• Karl Popper is famous for favoring an open society, one in which the individual is treated as an end in himself and social arrangements are subjected to critical evaluation, which he defends largely by appeal to a Kantian ethic of respecting the dignity of rational beings. In this essay, I consider for the first time what the implications of a characteristically African ethic, instead prescribing respect for our capacity to relate communally, are for how the state should operate in an open socie…Read more
  •  15
    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.
  • African and East Asian Perspectives on the Elderly
    In Christopher Wareham (ed.), Cambridge Handbook of the Ethics of Ageing, Cambridge University Press. forthcoming.
    An exposition of ethical approaches to the elderly salient in African and East Asian philosophies and cultures, sometimes noting differences between them, while other times pointing out similarities that make them both distinct from characteristically Western approaches.
  • Adherents to reconciliation, restorative justice and related approaches to dealing with social conflict are well known for seeking to minimize punishment, in favour of offenders hearing out victims, making an apology, and effecting compensation for wrongful harm as well as victims forgiving offenders and accepting their reintegration into society. In contrast, I argue that reconciliation and similar concepts in fact characteristically require punishment but do not require forgiveness. After arti…Read more
  •  139
    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.
  •  44
    Recent work by comparative philosophers, global ethicists, and cross-cultural value theorists indicates that, unlike most Western thinkers, those in many other parts of the globe, such as indigenous Africa, East Asia, and Latin America, tend to prize relationality. These relational values include enjoying a sense of togetherness, participating cooperatively, creating something new together, engaging in mutual aid, and being compassionate. Global economic practices and internationally influential…Read more
  • Reprint of an article that first appeared in the journal World Development (2017).
  •  8
    Life, Meaning of
    Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. forthcoming.
    A 4000 word critical overview of English-speaking philosophical books devoted to life's meaning.
  • Humility and the African Ethic of Ubuntu
    In Mark Alfano, Alessandra Tanesini & Michael Lynch (eds.), Handbook on the Philosophy of Humility, Routledge. forthcoming.
    This chapter explores prominent respects in which humility figures into not just the Afro-relational ethic of ubuntu, but also the epistemic perspectives that are usually associated with it in regard to moral knowledge. Focusing on philosophical ideas published in academic fora over the past 50 years or so, the chapter contends that, although the concept of humility has not often been explicitly invokedin them to make sense of African morality and epistemology , it is a useful lens through which…Read more
  •  9
    Replacing Development: An Afro-communal Approach to Global Justice (repr.)
    In Mahmoud Masaeli & Rico Sneller (eds.), Ethics and Spirituality in Global Development, Cambridge Scholars Publishing. forthcoming.
    Reprint of an article that first appeared in Philosophical Papers (2017).
  •  2
    What should be the aim when teaching matters of culture to students in public high schools and universities in Africa? One, parochial approach would focus exclusively on imparting local culture, leaving students unfamiliar with, or perhaps contemptuous of, other cultures around the world. A second, cosmopolitan approach would educate students about a wide variety of cultures in Africa and beyond it, leaving it up to them which interpretations, values, and aesthetics they will adopt. A third way,…Read more
  • In this chapter the author critically explores answers to the question of how immortality would affect the meaningfulness of a person’s life, understood roughly as a life that merits esteem, achieves purposes much more valuable than pleasure, or makes for a good life-story. The author expounds three arguments for thinking that life would be meaningless if it were mortal, and provides objections to them. He then offers a reason for thinking that a mortal life could be meaningful, and responds to …Read more
  •  1
    In this article I critically discuss English-speaking philosophical literature addressing the question of what it essentially means to speak of 'life’s meaning'. Instead of considering what might in fact confer meaning on life, I make two claims about the more abstract, meta-ethical question of how to understand what by definition is involved in making that sort enquiry. One of my claims is that over the past five years there has been a noticeable trend among philosophers to try to change our un…Read more
  • Community, Individuality, and Reciprocity in Menkiti
    In Polycarp A. Ikuenobe & Edwin Etieyibo (eds.), Themes in Menkiti's African Conception of Personhood (tentative title), Rowman and Littlefield. forthcoming.
    For four decades Ifeanyi Menkiti has addressed the question of which sort of community constitutes personhood from a characteristically African perspective. In this chapter, I critically discuss the conceptions of how one acquires personhood through community that Menkiti has advanced, in search of the one that would most enable him to avoid prominent moral objections made to his views over the years. In particular, his account of personhood has been criticized for insufficiently accommodating i…Read more
  • A debate between Thaddeus Metz and Joshua Seachris on what makes life meaningful, with emphasis on the potential relevance of God, immortality, narrative and achievements.
  • While there is a budding literature on media ethics in the light of characteristic sub-Saharan moral values, there is virtually nothing on wartime reporting more specifically. Furthermore, the literature insofar as it has a bearing on wartime reporting suggests that embedded journalism and patriotic journalism are ethically justified during war. In this essay, I sketch a prima facie attractive African moral theory, grounded on a certain interpretation of the value of communal relationship, and b…Read more
  • Reprint of a chapter that first appeared in Contemporary Philosophical Proposals for the University: Toward a Philosophy of Higher Education (Palgrave 2018).
  •  11
    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
  • Pursuing Knowledge for Its Own Sake amidst a World of Poverty: Reconsidering Balogun on Philosophy’s Relevance
    Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 8 (2). forthcoming.
    In this article I critically discuss Professor Oladele Abiodun Balogun’s reflections on the proper final ends of doing philosophy and related sorts of abstract, speculative, or theoretical inquiry. Professor Balogun appears to argue that one should undertake philosophical studies only insofar as they are likely to make a practical difference to people’s lives, particularly by contributing to politico-economic development, or, in other words, that one should eschew seeking knowledge for its own s…Read more
  •  20
    A chapter composed largely for undergraduate and postgraduate students that considers whether general facts about morality and our ability to make moral judgements count in favor of either theism or atheism.
  •  14
    Reprint of an article that initially appeared in _Ethical Theory and Moral Practice_ (2012)
  •  25
    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
  •  11
    Addiction in the Light of African Values: Undermining Vitality and Community (repr.)
    In Yamikani Ndasauka & Grivas Kayange (eds.), Addiction in South and East Africa, Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 9-31. 2019.
    Reprint of an article that first appeared in Monash Bioethics Review (2018).
  •  33
    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
  •  2
    In Graham Oppy (ed.), A Companion to Atheism and Philosophy, Blackwell. pp. 355-366. 2019.
    A critical discussion of contemporary analytic philosophical literature arguing against the relevance of God for life's meaning.
  •  3
    Relational African Values between Nations
    In Francis Onditi & Gilad Ben-Nun (eds.), Contemporary Africa and the Foreseeable World Order, Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 133-150. 2019.
    This chapter considers how some international ethical matters might be approached differently in the English-speaking literature if values salient in sub-Saharan Africa were taken seriously. Specifically, after pointing out how indigenous values in this part of the world tend to prescribe relating communally, this chapter articulates a moral-philosophical interpretation of communal relationship and brings out what such an ethic entails for certain aspects of globalization, political power, forei…Read more