Browsing Masters Degrees (Philosophy) by Title
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- ItemDie aard en belang van die literere vormgewing in 'Also sprach Zarathustra' van Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 1978-12) Van Niekerk, Marlene; Esterhuyse, W. P.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.No abstract available.
- ItemAccountable to God alone? : theologising with a hammer : the HIV/AIDS crisis, condoms and Catholicism(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2003-03) Nicholls, Gordon Charles; Van Niekerk, Anton A.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy. Centre for Applied Ethics.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Theological positions are usually considered as coterminous with ethical considerations. That which the Church has earnestly considered in the light of what is believed to be God's will, as elucidated in religious texts and through prayerful contemplation, are considered to be ethical without contradiction. Recently the Roman Catholic Church adopted a position forbidding the use of condoms as protection from contracting HIV/AIDS. Instead, the Church has declared that the way to controlling the AIDS pandemic is via sexual abstinence for the unmarried and sexual faithfulness within marriage. It is acknowledged that it is not possible for all the church's theological positions to be driven by pragmatic concerns within society. Nor can a church easily be seen to be promoting sex outside of marriage by recommending the indiscriminate use of condoms. However, the Roman Catholic Church, by forbidding the use of contraception, puts itself in an ethically questionable light relative to other Christian churches. The Catholic Church needs to reconsider its stance on contraception from first principles, divorced from dogmatic beliefs and practices which were derived by men and which have endured beyond their usefulness or theological veracity. It is evident that a church should not adhere to dogmas that are ungodly in their impact and ethically questionable in their import. If a church needs to revise its dogmatic stance on such issues, it should have the courage to do so. This research considers whether the stance of the Catholic Church on condoms can be considered ethical. The position of the Catholic Church is considered critically from a variety of philosophical, empirical and ethical viewpoints. In so doing, it highlights the principled and practical problems of resolving differing moral positions that cross the religious and secular divide. The approach adopted is one of an applied ethical nature, given the probable effects of participating in unprotected sex. Pregnancy and contracting HIV/AIDS are the likely outcomes of not using condoms, and these conditions will create enormous problems for the individual concerned, her, or his, family, as well as for the greater society. The position taken in this research is that the Catholic Church's stand on abstinence before marriage and faithfulness in marriage, as the answer to the HIV/AIDS crisis, would be a realistic ethical position, if, and only if, it was at all feasible and realisable in practice. However, it is the contention of the author, based on empirical considerations, that the idealistic stance taken by the Catholic Church is out of touch with the realities in our contemporary South African society and is doomed to failure. Given this perspective, the Catholic stance is morally questionable, as, if sexual relationships continue to occur outside of marriage, and if condoms are not used, the result will be unwanted pregnancies, HIV infections of both mothers and their babies, crises for families and society at large, and ultimately widespread death from AIDS. Given the pandemic facing South Africa, the Catholic position in banning the use of condoms, is ethically questionable and morally suspect. The Church needs to be called to account for the implications of its dogmatic stance. The HIV/AIDS pandemic is simply too serious for a public institution, such as the Catholic Church, to be involved in perpetuating theological niceties and holding idealised positions. The Church is not divorced from the society it exists in and a realistic, responsible and accountable response is needed in the current context of hundreds of thousands of persons facing death from AIDS and its related diseases.
