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Thaddeus Metz [193]Thaddeus Hines Metz [1]
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Profile: Thaddeus Metz (University of Johannesburg)
  1.  40
    Thaddeus Metz (2016). The Nature of Poverty as an Inhuman Condition. Res Publica 22 (3).
    In this article, part of a symposium devoted to Hennie Lötter’s Poverty, Ethics and Justice, my aims are threefold. First, I present a careful reading of Lötter’s original and compelling 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, (...)
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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6.  83
    Thaddeus Metz (2016). Recent Philosophies of Social Protection: From Capability to Ubuntu. Global Social Policy 16 (2):132-150.
    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, utility) 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 and (...)
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  7. 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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  8.  64
    Thaddeus Metz (2015). Précis of Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study. Journal of Philosophy of Life 5 (3):ii-vi.
    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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  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.  17
    Thaddeus Metz (2016). Poverty as Inhuman: Plausible but Illiberal? International Journal of Applied Philosophy 30 (1):1-14.
    In this article, part of a special issue devoted to Hennie Lötter’s Poverty, Ethics and Justice, I draw out an interesting implication of Hennie Lötter’s original and compelling conception of the nature of poverty as essentially inhuman. After motivating this view, I argue that it, like the capabilities approach and other views that invoke a conception of good and bad lives, is inconsistent with a standard understanding of a liberal account of the state’s role, one that is independently supported and (...)
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  11.  18
    Thaddeus Metz (2016). Happiness and Meaning in Life: The Sweet Spot Where They Meet. In Leo Bormans (ed.), The World Book of Happiness: Happiness 2.0. Lannoo Publishing
    An 850 word statement, composed for a lay audience, of respects in which happiness and meaningfulness can come apart, but highlighting the aim of engaging in projects in which they are co-present.
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  12. 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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  13.  11
    Thaddeus Metz (forthcoming). Some Thoughts on How to Do Comparative Philosophy: Comments on David Kim (Tentative Title). Confluence: Online Journal of World Philosophies 7.
    Part of a symposium on the question, 'Are certain epistemological frameworks more congenial to comparative philosophy?'. The symposium is anchored by a contribution from Professor David Haekwon Kim, with me providing some critical reflections on it.
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  14.  31
    Thaddeus Metz (2016). Teaching African Philosophy Alongside Western Philosophy: Some Advice About Topics and Texts. South African Journal of Philosophy 35 (4).
    In this article, part of a special issue on ‘Transforming and Africanizing the Philosophy Curriculum’, I offer concrete suggestions about which topics, texts, positions, arguments and authors from the African philosophical tradition one could usefully put into conversation with ones from the Western. My aim is not to argue that one should teach by creating dialogue between African and Western philosophers, but rather is to provide strategic advice, supposing one sensibly adopts that goal.
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  15.  62
    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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  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.  83
    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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  18. Thaddeus Metz (2002). Recent Work on the Meaning of Life. Ethics 112 (4):781-814..
  19.  99
    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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  20.  13
    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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23.  25
    Thaddeus Metz (2016). Reasons of Meaning to Abhor the End of the Human Race. Faith and Philosophy 33 (3):358-369.
    In this critical notice of Samuel Scheffler’s Death and the Afterlife, I focus on his intriguing suggestion that we reasonably care more about the fate of an unidentifiable, future humanity than of ourselves and our loved ones. Scheffler’s main rationale for this claim is that meaning in our lives crucially depends on contributing to the well-being of the human race down the road, with many commentators instead arguing that advancing the good of ourselves or existing loved ones would be sufficient. (...)
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  24.  19
    Thaddeus Metz (2012). Animal Rights and the Interpretation of the South African Constitution. In David Bilchitz & Stu Woolman (eds.), Is This Seat Taken? Conversations at the Bar, the Bench and the Academy. Pretoria University Law Press 209-219.
    In this chapter, a reprinted article from Southern African Public Law (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 (...)
