299 found
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  1. Defending a Relational Account of Animal Moral Status.Thaddeus Metz - manuscript
    For the more than a decade, I have advanced an account of what makes animals and other beings entitled to moral treatment that is informed by characteristically African ideas about relationality and a great chain of being. Roughly according to this account, a being has a greater moral status, the more it is capable of communing with us (as a subject) or of us communing with it (as an object). Over the years, several commentators have raised criticisms of this position, (...)
     
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  2. Gratitude for Life-Force in African Philosophy.Thaddeus Metz - manuscript
    In this essay I critically discuss some ideas from the under-explored indigenous African tradition of philosophy of religion. Salient in African thought are four major beliefs that would make good sense of the view that it is appropriate to feel grateful for being alive. First, there is a religious belief, namely, in a personal God as the creator of everything in the universe, a globally unrecognized form of monotheism alongside the Abrahamic faiths. Second, there is a force rather than object (...)
     
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  3. Does the Lack of Cosmic Meaning Make Our Lives Bad?Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - Journal of Value Inquiry.
    This article is part of a special issue devoted to David Benatar’s anti-natalism. There are places in his oeuvre where he contends that, while our lives might be able to exhibit some terrestrial or human meaning, that is not enough to make them worth creating, which would require a cosmic meaning that is unavailable to us. There are those who maintain, in reply to Benatar, that some of our lives do have a cosmic meaning, but I grant Benatar here that (...)
     
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  4. African and East Asian Perspectives on Ageing.Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - In Christopher Wareham (ed.), Cambridge Handbook of the Ethics of Ageing. Cambridge University Press.
    After expounding the conceptions of harmony that are central to Confucianism and the sub-Saharan ethic of ubuntu, I apply them to three major topics pertaining to age, namely, virtue, the value of life, and care. Roughly speaking, indigenous East Asian and African values of harmony both entail that only the elderly can be truly virtuous, that the elderly have a strong claim to life-saving resources, and that they are entitled to care from their children, views that I show are not (...)
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  5. African Ethics and Public Governance: Nepotism, Preferential Hiring, and Other Partiality (Repr.).Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - In Abiola Olukemi Ogunyemi (ed.), Accountable Governance and Ethical Practices in Africa's Public Sector. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Shortened and mildly revised version of an essay that initially appeared in Murove (ed.) African Ethics (2009). This chapter is a work of applied ethics that aims to provide a convincing comprehensive account of how a government official in a post-independence sub-Saharan country should make decisions about how to allocate goods such as civil service jobs and contracts with private firms. Should such a person refrain from considering any particulars about potential recipients, or might it be appropriate to consider, for (...)
     
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  6. An African Theory of Economic Justice (Repr.).Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - In Austin Okigbo & Paul Nnodim (eds.), Ubuntu: A Comparative Study of an African Concept of Justice. Leuven University Press.
    Shortened and mildly revised reprint of an article first appearing in Ethical Perspectives (2020).
     
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  7. African Ethicists.Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - In Tom Angier (ed.), Ethics: The Key Thinkers, 2nd Edition. Bloomsbury.
    Unlike the Chinese, Indian, and Western ethical traditions, the African one had not been text-based until as recently as the 1960s. Since a very large majority of indigenous sub-Saharan societies had oral cultures, there are no classic texts in the field of African ethics and hence also no Big Names; there's nothing comparable to, say, Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics or Confucius’ Analects. However, some names and texts have been more influential than others in shaping ethical reflection, particularly over the past 30 (...)
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  8. A Relational Theory of Justice.Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - Oxford University Press.
    The core idea of A Relational Theory of Justice (RTJ) is that normative political and legal philosophy should be grounded on people’s relational features, roughly their ability to commune with others and be communed with by them. Usually, philosophers of justice in the West have based their views on people’s intrinsic features, ones that make no essential reference to others, such as their autonomy, self-ownership, or well-being. In addition, often critics of basing politics and law on justice, whether in the (...)
     
