I studied philosophy at the University of Cape Town (BA, PhD, 1994) and Stellenbosch (MA), and theology at Blackfriars College, Oxford. I lectured in philosophy for some years at the University of Lesotho before moving to UKZN, Durban where I’m currently a Senior Research Associate. Previously I was a Dominican friar in Lesotho and at Blackfriars, Oxford. I have taught Mathematics and English and Religion at schools in the Cape Town area and in Soweto, Gauteng.
Research InterestsRecent publications indicate my current areas of research:
Religion in a scientific and secular culture (2011 “Why Theology Can and Should be Taught at a Secular University” Journal of Philosophy of Education 45);
Ethics (2012 “More Than Tolerance: ethics for a multicultural society” Synthesis Philosophica 54);
Framing philosophy in the context of a developing African country (2013 “Can African Traditional Culture Offer Something of Value to Global Approaches in Teaching Philosophy and Religion?” Acta Academica 45).
Current research projects
I am currently writing a book on ethics in the context of developing countries entitled, The Importance of Virtue, based on mostly published articles on ethics over a number of years. It is an attempt to explain the neo-Aristotelian ethics of Alisdair MacIntyre, in particular his critique of modernity, and apply this to the context of developing countries. Chapters include discussions of MacIntyre’s virtue ethics, Aristotle’s foundation of ethics, debates around liberalist and communitarian approaches, multiculturalism, ethics of ubuntu, and applied ethical topics to do with the legal profession, mercenaries, music professionals and business ethics.
Currently at the publishers is a book I have edited of essays (published over a period of forty years) by Augustine Shutte on natural theology, entitled The Christian God. Shutte is the author of Philosophy for Africa (Cape Town, 1993), The Mystery of Humanity (Pmb, 1993), Ubuntu. An ethic for a new South Africa (Pmb, 2003), and The Quest for Humanity in Science and Religion (Pmb, 2006).
A further collection of essays is planned on framing philosophy in the context of a developing African country. This involves a double critique: that of the ethics of modernity associated with Alisdair MacIntyre and Charles Taylor; and that of scientism developed most fully by the Thomist philosopher Bernard Lonergan.
Researching for publication are essays on “Religion and Secularisation in the novels of Pamuk, Dastgir, and Camus”; on “A Thomist understanding of human willing”; and on “Guilt, Race and Forgiveness”.
Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics;
Ancient Philosophy: Plato’s Gorgias and Aristotle’s Ethics;
Philosophy of Religion;
Theory of Knowledge;
Existentialism and Camus’ The Plague;
History of Modern Philosophy: Hume and Kant;
Ethics for Engineers;
Life, Sexuality and Death;
Religion and a Secular Culture;
Philosophy and Society;
Aristotle, Agency and Ethics; Taylor’s Sources of the Self.
PublicationsOn ethics and professionalism in the context of development:
2013 “More Than Tolerance: ethics for a multicultural society”, Synthesis Philosophica 54: 363-376
2010 “Attention, People of Earth! Aristotelian Ethics and the Problem of Exclusion” S. A. J. of Philosophy 29: 357-372.
2007 “Does Character Matter? Guardian values in an age of commerce” Theoria 113: 53-75
2006 “Character and Professionalism in the Context of Developing Countries: the example of mercenaries”, Ethique et Economique 4. http://ethique-economique.com
2005 “Questions Regarding Tradition and Modernity in Contemporary Amakwaya Practice” (with Markus Detterbeck) Transformation 59: 26-44
2002 “Military Obedience: Does the Answer lie in Professionalism?” Professional Ethics 10: 207-230
2002 “Making Sense of Disgrace”, in Giddy, P. (ed), Protest and Engagement, 117-130.
2000 “A Critical Ethic of Transformation: dialogue with Marx and Aristotle,” Theoria, 95: 79-93.
