•  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
  •  147
    A comprehensive account of justice grounded on salient Afro-communitarian values, the article attempts to unify views about the distribution of economic resources, the protection of human rights and the provision of social recognition as ultimately being about proper ways to value loving relationships.
  •  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.
  •  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
  •  244
    This chapter expounds relational values characteristic of indigenous Africa and considers how they might usefully be adopted when contemporary societies interact with each other. Specifically, it notes respects in which genuinely human or communal relationship has been missing in the two contexts of globalization and international relations, and suggests what a greater appreciation of this good by the rest of the world would mean for them.
  •  37
    Gross National Happiness: A Philosophical Appraisal
    Ethics and Social Welfare 8 (3): 218-232. 2014.
    For more than 40 years, the Kingdom of Bhutan has eschewed evaluating its socio-economic status in terms of Gross Domestic Product and has instead done so under the heading of ‘Gross National Happiness’. As part of the upswing in international interest in well-being as the proper final end of development, it would be apt to critically explore the approach that has been in use for several decades. In this article I expound the central elements of Gross National Happiness and discuss their strengt…Read more
  •  62
    How to Reconcile Liberal Politics with Retributive Punishment
    Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 27 (4): 683-705. 2007.
    There is a deep tension between liberalism and retributivism. On the face of it, one cannot coherently believe liberalism about the fundamental purpose of the state and retributivism about the basic end of legal punishment, given widely held and well-motivated or what I call ‘standard’ conceptions of these views. My aims in this article are to differentiate the types of conflict between liberalism and retributivism, to identify the strongest and most problematic type of conflict between th…Read more
  •  47
    English-speaking research on morally right decisions in a healthcare context over the past three decades has been dominated by two major perspectives, namely, the Four Principles, of which the principle of respect for autonomy has been most salient, and the ethic of care, often presented as a rival to not only a focus on autonomy but also a reliance on principles more generally. In my contribution, I present a novel ethic applicable to bioethics, particularly as it concerns human procreation, th…Read more
  •  482
    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
  •  63
    Confucianism and African Philosophy
    In Toyin Falola & Adeshina Afolayan (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of African Philosophy, Palgrave-macmillan. pp. 207-222. 2017.
    A reprint in English of 'Confucianism and African Conceptions of Value, Reality and Knowledge' (International Social Science Journal, Chinese Edition, 2016).
  •  25
    Cultural Pluralism and Its Implications for Media Ethics
    In Patrick Plaisance (ed.), Communication and Media Ethics, De Gruyter. pp. 53-73. 2018.
    In the face of differences between the ethical religio-philosophies believed across the globe, how should a media ethicist theorize or make recommendations in the light of theory? One approach is relativist, taking each distinct moral worldview to be true only for its own people. A second approach is universalist, seeking to discover a handful of basic ethical principles that are already shared by all the world's peoples. After providing reasons to doubt both of these approaches to doing media e…Read more
  •  478
    For the Sake of the Friendship: Relationality and Relationship as Grounds of Beneficence
    Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory 57 (125): 54-76. 2010.
    I contend that there are important moral reasons for individuals, organisations and states to aid others that have gone largely unrecognised in the literature. Most of the acknowledged reasons for acting beneficently in the absence of a promise to do so are either impartial and intrinsic, on the one hand, being grounded in properties internal to and universal among individuals, such as their pleasure or autonomy, or partial and extrinsic, on the other, being grounded in non-universal properties …Read more
  •  46
    Questioning African Attempts to Ground Ethics on Metaphysics
    In John Bewaji & Elvis Imafidon (eds.), Ontologized Ethics: New Essays in African Meta-Ethics, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 189-204. 2013.
    In the literature on African moral philosophy, it is common to find normative conclusions about the way we ought to act directly drawn from purported metaphysical facts about the nature of ourselves and the world. For example, Kwame Gyekye, the most influential sub-Saharan political philosopher, attempts to defend moderate communitarianism, roughly the view that agents have strong duties to support others in ways that do not violate human rights, by contending that it follows from the dual natur…Read more
  •  67
    These are major excerpts from an interview that was conducted with Professor Kwasi Wiredu at Rhodes University during the 13th Annual Conference of The International Society for African Philosophy and Studies in 2007. He speaks on a wide range of issues such as political and personal identity, racism and tribalism, moral foundations, the Golden Rule, African communalism, human rights, personhood, consensus, meta-philosophy, amongst other critical themes.
  •  62
    A reply to five critical discussions of _Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study_ (2013).
