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Thaddeus Metz [144]Thaddeus Hines Metz [1]
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Profile: Thaddeus Metz (University of Johannesburg)
  1. Thaddeus Metz (forthcoming). An African Egalitarianism: Bringing Community to Bear on Equality. In George Hull (ed.), The Equal Society. Rowman & Littlefield. ch. 9.
    I consider what prima facie attractive communitarian ethical perspectives salient among indigenous African peoples entail for distributive justice within a state, and I argue that they support a form of economic egalitarianism that differs in several important ways from varieties common in contemporary Anglo-American political philosophy. In particular, the sort of economic egalitarianism I advance rivals not only luck-oriented variants from the likes of Ronald Dworkin, G. A. Cohen and theorists inspired by them such as Richard Arneson, Carl Knight and (...)
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  2. Thaddeus Metz (forthcoming). Values in China as Compared to Africa: Two Conceptions of Harmony. Philosophy East and West 67 (3).
    Given a 21st century context of sophisticated market economies and other Western influences such as Christianity, what similarities and differences are there between characteristic indigenous values of sub-Saharan Africa and China, and how do they continue to influence everyday life in these societies? Establishing that central to both non-Western, indigenous value systems are ideals of harmonious relationships, I compare and contrast traditional African and Chinese conceptions of harmony and analyze a number of respects in which an appeal to this value (...)
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  3. Thaddeus Metz (forthcoming). Climate Change in Africa and the Middle East in Light of Health and Salient Regional Values. In Cheryl Macpherson (ed.), Climate Change and Health: Bioethical Insights into Values and Policy. Springer.
    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 salient in respective regions.
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  4. Thaddeus Metz (forthcoming). Is Life's Meaning Unthinkable?: Critical Notice of Guy Bennett-Hunter, Ineffability and Religious Experience. Philosophia 43.
    A review essay on Guy Bennett-Hunter's new book, Ineffability and Religious Experience, particularly as it bears on issues concerning meaning in life.
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  5. Thaddeus Metz (forthcoming). Exploring the Ethical Foundations of Nkrumah’s Consciencism. In Martin Ajei (ed.), Disentangling Consciencism: Essays on Kwame Nkrumah's Philosophy. Rowman & Littlefield.
    In this chapter I critically discuss the meta-ethical and normative ethical foundations of Nkrumah’s philosophy as discussed in Consciencism. With respect to meta-ethics, I address Nkrumah’s characteristically African attempt to ground ethics on metaphysics, and, specifically, his claim that a basic egalitarian moral principle follows from a materialist ontology. Granting Nkrumah that reality is ultimately physical and that the physical is unitary, I argue that nothing logically follows about whether human beings have an equal worth. However, on Nkrumah’s behalf I (...)
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  6. Thaddeus Metz (forthcoming). How to Obtain Meaning in Life: The Roles of Self-Inflation, Self-Deception and World-Delusion. Philosophical Psychology.
    Part of a special Issue on Robert Trivers’ The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self‐Deception in Human Life, with some focus on the implication of self-deception and related mental states for meaning in life.
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  7. Thaddeus Metz (forthcoming). Life, Meaning Of. In Henk ten Have (ed.), Encyclopedia of Global Bioethics. Springer.
    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, and specifically involve: (...)
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  8. Thaddeus Metz (forthcoming). A Life of Struggle as Ubuntu. In Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni & Busani Ngcaweni (eds.), Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela: Decolonial Ethics of Liberation and Servant Leadership.
    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 (...)
     
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  9. Thaddeus Metz (forthcoming). Meaningful Existence. In Graham Oppy (ed.), Blackwell Companion to Atheism and Philosophy. Blackwell. ch. 25.
    A critical exploration of recent philosophical work on the relationship between atheism and meaning in life. In addition to considering views that God is not necessary for our lives to have meaning, it focuses particularly on bolder claims that the existence of God would make meaning in our lives impossible or at least very difficult.
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  10. Thaddeus Metz (forthcoming). A Relational Moral Theory: Ethics From Africa. Oxford University Press.