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  25. 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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  26.  62
    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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  27.  72
    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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  28.  27
    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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  29.  39
    Michael Eze & Thaddeus Metz (2015). Emergent Issues in African Philosophy: A Dialogue with Kwasi Wiredu. Philosophia Africana 17 (2):75-87.
    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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  30. 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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  31.  49
    Thaddeus Metz (2016). The Proper Aim of Therapy: Subjective Well-Being, Objective Goodness, or a Meaningful Life? In Pninit Russo-Netzer, Stefan Schulenberg & Alexander Batthyany (eds.), Clinical Perspectives on Meaning: Positive and Existential Psychotherapy. Springer ch. 2.
    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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  32.  6
    Thaddeus Metz (2016). How to Deal with Neglected Tropical Diseases in Light of an African Ethic. Journal on African Philosophy 12.
    Many countries in Africa, and more generally those in the Global South with tropical areas, are plagued by illnesses that the wealthier parts of the world (mainly ‘the West’) neither suffer from nor put systematic effort into preventing, treating or curing. What does an ethic with a recognizably African pedigree entail for the ways various agents ought to respond to such diseases? Of course, an African ethic requires much more contribution from the Western, ‘developed’ world. However, what else does it (...)
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  33. 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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  34.  45
    Thaddeus Metz (2015). Auf Dem Weg Zu Einer Afrikanischen Moraltheorie. In Franziska Dübgen & Stefan Skupien (eds.), Afrikanische politische Philosophie - Postkoloniale Positionen. Suhrkamp 295-329.
    German translation by Andreas Rauhut of a mildly revised version of 'Toward an African Moral Theory' (Journal of Political Philosophy 2007).
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  35.  46
    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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  36.  11
    Thaddeus Metz (forthcoming). Ancillary Care Obligations in Light of an African Bioethic: From Entrustment to Communion. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 37.
    Henry Richardson has recently published the first book ever devoted to ancillary care obligations, which roughly concern what medical researchers are morally required to provide to participants beyond what safety requires. In it Richardson notes that he has presented the ‘only fully elaborated view out there’ on this topic, which he calls the ‘partial-entrustment model’. In this article, I provide a new theory of ancillary care obligations, one that is grounded on ideals of communion salient in the African philosophical tradition (...)
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  37.  64
    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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  38.  36
    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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  39.  62
    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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  40.  78
    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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  41.  40
    Thaddeus Metz (2016). A Life of Struggle as Ubuntu. In Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni & Busani Ngcaweni (eds.), Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela: Decolonial Ethics of Liberation and Servant Leadership. Africa World Press, Inc. 97-111.
    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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  42.  97
    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.  12
    Thaddeus Metz (2003). آثار جدید درباره معناى زندگى. Ensani 29.
    Persian translation by Mohsen Javadi of 'Recent Work on the Meaning of Life' (Ethics 2002).
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  44.  12
    Thaddeus Metz (2013). نیاز جاودانگی برای معنای زندگی. Falsafeh 6 (72):81-90.
    Persian translation by Seyyed Mostafa Mousavi A’zam of 'The Immortality Requirement for Life's Meaning' (Ratio 2003).
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  45.  14
    Thaddeus Metz (2016). An Ubuntu-Based Evaluation of the South African State's Responses to Marikana: Where's the Reconciliation? Politikon 43 (3).
    In this work of normative political philosophy, I consider the ethical status of the South African government's responses to the Marikana massacre, where police shot and killed more than 30 striking miners, in light of a moral principle grounded on values associated with ubuntu. I argue that there are several respects in which the government's reactions have been unethical from an ubuntu-oriented perspective, and also make positive suggestions about what it instead should have been doing. Much of what I recommend (...)
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  46.  25
    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.
  47. 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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  48.  19
    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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  49.  20
    Thaddeus Metz (2016). Meaning in Life as the Right Metric. Society 53 (2):294-296.
    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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  50. 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.
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