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  9. Community in African Moral-Political Philosophy.Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - In Niall Bond (ed.), Community in Global Thought (tentative title).
    I critically discuss respects in which conceptions of community have featured in African moral-political philosophy over the past 40 years or so. Some of the discussion is in the vein of intellectual history, recounting key theoretical moves for those unfamiliar with the field. However, my discussion is also opinionated, noting prima facie weaknesses with certain positions and presenting others as more promising, particularly relative to prominent Western competitors. There are a variety of forms that African communitarianism has taken and could (...)
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  10.  7
    Ce Que L’Afrique Peut Apporter au Monde.Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - In Tayeb Chenntouf (ed.), Histoire générale de l’Afrique, Volume 9 : l’Afrique Globale. UNESCO.
    French translation of 'What Africa Can Contribute to the World', a commissioned chapter for UNESCO'S General History of Africa project.
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  11. Comparing the Meaningfulness of Finite and Infinite Lives: Can We Reap What We Sow If We Are Immortal?Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement.
    On the rise over the past 20 years has been ‘moderate supernaturalism’, the view that while a meaningful life is possible in a world without God or a soul, a much greater meaning would be possible only in a world with them. William Lane Craig can be read as providing an important argument for a version of this view, according to which only with God and a soul could our lives have an eternal, as opposed to temporally limited, significance, by (...)
     
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  12. Judaism’s Distinct Perspectives on the Meaning of Life.Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - Journal of Jewish Ethics.
    In contemporary Anglo-American philosophy, there has been substantial debate between religious and secular theorists about what would make life meaningful, with a large majority of the religious philosophers having drawn on Christianity. In this article, in contrast, I draw on Judaism, with the aims of articulating characteristically Jewish approaches to life's meaning, which is a kind of intellectual history, and of providing some support for them relative to familiar Christian and Islamic approaches (salient in the Tanakh, the New Testament, and (...)
     
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  13. Medicine and the Meaning of Life (Tentative Title).Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - In Alex Broadbent (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Medicine. Oxford University Press.
    A critical survey of how the value of meaning in life has figured, and plausibly could figure, into philosophical reflection on the ends of, means of, and constraints on medical practice.
     
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  14.  6
    Meaning and Medicine: An Underexplored Bioethical Value.Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - Ethik in der Medizin.
    In this article, part of a special issue on meaning in life and medical ethics, I argue that several issues encountered in a bioethical context are not adequately addressed only with values such as morality and welfare. I maintain, more specifically, that the value of what makes a life meaningful is essential to being able to provide conclusive judgements about which decisions to make. After briefly indicating how meaningfulness differs from rightness and happiness, I point out how it is plausibly (...)
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  15. Political Philosophy in the Global South: Harmony in Africa, East Asia, and South America.Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - In Uchenna Okeja (ed.), Routledge Handbook of African Political Philosophy. Routledge.
    Harmony as a central or basic value is neglected in globally influential philosophical discussions about rights, power, and other facets of public policy; it is not prominent in articles that appear in widely read journals or in books published by presses with a global reach. In particular, the field remains ignorant of the similarities and differences between various harmony-oriented approaches to political philosophy from around the world. In this chapter, I begin to rectify these deficiencies by critically discussing the way (...)
     
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  16.  21
    Replacing Development: An Afro-Communal Approach to Global Justice (Repr.).Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - In Bolaji Bateye, Mahmoud Masaeli, Louise Muller & Angela Roothaan (eds.), Beauty in African Thought: Critique of the Western Idea of Development. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. ch. 6.
    Shortened version of an article that first appeared in Philosophical Papers (2017).
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  17. The Concept of Life's Meaning.Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - In Iddo Landau (ed.), Oxford Handbook on Meaning in Life. Oxford University Press.
    I critically discuss views about what at least analytic philosophers have in mind when reflecting on what makes life meaningful. I first demonstrate that there has been a standard view of that, according to which meaningfulness centrally involves the actions of human persons, ones that exhibit a high desirability characteristically present in ‘the good, the true, and the beautiful’ and absent from the cases of Sisyphus or the Experience Machine. Then, I address five challenges to the standard view that have (...)
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  18. The Proper Role of Economic Goods in Effecting National Reconciliation: Comparing Colombia and South Africa.Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - In David Bilchitz & Raisa Cachalia (eds.), Transitional and Distributive Justice in Transformative Constitutionalism: Comparing Colombia and South Africa.
    Scholars have compared the transitional justice processes of Colombia and South Africa in some respects, but there has yet to be a systematic moral-philosophical evaluation of them and specifically regarding the way they have sought to allocate economic goods. In this essay, I appraise the ways that South Africa and of Colombia have responded to their respective historical conflicts in respect of the distribution of property, especially land and money, and opportunities such as access to education and job training. I (...)
     
