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Thaddeus Metz [165]Thaddeus Hines Metz [1]
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Profile: Thaddeus Metz (University of Johannesburg)
  1.  78
    Thaddeus Metz (2015). Assessing Lives, Giving Supernaturalism Its Due, and Capturing Naturalism: Reply to 13 Critics of Meaning in Life. In Masahiro Morioka (ed.), Reconsidering Meaning in Life: A Philosophical Dialogue with Thaddeus Metz. Waseda University 228-278.
    A lengthy reply to 13 critical discussions of _Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study_ collected in an e-book. The contributors are from a variety of philosophical traditions, including the Anglo-American, Continental and East Asian (especially Buddhist and Japanese) ones.
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  2.  45
    Ward Jones & Thaddeus Metz (2015). The Politics of Doing Philosophy in Africa: A Conversation. South African Journal of Philosophy 34 (4):538-550.
    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 philosophise 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. One of us (TM) has been the target of such critiques in light of his work. Our aim in this conversation (...)
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  3.  36
    Thaddeus Metz (2015). Précis of Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study. Journal of Philosophy of Life 5 (3):i-v.
    Brief summary of _Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study_ and of how contributors to a special issue of the _Journal of Philosophy of Life_ question it.
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  4. Thaddeus Metz (2013). Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study. Oxford University Press.
    What makes a person's life meaningful? Thaddeus Metz offers a new answer to an ancient question which has recently returned to the philosophical agenda. He proceeds by examining what, if anything, all the conditions that make a life meaningful have in common. The outcome of this process is a philosophical theory of meaning in life. He starts by evaluating existing theories in terms of the classic triad of the good, the true, and the beautiful. He considers whether meaning in life (...)
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  5.  14
    Thaddeus Metz (2016). Teaching African Philosophy Alongside Western Philosophy. South African Journal of Philosophy 35 (4).
    Concrete suggestions about which issues, texts, positions, arguments and authors from the African philosophical tradition that one might usefully use to put into conversation with Western ones.
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  6.  12
    Thaddeus Metz (forthcoming). Reasons to Abhor the End of the Human Race: Critical Notice of Samuel Scheffler, Death and the Afterlife. Faith and Philosophy.
    A 4000 word critical discussion of Scheffler's _Death and the Afterlife_, with a heavy focus on the first two parts of his lengthy essay.
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  7. Thaddeus Metz (2007). Toward an African Moral Theory. Journal of Political Philosophy 15 (3):321–341.
    In this article I articulate and defend an African moral theory, i.e., a basic and general principle grounding all particular duties that is informed by sub-Saharan values commonly associated with talk of "ubuntu" and cognate terms that signify personhood or humanness. The favoured interpretation of ubuntu is the principle that an action is right insofar as it respects harmonious relationships, ones in which people identify with, and exhibit solidarity toward, one another. I maintain that this is the most defensible moral (...)
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  8. Thaddeus Metz (2012). Ethics in Aristotle and in Africa: Some Points of Contrast. Phronimon 13 (2):99-117.
    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 account of how to live, but that the African conception is (...)
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  9. Thaddeus Metz & Joseph Gaie (2010). The African Ethic of Ubuntu/Botho: Implications for Research on Morality. Journal of Moral Education 39 (3):273-290.
    In this article we provide a theoretical reconstruction of sub-Saharan ethics that we argue is a strong competitor to typical Western approaches to morality. According to our African moral theory, actions are right roughly insofar as they are a matter of living harmoniously with others or honouring communal relationships. After spelling out this ethic, we apply it to several issues in both normative and empirical research into morality. With regard to normative research, we compare and contrast this African moral theory (...)
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  10.  8
    Thaddeus Metz (2015). Life, Meaning Of. In Henk ten Have (ed.), Encyclopedia of Global Bioethics. Springer 1-6.
    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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  11. Thaddeus Metz (2007). Ubuntu as a Moral Theory: Reply to Four Critics. South African Journal of Philosophy 26 (4):369-87.
    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 respond to the value of a (...)
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  12. Thaddeus Metz (2012). Contemporary Anti-Natalism, Featuring Benatar's Better Never to Have Been. South African Journal of Philosophy 31 (1):1-9.
    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.
