The final ends of higher education in light of an african moral theory

Journal of Philosophy of Education 43 (2):179-201 (2009)
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From the perspective of an African ethic, analytically interpreted as a philosophical principle of right action, what are the proper final ends of a publicly funded university and how should they be ranked? To answer this question, I first provide a brief but inclusive review of the literature on Africanising higher education from the past 50 years, and contend that the prominent final ends suggested in it can be reduced to five major categories. Then, I spell out an intuitively attractive African moral theory and apply it to these five final ends, arguing that three of them are appropriate but that two of them are not. After that, I maintain that the African moral theory prescribes two additional final ends for a public university that are not salient in the literature. Next, I argue that employing the African moral theory as I do enables one to rebut several criticisms of Africanising higher education that have recently been made from a liberal perspective. I conclude by posing questions suitable for future research.

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Thaddeus Metz
University of Pretoria


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