quarterly (2001).
  •  214
    A lengthy reply to 13 critical discussions of _Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study_ collected in an e-book and reprinted from the _Journal of Philosophy of Life_. The contributors are from a variety of philosophical traditions, including the Anglo-American, Continental and East Asian (especially Buddhist and Japanese) ones.
  •  140
    De zachte plek (The Sweet Spot)
    In Leo Bormans (ed.), Geluk 2.0; The World Book of Happiness, Lannoo Publishing. pp. 335-338. 2016.
    An 850 word statement, translated into Dutch and composed for a lay audience, of respects in which happiness and meaningfulness can come apart, but highlighting the aim of engaging in projects in which they are co-present.
  •  440
    In this essay I recount how I have been hoping to see more ubuntu in South Africa’s institutions than had been present in the two dominant socio-politico-economic models across the world in the 20th century. I haven’t been expecting utopia from the past 20 years of democracy; I’ve just wanted something new to come out of Africa. I here relate my experience of learning that it is not always forthcoming, at least not as quickly as I would have liked. However, I conclude by indicating that the prom…Read more
  •  58
    A reply to five critical discussions of _Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study_ (2013).
  •  1
    Recent Work in African Ethics (repr.)
    In Sharlene Swartz & Monica Taylor (eds.), Moral Education in Sub-Saharan Africa, Routledge. pp. 115-126. 2011.
    Reprint of an article that initially appeared in the Journal of Moral Education (2010).
  •  317
    Auf dem Weg zu einer afrikanischen Moraltheorie
    In Franziska Dübgen & Stefan Skupien (eds.), Afrikanische politische Philosophie - Postkoloniale Positionen, Suhrkamp. pp. 295-329. 2015.
    German translation by Andreas Rauhut of a mildly revised version of 'Toward an African Moral Theory' (Journal of Political Philosophy 2007).