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  13.  26
    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.), To Thrive, to Cope, to Understand: Meaning in Positive and Existential Psychotherapy. Springer
    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 that, or at least act as though, 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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  14.  16
    Thaddeus Metz (2016). Meaning in Life as the Right Metric: A Key Value Beyond Happiness and Morality. Society 53 (2).
    In “Happiness Is the Wrong Metric,” Amitai Etzioni largely argues that human beings are motivated by more than just their own happiness, whether conceived in terms of pleasant experiences or fulfilled preferences, and that the state should attend to more than merely people’s happiness. He contends that people are often disposed to seek out, and that public policy ought to promote, what is morally right and good. While not disagreeing with this thrust of Etzioni’s position, I maintain in my contribution (...)
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  15. Thaddeus Metz (2002). Recent Work on the Meaning of Life. Ethics 112 (4):781-814..
  16. Thaddeus Metz (2011). Ubuntu as a Moral Theory and Human Rights in South Africa. African Human Rights Law Journal 11 (2):532-559.
    There are three major reasons that ideas associated with ubuntu are often deemed to be an inappropriate basis for a public morality. One is that they are too vague, a second is that they fail to acknowledge the value of individual freedom, and a third is that they a fit traditional, small-scale culture more than a modern, industrial society. In this article, I provide a philosophical interpretation of ubuntu that is not vulnerable to these three objections. Specifically, I construct a (...)
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  17.  27
    Thaddeus Metz (2015). Review of Todd May, A Significant Life. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 8 (19).
    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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  18.  56
    Thaddeus Metz (2010). African and Western Moral Theories in a Bioethical Context. Developing World Bioethics 10 (1):49-58.
    The field of bioethics is replete with applications of moral theories such as utilitarianism and Kantianism. For a given dilemma, even if it is not clear how one of these western philosophical principles of right (and wrong) action would resolve it, one can identify many of the considerations that each would conclude is relevant. The field is, in contrast, largely unaware of an African account of what all right (and wrong) actions have in common and of the sorts of factors (...)
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  19.  13
    Thaddeus Metz (2016). Recent Philosophies of Social Protection: From Capability to Ubuntu. Global Social Policy 16 (3).
    In the past decade or two, philosophies of social protection have shifted away from a nearly exclusive focus on the subjective and the individual (e.g., autonomous choices, subjective well-being) and towards values that are more objective and relational. The latter approaches, typified by the well established Capabilities Approach and the up and coming ethic of ubuntu, have been substantially inspired by engagements with the Global South, particularly India and Africa. In this article, part of a special issue titled ‘The Principles (...)
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  20. Thaddeus Metz (2007). New Developments in the Meaning of Life. Philosophy Compass 2 (2):196–217.
    In this article I survey philosophical literature on the topic of what, if anything, makes a person’s life meaningful, focusing on systematic texts that are written in English and that have appeared in the last five years (2002-2007). My aims are to present overviews of the most important, fresh, Anglo-American positions on meaning in life and to raise critical questions about them worth answering in future work.
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  21.  86
    Thaddeus Metz (2001). The Concept of a Meaningful Life. American Philosophical Quarterly 38 (2):137-153.
    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 (...)
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  22.  25
    Thaddeus Metz (2015). Auf Dem Weg Zu Einer Afrikanischen Moraltheorie. In Franziska Dübgen & Stefan Skupien (eds.), Afrikanische politische Philosophie - Postkoloniale Positionen. Suhrkamp 295-329.
    Revised version of 'Toward an African Moral Theory' (Journal of Political Philosophy 2007) appearing in German.
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  23.  24
    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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  24.  43
    Thaddeus Metz (2015). Assessing Lives, Giving Supernaturalism Its Due, and Capturing Naturalism: Reply to 13 Critics of Meaning in Life. Journal of Philosophy of Life 5 (3):228-278.
    A lengthy reply to several critical discussions of _Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study_ appearing in the _Journal of Philosophy of Life_. The contributors are from a variety of philosophical traditions, including the Anglo-American, Continental and East Asian (especially Buddhist and Japanese) ones.
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  25.  15
    Michael Eze & Thaddeus Metz (2015). Emergent Issues in African Philosophy: A Dialogue with Kwasi Wiredu. Philosophia Africana 17 (2).
    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.
