Harmonizing global ethics in the future: a proposal to add south and east to west

Journal of Global Ethics 10 (2):146-155 (2014)
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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 from approaches that currently dominate Western thought, namely those of utility, autonomy and capability. Lacking the space to systematically defend harmony as a fundamental value, it nonetheless urges theorists not to neglect it in future work.

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Thaddeus Metz
University of Pretoria


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