  11. Thaddeus Metz (forthcoming). Review of Todd May, A Significant Life. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
    Approx. 2000 word review of Todd May's _A Significant Life: Human Meaning in a Silent Universe_ (University of Chicago Press).
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  12. Thaddeus Metz (forthcoming). Assessing Lives, Capturing Naturalism, and Giving Supernaturalism Its Due: Reply to 12 Critics of Meaning in Life. Journal of Philosophy of Life 5.
    A reply to several critical discussions of Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study.
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  13. Thaddeus Metz (forthcoming). The Meaning of Life and the Afterlife. In Benjamin Matheson & Yujin Nagasawa (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook on the Afterlife. Palgrave Macmillan. Ch. 16.
    This chapter critically explores contemporary philosophical understandings of whether meaning in life might depend on the presence or absence of an afterlife. After distinguishing various kinds of afterlife, it focuses most on the potential relevance of an eternal one, and considers at length the extreme but common views amongst philosophers that an eternal afterlife would be either necessary for a meaningful life or, conversely, sufficient for a meaningless one. It concludes by considering the plausibility of a more moderate view, that (...)
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  14. Thaddeus Metz (forthcoming). The Nature of Poverty as an Inhuman Condition. Res Publica 21.
    In this article, part of a symposium devoted to Hennie Lötter’s Poverty, Ethics and Justice, my aims are three-fold. First, I present a careful reading of Lötter’s 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, I, second, raise some objections to it, regarding relativistic implications (...)
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  15. Thaddeus Metz (forthcoming). Ubuntu as a Constitutional Principle. In Stu Woolman (ed.), Constitutional Law of South Africa, 2nd Edition. Juta.
    A critical overview of the way ubuntu has figured into Constitutional law in South Africa and the way that it should.
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  16. Thaddeus Metz (forthcoming). Ubuntu and the Value of Self-Expression. Communicatio 41.
    In this article I consider what the implications of ubuntu, interpreted as an African moral philosophy, are for self-expression as a value that the mass media could help to promote. In contrast to the natural hunches that self-expression is merely a kind of narcissism or makes sense for only individualist cultures to prize, I argue that an attractive construal of ubuntu entails that self-expression can play an important communitarian role. The mass media can be obligated to enable people to express (...)
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  17. Thaddeus Metz (forthcoming). The Proper Aim of Therapy: Subjective Well-Being, Objective Goodness, or a Meaningful Life? In Alexander Batthyany, Pninit Russo-Netzer & Stefan Schulenberg (eds.), Meaning in Positive and Existential Psychotherapy (Tentative Title). Zeig, Tucker, and Thiessen Inc. Publishers.
    Therapists and related theorists and practitioners of mental health tend to hold one of two broad views about how to help patients. On the one hand, some maintain, or at least act as though, that the basic point of therapy is to help patients become clear about what they want deep down and to enable them to achieve it by overcoming mental blockages. On the other hand, there are those who contend that the aim of therapy should instead be to (...)
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  18. Thaddeus Metz & Sarah Clark Miller (forthcoming). Relational Ethics. In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell.
    An overview of relational approaches to ethics, which contrast with individualist and holist ones.
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  19. Ward Jones & Thaddeus Metz (2015). The Politics of Doing Philosophy in Africa (Tentative Title). South African Journal of Philosophy 34 (4).
    The background to the present discussion is the prevalence of political and personal criticisms in philosophical discussions about Africa. As philosophers in South Africa – both white and black – continue to philosophize seriously about Africa, responses to their work sometimes take the form of political and personal criticisms of, if not attacks on, the philosopher exploring and defending considerations about the African continent. Both of us have been the targets of such critiques in the light of our work. Our (...)
     
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  20. Thaddeus Metz (2015). An African Theory of Social Justice. In Camilla Boisen & Matthew Murray (eds.), Distributive Justice Debates in Political and Social Thought: Perspectives on Finding A Fair Share. Routledge.
    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.
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  21. Thaddeus Metz (2015). Auf Dem Weg Zu Einer Afrikanischen Moraltheorie. In Franziska Dübgen & Stefan Skupien (eds.), Afrikanische politische Philosophie - Postkoloniale Positionen. Suhrkamp.
