•  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).
  •  48
    Ubuntu: The Good Life
    In Alex Michalos (ed.), Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-being Research, Springer. pp. 6761-65. 2014.
    An overview of a characteristically African approach to the human good.
  •  39
    Distributive Justice as a Matter of Love: A Relational Approach to Liberty and Property
    In Ingolf Dalferth & Trevor Kimball (eds.), Love and Justice, Mohr Siebeck. pp. 339-352. 2019.
    Usually a relational approach, such as one appealing to care or love, is contrasted with an account of justice. In this chapter, however, I argue that distributive justice is well conceived as itself a matter of honouring people in virtue of their capacity to love and to be loved. After spelling out a familiar conception of love, I explain how treating people with respect in light of this capacity provides a plausible basis for human rights, one that rivals influential individualist foundations …Read more
  •  65
    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.
  •  569
    Happiness and Meaningfulness: Some Key Differences
    In Lisa Bortolotti (ed.), Philosophy and Happiness, Palgrave-macmillan. pp. 3-20. 2009.
    In this chapter, I highlight the differences between the two goods of happiness and meaningfulness. Specifically, I contrast happiness and meaning with respect to six value-theoretic factors, among them: what the bearers of these values are, how luck can play a role in their realization, which attitudes are appropriate in response to them, and when they are to be preferred in a life. I aim not only to show that there are several respects in which happiness and meaning differ as categories of val…Read more
  •  176
    The Concept of a Meaningful Life
    American Philosophical Quarterly 38 (2): 137-153. 2001.
    This paper aims to clarify what we are asking when posing the question of what (if anything) makes a life meaningful. People associate many different ideas with talk of "meaning in life," so that one must search for an account of the question that is primary in some way. Therefore, after briefly sketching the major conceptions of life's meaning in 20th century philosophical literature, the remainder of the paper systematically seeks a satisfactory analysis the concept of a meaningful life that t…Read more
  •  45
    Persian translation by Mohammad Saeedi of 'Could God's Purpose Be the Source of Life's Meaning?' (first published in Religious Studies 2000).
  •  12
    The Politics of Doing Philosophy in Africa: A Conversation (repr.)
    with Ward Jones
    In Mogobe Ramose (ed.), Contrasts and Contests about Philosophy, Routledge. pp. 148-160. 2016.
    Reprint of an article first appearing in the South African Journal of Philosophy (2015).
  •  17
    A discussion of respects in which climate change is likely to affect health in Africa and the Middle East with some reference to moral values, such as ubuntu and Islam, salient in the respective regions.
  •  2255
    In this article I compare and, especially, contrast Aristotle’s conception of virtue with one typical of sub-Saharan philosophers. I point out that the latter is strictly other-regarding, and specifically communitarian, and contend that the former, while including such elements, also includes some self-regarding or individualist virtues, such as temperance and knowledge. I also argue that Aristotle’s conception of human excellence is more attractive than the sub-Saharan view as a complete accoun…Read more
  •  31
    The Desirability of a Property Clause: Michelman's Defence of Liberalism
    Stellenbosch Law Review 24 (2): 312-28. 2013.
    I address Frank Michelman’s recent attempts to dispel the notion that there are deep tensions between a liberal approach to constitution making and a resolute commitment to fighting poverty, i.e., to holding what he calls ‘social liberalism’. He focuses on the prima facie tension between anti-poverty struggle on the part of government and the existence of a property clause in a constitution, a tension that several commentators in South Africa have contended requires removing that clause from its…Read more
  •  193
    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
  •  39
    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
  •  153
    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
  •  669
    The Motivation for “Toward an African Moral Theory”
    South African Journal of Philosophy 26 (26): 331-335. 2007.
    Here I introduce the symposium issue of the South African Journal of Philosophy that is devoted to critically analysing my article “Toward an AfricanMoral Theory.” In that article, I use the techniques of analytic moral philosophy to articulate and defend a moral theory that both is grounded on the values of peoples living in sub-Saharan Africa and differs from what is influential in contemporary Western ethics. Here, I not only present a précis of the article, but also provide a sketch of why I…Read more
  •  79
    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
  •  168
    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
  •  3681
    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.
  •  129
    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
  •  17
    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).