- ItemAddressing the problem of sexual violence in South Africa : a philosophical analysis of equality and sexual difference in the constitution and the new sexual offences act(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2013-12) Coetzee, Azille Alta; Du Toit, H. L.; Botha, Henk; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In this thesis, the South African legal system's attempt to address sexual violence is explored through the lens of the work of the French feminist philosopher, Luce Irigaray. It will be argued that the South African equality jurisprudence lays the foundation for a strongly Irigarayan approach to the transformation of sex and gender relations in so far as our right to equality can be interpreted as being underpinned by an acknowledgment of embodiment, sexual particularity and difference. Our Constitution envisions equality as a value informed by difference rather than sameness and, in accordance with Irigaray’s work, it can be said that the implication of this is that the pursuit of the transformation of sex and gender relations on the one hand, and an acknowledgment of sexual difference on the other, are not mutually exclusive, but that sex equality instead calls for a fundamental recognition of sexual difference and an authentic response to the demands thereof. However, it will be argued that our newly reformed sexual violence legislation undermines the progress made on a constitutional level by entrenching a problematic approach to sexual difference in the definition of the crime of rape. This is done through firstly, defining the crime of rape in gender-neutral terms and secondly, retaining the concept of consent as the distinguishing characteristic between sex and rape. I will argue that through these features, our sexual violence legislation reflects the most basic mistakes that Irigaray identifies with the law. It will be argued that the legislation, on the one hand, denies sexual difference in a way that is prejudicial to women through its gender-neutral language, while at the same time, through the concept of consent, (re-)introducing a hierarchical construction of masculine and feminine sexuality into the Act in terms of which femininity is construed as derivative of, and inferior to, masculinity. Furthermore, the combination of the gender neutrality of the definition and the concept of consent exacerbates the situation, in so far as the gender neutrality masks the harmful construal of sexual difference that is incorporated in the definition through the concept of consent. Accordingly, judged from an Irigarayan perspective, the South African sexual violence legislation is deeply problematic. In addition, the legislation undercuts important constitutional developments, in so far as it ignores the constitutional insights that, firstly, sexual violence is a problem of sex inequality, and that secondly, the pursuit of the transformation of sex and gender relations is served, rather than undercut by a concern with particularities. On this basis, it is argued that the South African sexual violence legislation should be amended so that the concept of consent is removed and the crime of rape is defined in sex-specific language (while still allowing for male victims and female perpetrators) that facilitates judicial understanding of the complexities of the crime of rape.
- ItemAn African leadership paradigm : the missing link for productivity and empowerment - the case of Lesotho(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2001-12) Ntsike, Austeria Letholetseng; Van der Merwe, W. L.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy. Centre for Applied Ethics.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: An African leadership paradigm: The missing link for productivity and empowerment in Business - The case of Lesotho is a study done in response to socio-economic problems facing Lesotho due to a lack of, or an out-of-step kind of leadership prevailing in the business sector in that country. This study is a mixture of theory and application. The chronological framework of production, empowerment and leadership practices in Lesotho is presented so as to create the context within which the study is conducted. The examples of leadership practices and theories explaining the leadership behaviour of past and contemporary African leaders are also presented because an African leadership paradigm relies more on skills and wisdom than on techniques and specific knowledge. Explaining this paradigm therefore has to be done through presenting real experience, not through a list of principles. This study takes the position that there is a need for leadership transformation in Lesotho business. This transformation should represent a fundamental shift in the relationship of business with individuals and the society as whole. This implies therefore that Lesotho businesses have to reconnect with the people that comprise them. The African leadership paradigm described in this study is argued to be an appropriate approach that would help realize this shift because it emphasizes collaboration, open lines of communication in all directions throughout the company, and advocates creativity and innovation. Furthermore, the organizational structure advocated by the African leadership paradigm is seen as a means to achieve objectives, not an end in itself. The structure is flatter, formed around teams and task forces. It has also been observed that the view of business leadership in Lesotho is currently a mechanistic one, and it is now time to replace this mechanistic view with a more organic one. The latter would recognize the biological nature of business and the sanctity of individual human life. Moreover, today business has become a very different place. International boundaries have faded as business takes on a more global perspective. The technology of the information age has contracted the time it takes to communicate and make decisions. The African leadership paradigm takes a panoramic view of this change and finds its place in it. The integration provided in this study describes an African perspective framework for leadership, thus placing the African leadership paradigm firmly in perspective and linking the entire framework to actual leadership practices. It is argued in this study that an African leadership paradigm should be used as a guiding approach in the business sector in Lesotho. This would help in determining how this approach fits into the total organizational picture. It is believed that a balanced effort to improve leadership qualities would yield the most effective motivational climate in the business sector. It is also argued that an African leadership paradigm should not be regarded as something extreme over and above the duties of leaders, but rather as a way of leadership, a way of doing better what is done now. It is an approach to increase the effectiveness of the business and to fully utilize human resources in solving work problems. Forces of change such as globalisation and smart partnerships and how they transform the way business is done, are also observed in this study. These forces have a major influence on whether a business could either succeed or go down in flames. The study suggests that the focus of Lesotho business during this transition period should be to find or create partnerships that would provide profitable business relationships and raise competitiveness. This is because the world is increasingly becoming a global market where integration across traditional borders is evident in almost every dimension of life. Therefore the focus should be on getting beyond organizational boundaries to more profitable, more desirable relationships such as smart partnerships. These partnerships enlarge the pie and in doing so let each party emerge as winner. The partners open up the borders between their companies and this enables them to tap into the productivity that lies between their establishments, and as a result they make substantial mutual gains. Lesotho business leaders are therefore urged to transcend boundaries in order to survive. It is also observed that globalisation poses ethical challenges for business and hence the call for business ethical codes and philosophical moral reasoning such as utilitarianism and deontology for business in Lesotho. This compels Lesotho not only to adapt to the globalisation of the world economy but to a new leadership paradigm that would facilitate ethical business behaviour, that is, the proposed African leadership paradigm. In a nutshell this study assumes that leadership in Lesotho should have exposure to effective principles of leadership and that they need to acquire skills and attitudes advocated by the proposed African leadership paradigm. The emphasis should be on motivation, communication, personal effectiveness, collaboration, decision-making and coordination of functions.