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  26.  40
    Thaddeus Metz (2013). The Western Ethic of Care or an Afro-Communitarian Ethic?: Finding the Right Relational Morality. Journal of Global Ethics 9 (1):77-92.
    In her essay ‘The Curious Coincidence of Feminine and African Moralities’ (1987), Sandra Harding was perhaps the first to note parallels between a typical Western feminist ethic and a characteristically African, i.e., indigenous sub-Saharan, approach to morality. Beyond Harding’s analysis, one now frequently encounters the suggestion, in a variety of discourses in both the Anglo-American and sub-Saharan traditions, that an ethic of care and an African ethic are more or less the same or share many commonalities. While the two ethical (...)
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  27. Thaddeus Metz (2007). The Motivation for “Toward an African Moral Theory”. South African Journal of Philosophy 26 (26):331-335.
    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 (...)
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  28.  87
    Thaddeus Metz (2012). African Conceptions of Human Dignity: Vitality and Community as the Ground of Human Rights. Human Rights Review 13 (1):19-37.
    I seek to advance enquiry into the philosophical question of in virtue of what human beings have a dignity of the sort that grounds human rights. I first draw on values salient in sub-Saharan African moral thought to construct two theoretically promising conceptions of human dignity, one grounded on vitality, or liveliness, and the other on our communal nature. I then argue that the vitality conception cannot account for several human rights that we intuitively have, while the community conception can (...)
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  29.  23
    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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  30.  64
    Thaddeus Metz (2011). The Good, the True and the Beautiful: Toward a Unified Account of Great Meaning in Life. Religious Studies 47 (4):389-409.
    Three of the great sources of meaning in life are the good, the true, and the beautiful, and I aim to make headway on the grand Enlightenment project of ascertaining what, if anything, they have in common. Concretely, if we take a (stereotypical) Mother Teresa, Mandela, Darwin, Einstein, Dostoyevsky, and Picasso, what might they share that makes it apt to deem their lives to have truly mattered? I provide reason to doubt two influential answers, noting a common flaw that supernaturalism (...)
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  31.  5
    Thaddeus Metz (2015). Good Governance: How Can Politics Promote Wellbeing? Drak Journal: A Journal of Thought and Ideas 1 (2):90-99.
    A shortened and mildly revised reprint of a chapter initially composed as part of International Expert Working Group's report on Bhutan's project of Gross National Happiness (see 2013).
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  32.  76
    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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  33. Thaddeus Metz (2003). Utilitarianism and the Meaning of Life. Utilitas 15 (1):50-70.
    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 (...)
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  34. Thaddeus Metz (2009). Happiness and Meaningfulness: Some Key Differences. In Lisa Bortolotti (ed.), Philosophy and Happiness. Palgrave Macmillan 3-20.
    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 (...)
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  35.  51
    Thaddeus Metz (2010). Human Dignity, Capital Punishment, and an African Moral Theory: Toward a New Philosophy of Human Rights. Journal of Human Rights 9 (1):81-99.
    In this article I spell out a conception of dignity grounded in African moral thinking that provides a plausible philosophical foundation for human rights, focusing on the particular human right not to be executed by the state. I first demonstrate that the South African Constitutional Court’s sub-Saharan explanations of why the death penalty is degrading all counterintuitively entail that using deadly force against aggressors is degrading as well. Then, I draw on one major strand of Afro-communitarian thought to develop a (...)
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  36. Thaddeus Metz (2012). An African Theory of Moral Status: A Relational Alternative to Individualism and Holism. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (3):387-402.
  37. Thaddeus Metz (2003). The Immortality Requirement for Life's Meaning. Ratio 16 (2):161–177.
    Many religious thinkers hold the immortality requirement, the view that immortality of some kind is necessary for life to have meaning. After clarifying the nature of the immortality requirement, this essay examines three central arguments for it. The article establishes that existing versions of these arguments fail to entail the immortality requirement. The essay then reconstructs the arguments, and it shows that once they do plausibly support the immortality requirement, they equally support the God-centred requirement, the view that God's existence (...)
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  38.  3
    Thaddeus Metz (2010). The Good, the True, and the Beautiful: Toward a Unified Account of Great Meaning in Life: Thaddeus Metz. Religious Studies 47 (4):389-409.