    Revised version of 'Toward an African Moral Theory' (Journal of Political Philosophy 2007) appearing in German.
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  22. Thaddeus Metz (2015). African Ethics and Journalism Ethics: News and Opinion in Light of Ubuntu. Journal of Mass Media Ethics 30 (2):74-90.
    In this article, I address some central issues in journalism ethics from a fresh perspective, namely, one that is theoretical and informed by values salient in sub-Saharan Africa. Drawing on a foundational moral theory with an African pedigree, which is intended to rival Western theories such as Kantianism and utilitarianism, I provide a unified account of an array of duties of various agents with respect to the news/opinion media. I maintain that the ability of the African moral theory to plausibly (...)
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  23. Thaddeus Metz (2015). African Ethics, Revised Edition. In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley.
    An updated version of this 4000 word overview of the meta-, normative and applied ethical dimensions of contemporary sub-Saharan moral philosophy.
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  24. Thaddeus Metz (2015). Africanising Institutional Culture: What is Possible and Plausible. In Pedro Tabensky & Sally Matthews (eds.), Being at Home: Race, Institutional Culture and Transformation at South African Higher Education Institutions. University of KwaZulu-Natal Press. 242-272.
    Since the transition to a constitutional order, in what respects have cultures in higher education institutions in South Africa become Africanised, and, going forward, how should they be? In this chapter I provide an overview of the major different forms that Africanisation of institutional culture could take, and I then indicate the respects in which South African universities have or have not taken them on board over the past 20 years. In addition, I provide the first comprehensive critical discussion of (...)
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  25. Thaddeus Metz (2015). African Political Philosophy. In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley.
    I critically discuss contemporary work in African, i.e., sub-Saharan, political philosophy that has been written in English. I begin by providing an overview of the profession and discussing the aptness of focusing on African political philosophy as a distinct topic. Next, I highlight discussions that should be of interest to a political philosopher working anywhere in the world, focusing on ideas characteristic of the sub-Saharan region that are under-appreciated not merely for the purpose of comparative ethics, but also for substantive (...)
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  26. Thaddeus Metz (2015). A Theory of National Reconciliation: Some Insights From Africa. In Claudio Corradetti, Nir Eisikovits & Jack Rotondi (eds.), Theorizing Transitional Justice. Ashgate. 119-35.
    In this contribution I articulate a theory of national reconciliation informed by salient sub-Saharan ideas about community, and apply it to a variety of topics salient in South African and other discourses on the topic, such as truth-telling, apology, forgiveness and amnesty, in order both to illustrate and motivate the theory and to shed light on these topics.
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  27. Thaddeus Metz (2015). Fundamental Conditions of Human Existence as the Ground of Life’s Meaning: Reply to Landau. Religious Studies 51 (1):111-25.
    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 about it. Iddo Landau (...)
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  28. Thaddeus Metz (2015). How the West Was One: The Western as Individualist, the African as Communitarian. Educational Philosophy and Theory 47.
    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 (world) citizens, participants in a democratic and cosmopolitan order, but, compared (...)
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  29. Thaddeus Metz (2015). Odnajdowanie Sensu W Jego Poszukiwaniu. Filozofuj! 2:9-11.
    Polish translation of mildly revised versions of the introductory and closing pages of _Meaning in Life_.
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  30. Thaddeus Metz (2015). Further Explorations of Supernaturalism: Reply to Cottingham, Goetz, Goldschmidt, Jech and Wielenberg (Tentative Title). European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 7 (2).
    A reply to several critical discussions of Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study.
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  31. Thaddeus Metz (2015). The Meaning of Life. In Duncan Pritchard (ed.), What is This Thing Called Philosophy? Routledge.
    A lengthy introduction to the issue of meaning in life, aimed at undergraduates and generally educated readers.
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  32. Thaddeus Metz (2015). Confucianism in China, Ubuntu in Africa: Two Non-Western Value Systems. In Hester du Plessis (ed.), The Philosophy of Chinese Civilization. Real African Publishers. ch. 3.