- ItemThe African perception of death, with special reference to the Zulu : a critical analysis(Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2000-03) Jali, Nozizwe Martha; Van Niekerk, Anton A.; University of Stellenbosch. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Death is a universal phenomenon and each culture develops its own ways of coping with it. The reaction of people to death also involves a complex network of relationships. To appreciate their responses to this phenomenon requires an understanding of the socio-cultural context in which these responses occur because they influence the individual's responses to issues of life and death. In the African context and indeed in the Zulu culture, death is a continuation of life in the world hereafter. The deceased renews his relationship with his ancestral relatives. Various rites and ceremonies are performed to mark his reunion with his ancestral relatives. For the living, the rites and ceremonies mark a passage from one phase of life to another requiring some readjustment. The belief in the existence of life after death also affects the nature of these rites and ceremonies, the social definition of bereavement and the condition of human hope. The belief in the existence of the ancestors forms an integral part African religion and its importance cannot be over-estimated. This belief flows from the strong belief in the continuation of life after death, and the influence the deceased have on the lives of their living relatives. The contact between the living and the living dead is established and maintained by making offerings and sacrifices to the ancestors. The ancestors, therefore, become intermediaries with God at the apex and man at the bottom of the hierarchical structure. However, for the non-African, the relationship seems to indicate the non-existence of God and the worshipping of the ancestors. Women play a pivotal role in issues of life and death, because African people recognize their dependence and the procreative abilities of women to reconstitute and to extend the family affected by the death of one of its members.Social change and Westernisation have affected the way the African people view death. Social changes have been tacked onto tradition. A contemporary trend is to observe the traditional and Christian rites when death has occurred. The deceased is then buried in accordance with Christian, as well as traditional rites. The belief in the survival of some element of human personality is a matter of belief and faith. It lessens the pain and sorrow that is felt upon the death of a loved one by giving the believer hope that one day he will be reunited with his loved one and thereby easing the fear and anxiety of death. Thus, the purpose of this investigation is to critically analyse the African perception of death and its implications with special reference to the Zulu people. The objective is to expose the complexities, diversities and the symbolism of death. The essence is to demystify the African perception of death and to indicate that the perception of death is not necessarily unique to African people in general and to the Zulu people in particular. Other groups like Christians have perceptions of death particularly with regard to the world hereafter. The aim of the investigation of the topic is to reveal some of the underlying cultural beliefs in death, enhance those beliefs that are beneficial to society and discard those that are anachronistic. Since culture is dynamic, not everything about African tradition will be transmitted to the future generation; there is bound to be cultural exchange.