1997 “The University as Bureaucracy: Ethical Reflections on a Lecturers’ Strike’, National Univ. of Lesotho J. of Research 7:34-50
1997 “A Communitarian Framework For Liberal Social Practices?” S.A. J. of Philosophy, 16: 150-157
Lonergan-related papers on Science and Religion
2011 “Special Divine Action and How to do Philosophy of Religion” S. A. J. of Philosophy 30: 143-154.
2011 “Why theology can and should be taught at a secular university: Lonergan on intellectual conversion”, J. of Philosophy of Education 45: 527-543.
2009 “Objectivity and Subjectivity: rethinking the philosophy syllabus” S. A. J. of Philosophy 28: 359-376
2006 “Common features in the structure of inquiry in science and religion” J. of Theology of Southern Africa 124: 56-69.
2005 “Does the Growth of Science in a Culture Necessarily Undermine the Tradition?”, in Shutte, A. (ed) The Quest for Humanity in Science and Religion (Pietermaritzburg: Cluster):
2003 “Making Sense of the World in Scientific and Pre-scientific Cultures”, in Cornel Du Toit (ed.) The Integrity of the human person in an African context (Pta: Research Inst. for Theology and Religion): 85-106
1996 “The African University and the Social Sciences: the Contribution of Lonergan’s Epistemological Theory”, Method: J. of Lonergan Studies Vol 14:133-153.
On teaching philosophy in an African Context:
2013 “Can African Traditional Culture Offer Something of Value to Global Approaches in Teaching Philosophy and Religion?” Acta Academica 45: 154-172
2012 “‘Philosophy for Children’ in Africa: Developing a Framework”, S. A. J. of Education 32: 15-25.
2012 “The Ideal of African Scholarship and its Implications for Introductory Philosophy: the example of Placide Tempels” S. A. J. of Philosophy 31: 504-516.
2002 (ed.) Protest and Engagement: Philosophy after Apartheid at an historically black South African university. Washington, D.C.: Council for Research in Values and Philosophy.
2002 “Philosophy and the Ghetto Mentality. A university in service of students from disadvantaged backgrounds,” in Giddy, P., Protest and Engagement: 1-8.
2002 “African Traditional Thought and Growth in Personal Unity”, International Philosophical Quarterly 42: 315-327
1997 “Political Wisdom and Rational Method”, Ch 17 in Mouton, J. and J.Muller (eds) Knowledge, Method and the Public Good (Pta: HSRC): 267-294
1995 “Philosophy For Africa: Another View”, Social Dynamics 21: 117-131.
2014 “Virtues in a Post-traditional Society”, Acta Academica
2014 “Proportionalist Thinking in Business Ethics” African J of Business Ethics
Some Review Articles
2011, “Harrison (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Science and Religion”
Metapsych. Online; 2010,”Moeller, The Moral Fool. A Case for Amorality,”
Metapsychology Online; 2009, “Wisnewski, The Politics of Agency“
Metapsych. Online; 2008, “Prem Xalxo, Complementarity of Human and Other Life Forms in Nature“, Ethical Perspectives 15: 552-554
Some op-ed newspaper pieces:
2013, “UKZN has lost sight of what it’s for” The Mercury; 2011, “Mugabe and the Catholic Church” The Mercury; 2010, “Good Governance is Needed in State and Church” The Mercury; “A Crime Against Hope”, The Cape Times; 2008, “The Ethics of Naming Public Roads”, The Mercury; “Don’t make rules, rather make friends” The Mercury; “It’s good to talk about sex” The Witness. 2007, “Ethics of Death” The Witness.
“Dialogue with Atheism”, 2014, We Are All Church SA, Cape Town.
Current: Manuel Nhaquila, MA, St Augustine College, “African Communitarianism and Human Freedom: A critical examination in the light of Crosby’s philosophy of the human person”
Graduated: Daan Den Hollander, MA 2010 UKZN, “Truth Claims in Science and Religion, with reference to Michael Polanyi”; Sango Mwanahewa, PhD 2004 UKZN, “Foundations of Knowledge in a Multicultural Context”.