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  19. The Virtues of African Ethics (Repr.).Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - In Luís Rodrigues (ed.), Key Concepts in African Ethics. Bloomsbury.
    Mildly modified reprint of a chapter originally appearing in The Handbook of Virtue Ethics (2012).
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  20. What Is the Essence of an Essence? Comparing Afro-Relational and Western-Individualist Ontologies (Repr.).Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - In Jonathan O. Chimakonam & Monique Whitaker (eds.), Contemporary Language, Logic, and Metaphysics: African and Western Approaches (tentative title).
    Reprint of an article that first appeared in Synthesis Philosophica (2018).
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  21. Virtue in African Ethics as Living Harmoniously.Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - In Chenyang Li & Dascha Düring (eds.), Harmony. Oxford University Press.
    A large swathe of the indigenous African ethical tradition is frequently encapsulated in the maxim, “A person is a person through other persons.” This phrasing is an overly literal translation of some sayings that are prominent in the southern and central regions of Africa, but that resonate with most indigenous sub-Saharan cultures. This chapter articulates and motivates a philosophical interpretation of the maxim for an international readership interested in virtue. According to the initial formulation, one should strive to become a (...)
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  22. What Africa Can Bring to the World.Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - In Tayeb Chenntouf (ed.), General History of Africa, Volume 9: Global Africa. UNESCO. pp. ch. 22.
    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.
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  23. Economic Goods and the Communitarian Way of Life.Thaddeus Metz & Nathalia Bautista - forthcoming - In David Bilchitz & Raisa Cachalia (eds.), Transitional and Distributive Justice in Transformative Constitutionalism: Comparing Colombia and South Africa.
    The contributions elsewhere in this volume from us, Nathalia Bautista and Thaddeus Metz, address the proper way to respond to gross human rights violations, given a Global South context. Specifically, considering the histories of Colombia and South Africa and some of the values indigenous to those locales, respectively, we advance non-individualist and non-retributive approaches to the social conflicts that had taken place there. Broadly speaking, we both advocate relational and constructive forms of transitional justice that make victim compensation central. According (...)
     