- ItemAI & Bioterrorism: an overview of the ethical risks involved(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2021-12) Erasmus, Tristesse; Smit, J. P.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In modern day society, we are becoming all the more dependent on technology and its continued advancements. Technological advancement, however, is not a wholly beneficial issue. The dual nature of technology is highlighted with research and developments that can be both beneficial and detrimental to society. The dual nature thus refers to technological advancements and developments or discoveries in research that have the potential or are likely to harm society just as much as a society can benefit from this innovation. This thesis will focus specifically on the dual nature of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its related technologies to highlight the potential for AI- enabled bioterrorism. A focus on our ethical obligations as members of society, scientists, doctors, academics, theorists, and the like will be present throughout. As the dual nature of AI is not something that can be overcome fully, the issue at hand pertains to the prevention and mitigation of bioterror incidents. What ethical measures should be put in place to prevent, detect, mitigate, and respond to AI-enabled bioterror incidents? AI has a long history of doom and gloom attributed to it, where the imaginings of filmmakers and scientists came together to determine that AI could be both our saving grace and our undoing. The notion of the AI-overlord that will become conscious and destroy humanity will not be the focus of this thesis. This thesis will focus on the notion that bioterrorism planning and perpetuation is eased with the use of biological data and AI. While it is entirely true that bioterror can be perpetuated without access to biological data, the use of biological data enables the attack to be far more accurate, efficient, and effective. Further, by using the currently available AI systems to perform computational tasks on this data, the process of planning and perpetuating a bioterror attack is sped up exponentially. I focus specifically on AI-enabled bioterror, aided by biological data, as bioterror incidents have seen a rapid increase since the 1990s. This forecasts that bioterror will either continue increasing at the same rate or increase over time and reflects the concern of this thesis directly. As technology advances, biological data and AI both contribute to the exponential threat of bioterrorism. This thesis is an overview of four distinct but wholly interrelated topics, namely Data Mining, Biological Data, Bioinformatics, and AI, and the ethical considerations involved in each level of AI evolution due to the prevalence of the dual nature of technology. This will serve as the reasoning behind the several recommendations that will be made in the final chapter, each focusing on a distinct aspects of bioterror prevention, mitigation, and response. AI is a dual nature technology, as are the technologies that lead to its development. However, the focus on evil, conscious, super AI is misguided and ignores very real and current issues that affect us today. This kind of AI simply is needed for the perpetuation of biological attacks. No matter how much time and effort we put into the ethical development of AI and its related technologies, the dual nature will remain. Therefore, we must do our best even when we know that we will never fully succeed. If we apply ethical considerations to each level of AI development, we will be in the best possible position to respond to bioterror ethically and effectively.
- ItemAllowing the aged autonomy to act or abstain : ethical considerations related to invasive medical procedures in the elderly(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2020-12) Moolman, Minee; Van Niekerk, Anton A.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Health Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy: Centre for Applied Ethics.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Modern medical technology has enabled the use of invasive medical procedures in elderly patients in an attempt to extend life or to improve quality of life. This has created significant complexity in both clinical management and ethical decision making regarding these patients. From antiquity, the focus of medicine has been to relieve suffering and to provide care, as opposed to the modern focus on cure. This shift in the focus of medicine makes ethical considerations regarding the use of invasive medical procedures in the elderly especially important, as technical advances in medicine could create unrealistic expectations of cure (for both patients and caregivers) and if utilised inappropriately, cause failure to suitably care for the elderly. The aim of this thesis is to conceptualise a framework of factors that aids ethical deliberation when invasive medical procedures in elderly patients are considered, representing a standard of due care. The factors incorporated in the framework are identified by evaluating the current ethical landscape regarding invasive medical procedures in the elderly within the context of principlism. Principlism refers to the principlist approach as outlined by Tom Beauchamp and James Childress in Principles of Biomedical Ethics. Despite the current focus on patient autonomy in bioethics and in the medical literature, there is a general lack of awareness by clinicians of the factors that drive an increase in intensity of treatment resulting in invasive medical procedures in the elderly. Narrow views of these factors predominate in the literature and no attempt is made to consolidate all these factors into a conceptual framework for ease of ethical deliberation. It is argued that familiarity with all the factors that influence the use of invasive medical procedures in the elderly, would enable a healthcare practitioner to take these factors into account during ethical deliberations. Reference to a framework that incorporates all these factors would result in more appropriate care of patients, congruent with the principles of respect for autonomy, beneficence and nonmaleficence. Awareness of these factors would also promote the principle of justice by facilitating fair distribution of available resources, as less pressure will be placed on the system if unwanted and unwarranted interventions are avoided.