  •  61
    A communitarian perspective, which is characteristic of African normative thought, accords some kind of primacy to society or a group, whereas human rights are by definition duties that others have to treat individuals in certain ways, even when not doing so would be better for others. Is there any place for human rights in an Afro-communitarian political and legal philosophy, and, if so, what is it? I seek to answer these questions, in part by critically exploring one of the most influential th…Read more
  •  46
    Censure theory and intuitions about punishment
    Law and Philosophy 19 (4): 491-512. 2000.
    Many philosophers and laypeople have the following two intuitions about legal punishment: the state has a pro tanto moral reason to punish all those guilty of breaking a just law and to do so in proportion to their guilt. Accepting that there can be overriding considerations not to punish all the guilty in proportion to their guilt, many philosophers still consider it a strike against any theory if it does not imply that there is always a supportive moral reason to do so. In this paper, I demons…Read more
  •  304
    Odnajdowanie sensu w jego poszukiwaniu
    Filozofuj! 2 9-11. 2015.
    Polish translation of mildly revised versions of the introductory and closing pages of _Meaning in Life_.
  •  78
    Relational Ethics
    In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics, Wiley-blackwell. pp. 1-10. 2016.
    An overview of relational approaches to ethics, which contrast with individualist and holist ones, particularly as they feature in the Confucian, African, and feminist/care traditions.
  •  83
    God, Soul and the Meaning of Life
    Cambridge University Press. 2019.
    Part of the Elements Philosophy of Religion series, this short book focuses on the spiritual dimensions of life’s meaning as they have been discussed in the recent English and mainly analytic philosophical literature. The overarching philosophical question that this literature has addressed is about the extent to which, and respects in which, spiritual realities such as God or a soul would confer meaning on our lives. There have been four broad answers to the question, namely: God or a soul is n…Read more
  •  149
    Are Lives Worth Creating?
    Philosophical Papers 40 (2): 233-255. 2011.
    In his book Better Never to Have Been, David Benatar argues that it is generally all things considered wrong to procreate, such that if everyone acted in a morally ideal way, humanity would elect to extinguish the species. I aim to carefully question the premises and inferences that lead Benatar to draw this anti-natalist conclusion, indicating several places where one could sensibly elect to disembark from the train of argument heading toward such a radical view.
  •  203
    Utilitarianism and the Meaning of Life
    Utilitas 15 (1): 50-70. 2003.
    This article addresses the utilitarian theory of life's meaning according to which a person's existence is significant just in so far as she makes those in the world better off. One aim is to explore the extent to which the utilitarian theory has counter-intuitive implications about which lives count as meaningful. A second aim is to develop a new, broadly Kantian theory of what makes a life meaningful, a theory that retains much of what makes the utilitarian view attractive, while avoiding the …Read more
  •  128
    The Virtues of African Ethics
    In Stan van Hooft (ed.), The Handbook of Virtue Ethics, Acumen Publishing. 2013.
    Since its inception as a professional field in the 1960s or so, African ethics has been neglected not only by virtue ethicists, but also by international scholars in moral philosophy generally. This is unfortunate, since sub-Saharan normative perspectives are characteristically virtue-centred, and, furthermore, are both different from traditional Western forms and just as worth taking seriously as they are. In my contribution, I spell out the two major respects in which virtue is a salient theme…Read more
  •  18
    Introduction and Concluding Recommendations
    with Hester du Plessis
    In Hester du Plessis (ed.), The Rise and Decline and Rise of China: Searching for an Organising Philosophy, Real African Publishers. 2015.
    Reflections on recent Chinese socio-economic development, insofar as it has been influenced by values, especially Confucianism, and what lessons there are to be learned for understanding sub-Saharan African values and how best to develop in that context.
  •  570
    A Life of Struggle as Ubuntu
    In Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni & Busani Ngcaweni (eds.), Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela: Decolonial Ethics of Liberation and Servant Leadership, Africa World Press. pp. 97-111. 2018.
    In this chapter I aim to provide a moral-philosophical grounding for much of Nelson Rolihlaha Mandela’s life. I spell out a principled interpretation of ubuntu that focuses on its moral import, and then apply it to salient facets of Mandela’s 50+ struggle years, contending that they exemplify it in many ways. Specifically, I first address Mandela’s decisions to fight apartheid in the 1940s, to use violence in response to it in the 1950s and ‘60s, and to refuse to renounce the use of violence dur…Read more
  •  66
    The Ethics and Politics of the Brain Drain: A Communal Alternative to Liberal Perspectives
    South African Journal of Philosophy 36 (1): 101-114. 2017.
    In Debating Brain Drain, Gillian Brock and Michael Blake both draw on a liberal moral- political foundation to address the issue, but they come to different conclusions about it. Despite the common ground of free and equal persons having a dignity that grounds human rights, Brock concludes that many medical professionals who leave a developing country soon after having received training there are wrong to do so and that the state may place some limits on their ability to exit, whereas Blake infe…Read more