    An overview of moral and non-moral values salient in the Chinese tradition, particularly in its Confucian vein, and a comparison of them with those recurrent in the sub-Saharan tradition. Although both traditions are closer to one another than they are to standard Western perspectives, they are found nonetheless to differ in several important ways.
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  33. Thaddeus Metz (2014). African Values and Human Rights as Two Sides of the Same Coin: Reply to Oyowe. African Human Rights Law Journal 14 (2):306-21.
    In an article previously published in this Journal, Anthony Oyowe critically engages with my attempt to demonstrate how the human rights characteristic of South Africa’s Constitution can be grounded on a certain interpretation of Afro-communitarian values that are often associated with talk of ‘ubuntu’. Drawing on recurrent themes of human dignity and communal relationships in the sub-Saharan tradition, I have advanced a moral-philosophical principle that I argue entails and plausibly explains a wide array of individual rights to civil liberties, political (...)
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  34. Thaddeus Metz (2014). African Values, Human Rights and Group Rights: A Philosophical Foundation for the Banjul Charter. In Oche Onazi (ed.), African Legal Theory and Contemporary Problems: Critical Essays. Springer. 131-51.
    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 (...)
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  35. Thaddeus Metz (2014). Dignity in the Ubuntu Tradition. In Marcus Düwell (ed.), Cambridge Handbook on Human Dignity. Cambridge University Press. 310-18.
    I draw on ideas commonly advocated by adherents to ubuntu, the term often used to capture sub-Saharan morality, in order to spell out, and sometimes construct, understandings of human dignity that are worth taking seriously by professional ethicists, moral philosophers, jurisprudential scholars and Constitutional Courts anywhere in the world. In particular, I seek to articulate a theory of dignity grounded in African values that could serve as a genuine rival to the influential Kantian conception that currently dominates most intellectual reflection (...)
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  36. Thaddeus Metz (2014). Gross National Happiness: A Philosophical Appraisal. Ethics and Social Welfare 8 (3):218-232.
    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 (...)
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  37. Thaddeus Metz (2014). Harmonizing Global Ethics in the Future: A Proposal to Add South and East to West. Journal of Global Ethics 10 (2):146-155.
    This article considers how global ethical matters might be approached differently in the English-speaking literature if values salient in sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia were taken seriously. Specifically, after pointing out how indigenous values in both of these major parts of the world tend to prescribe honouring harmonious relationships, the article brings out what such an approach to morality entails for political power, foreign relations and criminal justice. For each major issue, it suggests that harmony likely has implications that differ (...)
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  38. Thaddeus Metz (2014). In Search of Ubuntu: A Political Philosopher’s View of Democratic South Africa. In Busani Ngcaweni (ed.), Liberation Diaries: Reflections on 20 Years of Democracy. Jacana. 205-214.
    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, (...)
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  39. Thaddeus Metz (2014). Just the Beginning for Ubuntu: Reply to Matolino and Kwindingwi. South African Journal of Philosophy 33 (1):65-72.
    In an article titled ‘The end of ubuntu’ recently published in this journal, Bernard Matolino and Wenceslaus Kwindingwi argue that contemporary conditions in (South) Africa are such that there is no justification for appealing to an ethic associated with talk of ‘ubuntu’. They argue that political elites who invoke ubuntu do so in ways that serve nefarious functions, such as unreasonably narrowing discourse about how best to live, while the moral ideals of ubuntu are appropriate only for a bygone, pre-modern (...)
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  40. Thaddeus Metz (2014). Life Worth Living. In Alex Michalos (ed.), Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-being Research. Springer. 3602-05.
    In this encyclopedia entry, I seek to distinguish the concept of a worthwhile life from related ones such as a happy or meaningful life, to draw key distinctions that arise in discussion of worthwhileness (e.g., between life worth starting and life worth continuing), and to discuss some of the contemporary debates among ethicists about when a life is indeed worth living and when it's not.
