•  18
    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.
  •  3462
    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
  •  32
    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
  •  85
    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
  •  57
  •  260
    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
  •  43
    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
  •  164
    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
    Arbitrariness, Justice, and Respect
    Social Theory and Practice 26 (1): 25-45. 2000.
    I examine John Rawls' objection to libertarianism that it permits economic shares to be distributed in a morally arbitrary way. This argument was dropped largely for two reasons. First, talk of "arbitrariness" has been vague and associated with implausible views about moral desert, collective assets, and noumenal selves. Second, several criticisms which Robert Nozick made 25 years ago have gone unanswered. In this essay, I reconstruct the arbitrariness argument, giving it a new, Kantian interpre…Read more
  •  26
    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).
  •  4734
    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.
  •  150
    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.
  •  67
    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
  •  49
    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
  •  52
    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
  •  1665
    Ubuntu as a Moral Theory: Reply to Four Critics
    South African Journal of Philosophy 26 (4): 369-87. 2007.
    In this article, I respond to questions about, and criticisms of, my article “Towardan African Moral Theory” that have been put forth by Allen Wood, Mogobe Ramose, Douglas Farland and Jason van Niekerk. The major topicsI address include: what bearing the objectivity of moral value should have on cross-cultural moral differences between Africans and Westerners; whether a harmonious relationship is a good candidate for having final moral value; whether consequentialism exhausts the proper way to r…Read more
  •  268
    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.
  •  38
    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
  •  64
    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
  •  68
    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.
  •  49
    The Justice of Crime Prevention
    Theoria 51 (105): 104-128. 2004.
    In this essay, I critically evaluate the new South African state's approach to crime prevention in light of the Kantian principle of respect of persons. I show that the five most common explanations of why the state must fight crime are unconvincing; provide a novel, respect-based account of why justice requires the state to prevent crime; and specify which crime fighting techniques the state must adopt in order to meet this requirement. Reviewing the South African state's criminal justice polic…Read more
  •  65
    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).
  •  27
    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
  •  486
    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
  •  49
    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