Ubuntu as a Moral Theory: Reply to Four Critics

  • T Metz


In this article, I respond to questions about, and criticisms of, my article “Toward an African Moral Theory” that have been put forth by Allen Wood, Mogobe Ramose, Douglas Farland and Jason van Niekerk. The major topics I 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 harmonious relationship; what makes a moral theory count as “African”; how the existing literature on African ethics relates to the aim of analytically developing and defending a single foundational moral principle; whether the intuitions I appeal to ground an African moral theory are pro tanto rightmakers or general moral truths; whether the moral theory I defend can capture pro tanto rightness; and whether the best interpretation of African ethics is self-regarding (deeming the only basic moral reason for action to be that it would develop one\'s own valuable human nature) or other-regarding (holding that a certain kind of harmonious relationship between individuals could ground a basic moral reason for action).

South African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 26 (4) 2007: pp. 369-387

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eISSN: 0258-0136