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  41. Thaddeus Metz (2014). Meaning as a Distinct and Fundamental Value: Reply to Kershnar. Science, Religion and Culture 1 (2):101-106.
    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 there (...)
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  42. Thaddeus Metz (2014). Questioning South Africa’s ‘Genetic Link’ Requirement for Surrogacy. South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 7 (1):34-39.
    South African law currently forbids those seeking to arrange a surrogate motherhood agreement from creating a child that will not be genetically related to at least one of them. For a surrogacy contract to be legally valid, there must be a ‘genetic link’ between the child created through a surrogate and the parents who will raise it. Currently, this law is being challenged in the High Court of South Africa, and in this article I critically explore salient ethical facets of (...)
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  43. Thaddeus Metz (2014). Review of Leonhard Praeg, A Report on Ubuntu, and of Leonhard Praeg and Siphokazi Magadla (Eds), Ubuntu: Curating the Archive. [REVIEW] Philosophical Papers 43 (3):447-453.
  44. Thaddeus Metz (2014). Ubuntu: The Good Life. In Alex Michalos (ed.), Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-being Research. Springer. 6761-65.
    An overview of a characteristically African approach to the human good.
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  45. Segun Gbadegesin, Sandra A. McCalla, Kevin Behrens, Munamato Chemhuru, Isaac E. Ukpokolo, Justina O. Ehiakhamen, Jim I. Unah, Motsamai Molefe, Elizabeth Oluwafunmilayo Kehinde, Chris Tasie Osegenwune & Thaddeus Metz (eds.) (2013). Ontologized Ethics: New Essays in African Meta-Ethics. Lexington Books.
    Ontologized Ethics is a collection of essays in meta-ethics with an emphasis on philosophical discourse in the African context. It focuses primarily on the extent to which metaphysical beliefs may or may not justify moral beliefs, thereby revisiting the issue of the ‘is-ought’ relationship.
     
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  46. Thaddeus Metz (2013). A Dilemma About the Final Ends of Higher Education -- And a Resolution. Kagisano (The Higher Education Discussion Series) 9:23-41.
    In this article, written for the generally educated reader, I summarize my latest thinking about a dilemma that I believe current theoretical reflection faces about the proper ultimate aims of a public university. Specifically, I make the following three major points: (1) On the one hand, all dominant theories of how properly to spend public resources entail that academics should not pursue knowledge for its own sake and should rather devote their energies toward promoting some concrete public good (such as (...)
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  47. Thaddeus Metz (2013). African Ethics. In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Blackwell. 129-38.
    I critically discuss contemporary work in African, i.e., sub-Saharan, moral philosophy that has been written in English. I begin by providing an overview of the profession, after which I consider some of the major issues in normative ethics, then discuss a few of the more noteworthy research in applied ethics, and finally take up the key issues in meta-ethics. My aim is to highlight discussions that should be of interest to an ethicist working anywhere in the world, focusing on ideas (...)
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  48. Thaddeus Metz (2013). The Virtues of African Ethics. In Stan van Hooft (ed.), The Handbook of Virtue Ethics. Acumen Publishing. 276-84.
    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 in African ethics, and critically (...)
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  49. Thaddeus Metz (2013). Engaging with the Philosophy of D A Masolo. Quest 25:7-15.
    This is an introduction to the special issue of Quest devoted to D. A. Masolo’s latest book, Self and Community in a Changing World. It situates this book in relation to not only Masolo’s earlier research on African philosophy but also the field more generally, sketches the central positions of the contributions to the journal issue, and in light of them makes some critical recommendations for future reflection.
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  50. Thaddeus Metz (2013). How God Could Assign Us a Purpose Without Disrespect: Reply to Salles. Quadranti - Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia Contemporanea 1 (1):99-112.
    In one of the most widely read texts on what makes a life meaningful, composed more than 50 years ago, Kurt Baier presents an intriguing argument against the view that meaning in life would come by fulfilling a purpose God has assigned us. Baier contends that God could not avoid degrading us were He to assign us a purpose, which would mean that God, as a morally ideal being by definition, would not do so. Defenders of God-centred accounts of meaning (...)
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