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  24.  23
    La Philosophie au-delà de nos frontières: le cas de l'éthique africaine (Philosophy beyond the Boundaries: The Case of African Ethics).Thaddeus Metz & Pius Mosima (eds.) - forthcoming - Harmattan.
    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.
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  25. What Makes Life Meaningful? A Debate.Thaddeus Metz & Joshua Seachris - forthcoming - Routledge.
    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. Composed for undergraduates and generally educated readers.
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  26.  17
    Conversations About the Meaning of Life.David Benatar & Thaddeus Metz - 2021 - Obsidian Worlds Publishing.
    Interviews with David Benatar and Thaddeus Metz about some core aspects of their views about meaning in life, including debate between them. Accessible to a generally educated audience. Edited by Mark Oppenheimer and Jason Werbeloff.
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  27. Afro-Communitarianism and the Role of Traditional African Healers in the COVID-19 Pandemic.Luís Cordeiro-Rodrigues & Thaddeus Metz - 2021 - Public Health Ethics 14 (1):59-71.
    The COVID-19 pandemic has brought significant challenges to healthcare systems worldwide, and in Africa, given the lack of resources, they are likely to be even more acute. The usefulness of Traditional African Healers in helping to mitigate the effects of pandemic has been neglected. We argue from an ethical perspective that these healers can and should have an important role in informing and guiding local communities in Africa on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Particularly, we argue not only (...)
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  28.  34
    خدا،روح و معنای زندگی.Thaddeus Metz - 2021 - Negahehandisheh.
    Persian translation by Ashkan M. Roshan of _God, Soul and the Meaning of Life_.
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  29.  8
    How to Report on War in the Light of an African Ethic.Thaddeus Metz - 2021 - In Jonathan O. Chimakonam, Edwin Etieyibo & Ike Odimegwu (eds.), Essays on Contemporary Issues in African Philosophy. Springer. pp. ch. 10.
    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 bring out what it entails for the (...)
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  30. African Reasons Why Artificial Intelligence Should Not Maximize Utility.Thaddeus Metz - 2021 - In Beatrice Okyere-Manu (ed.), African Values, Ethics, and Technology: Questions, Issues, and Approaches. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 55-72.
    Insofar as artificial intelligence is to be used to guide automated systems in their interactions with humans, the dominant view is probably that it would be appropriate to programme them to maximize (expected) utility. According to utilitarianism, which is a characteristically western conception of moral reason, machines should be programmed to do whatever they could in a given circumstance to produce in the long run the highest net balance of what is good for human beings minus what is bad for (...)
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  31.  42
    Exactly Why Are Slurs Wrong?Thaddeus Metz - 2021 - Daimon: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 84:13-29.
    This article, part of a special issue on 'Expressing Hatred', seeks to provide a comprehensive and fundamental account of why racial epithets and similar slurs are immoral, whenever they are. It considers three major theories, roughly according to which they are immoral because they are harmful (welfarism), because they undermine autonomy (Kantianism), or because they are unfriendly (an under-considered, relational approach informed by ideas from the Global South). This article presents new objections to the former two theories, and concludes in (...)
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  32.  12
    Life Worth Living (Rev. Edn).Thaddeus Metz - 2021 - In Filomena Maggino (ed.), Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research, 2nd edn. Springer. pp. 1-4.
    An updated version of this encyclopedia entry on the concept of what, if anything, makes life worthwhile.
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  33.  6
    Popper’s Politics in the Light of African Values (Repr.).Thaddeus Metz - 2021 - In Oseni Taiwo Afisi (ed.), Karl Popper and Africa: Knowledge, Politics and Development. Springer. pp. ch. 2.
    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 (...)
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  34.  6
    A Relational Moral Theory: African Ethics in and Beyond the Continent.Thaddeus Metz - 2021 - Oxford University Press.
    _A Relational Moral Theory_ draws on neglected resources from the Global South and especially the African philosophical tradition to provide a new answer to a perennial philosophical question: what do all morally right actions have in common as distinct from wrong ones? Metz points out that the principles of utility and of respect for autonomy, the two rivals that have dominated western moral theory for the last two centuries, share an individualist premise. Once that common assumption is replaced by a (...)
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  35.  75
    Recent Work in African Philosophy: Its Relevance Beyond the Continent.Thaddeus Metz - 2021 - Mind 130 (518):639-660.
    In this article I critically discuss some recent English language books in African philosophy. Specifically, I expound and evaluate key claims from books published by sub-Saharan thinkers since 2017 that address epistemology, metaphysics, and value theory and that do so in ways of interest to an audience of at least Anglo-American-Australasian analytic philosophers. My aim is not to establish a definitive conclusion about these claims, but rather to facilitate cross-cultural engagement by highlighting their relevance particularly to many western philosophers and (...)
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  36.  2
    Recent Work in African Political and Legal Philosophy.Thaddeus Metz - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (9):1-10.
    In this article I critically survey non-edited books on political and legal philosophy that have been composed by those working in the sub-Saharan African tradition and have appeared in print since 2016. These monographs principally address political, distributive, and criminal justice at the domestic level, with this article recounting the essentials of these texts as well as noting prima facie weaknesses in their positions and gaps in current research agendas. My aims are to enable readers to obtain a bird’s-eye picture (...)
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  37. Recent Work in African Political and Legal Philosophy.Thaddeus Metz - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (9):e12765.
    Philosophy Compass, Volume 16, Issue 9, September 2021.
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  38.  17
    Supernaturalist Analytic Existentialism: Critical Notice of Clifford Williams’ Religion and the Meaning of Life.Thaddeus Metz - 2021 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 89 (2):189-198.
    In this critical notice of Clifford Williams’ Religion and the meaning of life, I focus on his argumentation in favour of the moderate supernaturalist position that, while a meaningful life would be possible in a purely physical world, a much greater meaning would be possible only in a world with God and an eternal afterlife spent close to God. I begin by expounding and evaluating Williams’ views of the physical sources of meaning, providing reason to doubt both that he has (...)
