In Christopher Wareham (ed.), Cambridge Handbook of the Ethics of Ageing. Cambridge University Press (forthcoming)

Thaddeus Metz
University of Pretoria
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 characteristic of moral thinking in the contemporary West, neither for prominent philosophies nor the cultures out of which they grew. I suggest that many Anglophone moral philosophers should be given pause by the existence of different perspectives on the part of at least two long-standing philosophies, and conclude by briefly proposing some ways that cross-cultural debate might be undertaken in the future.
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