    Three of the great sources of meaning in life are the good, the true, and the beautiful, and I aim to make headway on the grand Enlightenment project of ascertaining what, if anything, they have in common. Concretely, if we take a Mother Teresa, Mandela, Darwin, Einstein, Dostoyevsky, and Picasso, what might they share that makes it apt to deem their lives to have truly mattered? I provide reason to doubt two influential answers, noting a common flaw that supernaturalism and (...)
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  39.  17
    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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  40.  71
    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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  41. Ruth Chang, Allen Buchanan, Mathias Risse, Scott A. Anderson & Thaddeus Metz (2002). 10. Nenad Miscevic, Ed., Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict: Philosophical Perspectives Nenad Miscevic, Ed., Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict: Philosophical Perspectives (Pp. 843-846). [REVIEW] Ethics 112 (4).
     
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  42.  86
    Daniel A. Bell & Thaddeus Metz (2011). Confucianism and Ubuntu: Reflections on a Dialogue Between Chinese and African Traditions. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 38 (supp):78-95.
    In this article we focus on three key precepts shared by Confucianism and the African ethic of Ubuntu: the central value of community, the desirability of ethical partiality, and the idea that we tend to become morally better as we grow older. For each of these broad similarities, there are key differences underlying them, and we discuss those as well as speculate about the reasons for them. Our aim is not to take sides, but we do suggest ways that Ubuntu (...)
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  43.  41
    Thaddeus Metz (2013). Two Conceptions of African Ethics. Quest 25:141-61.
    I focus on D A Masolo’s discussion of morality as characteristically understood by African philosophers. My goals are both historical and substantive, meaning that I use reflection on Masolo’s book as an occasion to shed light not only on the nature of recent debates about African ethics, but also on African ethics itself. With regard to history, I argue that Masolo’s discussion of sub-Saharan morality suggests at least two major ways that the field has construed it, depending on which value (...)
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  44.  45
    Thaddeus Metz (2009). The Final Ends of Higher Education in Light of an African Moral Theory. Journal of Philosophy of Education 43 (2):179-201.
    From the perspective of an African ethic, analytically interpreted as a philosophical principle of right action, what are the proper final ends of a publicly funded university and how should they be ranked? To answer this question, I first provide a brief but inclusive review of the literature on Africanising higher education from the past 50 years, and contend that the prominent final ends suggested in it can be reduced to five major categories. Then, I spell out an intuitively attractive (...)
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  45.  95
    Thaddeus Metz (2011). Are Lives Worth Creating? Philosophical Papers 40 (2):233-255.
    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.
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  46. Thaddeus Metz (2007). The Meaning of Life. In Edward Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Many major historical figures in philosophy have provided an answer to the question of what, if anything, makes life meaningful, although they typically have not put it in these terms. Consider, for instance, Aristotle on the human function, Aquinas on the beatific vision, and Kant on the highest good. While these concepts have some bearing on happiness and morality, they are straightforwardly construed as accounts of which final ends a person ought to realize in order to have a significant existence. (...)
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  47.  5
    Thaddeus Metz (forthcoming). The Ethics and Politics of the Brain Drain in Light of Ubuntu. South African Journal of Philosophy 36 (1).
    A critical discussion of the debate between Gillian Brock and Michael Blake in Debating Brain Drain (Oxford University Press 2015) from the vantage point of characteristically African approaches to morality and justice.
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  48.  50
    Thaddeus Metz (2010). For the Sake of the Friendship: Relationality and Relationship as Grounds of Beneficence. Theoria 57 (4):54-76.
    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 regarding an actual (...)
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  49.  24
    Thaddeus Metz (2000). Censure Theory and Intuitions About Punishment. Law and Philosophy 19 (4):491-512.
    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 (...)
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  50. Thaddeus Metz (2005). Critical Notice:Baier and Cottingham on the Meaning of Life. Disputatio 1 (19):215-228.
    I examine two recent books by analytic philosophers that address the underexplored topic of whether the meaning of life depends on the existence of a supernatural realm including God and a soul. John Cottingham’s On the Meaning of Life defends a supernaturalist conception of life’s meaning, whereas Kurt Baier’s Problems of Life and Death defends the opposite, naturalist perspective. I show that their respective arguments are worth serious consideration, indicate some potential weaknesses in them, and suggest some other argumentative strategies (...)
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