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  39. The Meaning of Life (Second Revised Edition).Thaddeus Metz - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    A 10,000+ word critical overview of analytic philosophy devoted to life's meaning, with some focus on books and more recent works.
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  40.  11
    The Need for Others in Public Policy: An African Approach.Thaddeus Metz - 2021 - In Motsamai Molefe & Chris Allsobrook (eds.), Towards an African Political Philosophy of Needs. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 21-37.
    When reflecting on human need as a moral-political category, it is natural to include some intersubjective conditions. Surely, children need to be socialized, adults need to be recognized, and the poor need to be given certain resources. I point out that there are two different respects in which such intersubjective factors could be considered needs. On the one hand, they might be needed roughly for their own sake, that is, for exemplifying relational values such as caring for others and sharing (...)
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  41.  8
    Ubuntu: The Good Life (Rev. Edn).Thaddeus Metz - 2021 - In Filomena Maggino (ed.), Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research, 2nd edn. Springer.
    Moderately updated version of this encyclopaedia entry.
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  42. What Does an African Ethic of Social Cohesion Entail for Social Distancing?Thaddeus Metz - 2021 - Developing World Bioethics 21 (1):7-16.
    The most prominent strand of moral thought in the African philosophical tradition is relational and cohesive, roughly demanding that we enter into community with each other. Familiar is the view that being a real person means sharing a way of life with others, perhaps even in their fate. What does such a communal ethic prescribe for the coronavirus pandemic? Might it forbid one from social distancing, at least away from intimates? Or would it entail that social distancing is wrong to (...)
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  43.  24
    A Relational Theory of Mental Illness: Lacking Identity and Solidarity.Thaddeus Metz - 2021 - Synthesis Philosophica 71 (1):65-81.
    In this article I aim to make progress towards the philosophical goal of ascertaining what, if anything, all mental illnesses have in common, attempting to unify a large sub-set of them that have a relational or interpersonal dimension. One major claim is that, if we want a promising theory of mental illness, we must go beyond the dominant western accounts of mental illness/health, which focus on traits intrinsic to a person such as pain/pleasure, lethargy/liveliness, fragmentation/integration, and falsehood/authenticity. A second major (...)
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  44.  12
    Why Reconciliation Requires Punishment but Not Forgiveness.Thaddeus Metz - 2021 - In Krisanna Scheiter & Paula Satne (eds.), Conflict and Resolution: The Ethics of Forgiveness, Revenge, and Punishment. Springer.
    Adherents to reconciliation, restorative justice, and related approaches to dealing with social conflict are well known for seeking to minimize punishment, in favor 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 maintain that social reconciliation and similar concepts in fact characteristically require punishment but do not require forgiveness. I argue that a reconciliatory response to crime that includes punitive disavowal (...)
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  45.  27
    Traditional African Religion as a Neglected Form of Monotheism.Thaddeus Metz & Motsamai Molefe - 2021 - The Monist 104 (3):393–409.
    Our aims are to articulate some core philosophical positions characteristic of Traditional African Religion and to argue that they merit consideration as monotheist rivals to standard interpretations of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition. In particular, we address the topics of how God’s nature is conceived, how God’s will is meant to bear on human decision making, where one continues to exist upon the death of one’s body, and how long one is able to exist without a body. For each of these topics, (...)
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  46.  26
    An African Theory of Just Causes for War.Thaddeus Metz - 2020 - In Luis Rodrigues-Cordeiro & Danny Singh (eds.), Comparative Just War Theory. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 131-155.
    In this chapter, I add to the new body of philosophical literature that addresses African approaches to just war by reflecting on some topics that have yet to be considered and by advancing different perspectives. My approach is two-fold. First, I spell out a foundational African ethic, according to which one must treat people’s capacity to relate communally with respect. Second, I derive principles from it to govern the use of force and violence, and compare and contrast their implications for (...)
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  47.  10
    An African Theory of the Point of Higher Education: Communion as an Alternative to Autonomy, Truth, and Citizenship (Repr.).Thaddeus Metz - 2020 - In Ephraim Gwaravanda & Amasa Ndofirepi (eds.), African Higher Education in the 21st Century: Epistemological, Ontological and Ethical Perspectives. Brill/Sense. pp. 122-145.
    Reprint of a chapter that first appeared in Contemporary Philosophical Proposals for the University: Toward a Philosophy of Higher Education (Palgrave 2018).
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  48.  18
    An African Theory of Good Leadership (Repr.).Thaddeus Metz - 2020 - International Journal of Ethical Leadership 7:41-56.
    Shortened version of an article first appearing in the African Journal of Business Ethics (2018).
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  49.  25
    African Theories of Meaning in Life: A Critical Assessment.Thaddeus Metz - 2020 - South African Journal of Philosophy 39 (2):113-126.
    In this article, I expound and assess two theories of meaning in life informed by the indigenous sub-Saharan African philosophical tradition. According to one principle, a life is more meaningful, the more it promotes community with other human persons. According to the other principle, a life is more meaningful, the more it promotes vitality in oneself and others. I argue that, at least upon some refinement, both of these African conceptions of meaning merit global consideration from philosophers, but that the (...)
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  50.  7
    Beyond Legislative Post-Secularism in the West: Custom and Constitution in an African Context.Thaddeus Metz - 2020 - In Uchenna Benedict Okeja (ed.), Religion in the Era of Postsecularism. Routledge. pp. 41-63.
    Much of the debate about post-secularism has presumed a background of Western countries and the sort of statutory law that legislatures should make, and how they should make it, in the light of residents’ religious attitudes and practices. In this chapter I address a fresh context, namely, that of South Africa and the way that courts have interpreted, and should interpret, law in the face of African traditional religions. Specifically, I explicate the fact that, by South Africa's famously progressive Constitution, (...)
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