- ItemAnalysis of the policy and process of voter registration in South Africa in the 1999 general elections(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2000-04) Mlitwa, Nhlanhla Boyfriend Wilton; Kotze, H. J.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The democratic order is still in its early evolutionary stages in South Africa. Although the success of the 1994 democratic elections kindled hope for a promising future, democracy needs to be safeguarded if it is to develop in South Africa. Safeguarding a democracy requires a constant scrutiny of governing policies and procedures to ensure that they remain conducive to its positive development. Of fundamental importance to the transmission of democracy is an electoral system and its policies. Any electiongoverning policy that reduces public confidence in the electoral system is not conducive to the development of a democracy. This study analyses the policy of voter registration as it directly impacts on the format of an election. Since this policy is being applied for the first time in the short history legitimate democratic elections in South Africa, the study looks beyond the noble objectives as given by the policymakers. The lEC and the Government argue that the policy is aimed at improving the legitimacy of the electoral system by eliminating the ID related forms of electoral fraud. The significance of the study lies in its critical analysis of the actual policymaking process of this legislation, as well as its implementation. In order to assess the democratic legitimacy of the policymaking stage, the study takes a closer look at the roles of all the stakeholders in the policymaking process. Further, the study describes the constitutional controversies of the provisions of the policy, as well as its actual registration process. The understanding behind the latter description is that a policy is of no use if it cannot be implemented. In short, by describing, explaining and analysing the policy from its historical, legislative, and implementation phases, the study gives an insight into how this new policy relates to the development of the South African democracy. Although this study found no conclusive evidence of the negative impact of the policy on the outcome of the election, the nature of debates, the practical difficulties of implementation by the IEC, as well as the Court debates have all raised new questions that could require further analysis.
- ItemAnimal Liberation : 'n kritiese bespreking vanuit 'n filosofies-veekundige perspektief(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2012-12) Kluyts, Johan Francois; Hattingh, J. P.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: 1. The purpose of the first chapter was to give a short introduction to the study. Philosophy is the search for wisdom; to know what a virtuous life is and to know what the morally correct thing to do is. Our lifelong relationship with animals, our attitudes towards them and the ways we treat them are some of the issues that beg philosophers to think. An important question in this regard is if it is morally correct to eat meat or should humans become vegetarian. To answer this question the „Animal Liberation‟ argument, as presented by Peter Singer, was critically analyzed. Does this argument balance our concern for animals with human interests? 2. To understand our attitude towards animals, reviews of the Judeo-Christian and philosophical traditions were done in Chapter 2. The different views related to these traditions were also discussed. The Judeo-Christian view is based on the interpretation of Genesis and the idea of human dominion. Philosophical views on the moral status of animals and moral consideration of animals can be classified in three categories namely indirect theories, direct-but-unequal theories and equal moral status theories. 3. The nature and extent of the current beef production debate was discussed in Chapter 3. The most important issues were the environmental impact of beef production, socio-economic and human health concerns as well as ethical issues related to the inhumane treatment of animals. It was then concluded that most attacks on beef production were biased and did not take context into account. 4. The „Animal Liberation‟ argument was critically analyzed from a logical perspective in Chapter 4, 5 and 6 by using the so called FRISCO approach – with emphasis on the Focus of the argument, Reasons given for the conclusion, the quality of Inferences, the Situation or context of the argument as well as the Clarity of the argument. This argument lacks objectivity and rationality. It includes a number of fallacies, false statements and emotional language. Ideas, concepts and principles were not applied consistently. The argument was therefore found to be unsound. 5. In Chapter 7 the conclusion was stated namely that the “animal liberation” approach could not formulate a sound argument for a vegetarian diet. The „Animal Liberation‟ argument was also unable to balance our concern for animals with human interests, in the process compromising human dignity and freedom. However, human attitudes towards animals and the treatment of animals need to be improved.
- ItemArmoede in 'n postmodernistiese Afrika(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2004-03) Van Deventer, Francois Abraham; Cilliers, Paul; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy. Centre for Applied Ethics.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis looks at poverty in the Third World and tries per implication to understand how the economy functions. Finally it suggests solutions for the poverty problem. The first chapter looks at the definition of poverty and why this subject is important to study. It also mentions that there are two ways to look at the poverty problem. The first is the structural thesis and the second the modernisation thesis. The second chapter looks at what the economy is and how it functions. It is emphasised that the economy should be considered to be a complex ecosystem and not a mechanical machine. The third chapter points out that there was a change in focus in the passed 50 years. Now education and information have become much more important. This change is known as postmodernism or globalisation and resulted in the decline of the power of the state. The economic success of countries like the USA, Britain, Japan and Germany is considered in the fourth chapter. The following factors are considered: • The geographic location of a region includes phenomena like the rainfall, natural disasters and mineral wealth. • Historical factors like colonial oppression and the self image of groups. • Diseases and nutrition which makes individuals less productive. • Cultural factors like self-discipline, diligence and an over emphasis of the supernatural • Property rights • Communalism and social capital • State intervention • Technology which makes it possible to produce more with less This chapter also looks at how these different factors interact together and makes the functioning of the complex economic system possible. In the fifth chapter we look at possible solutions for the poverty problem. It is pointed out that the “annexation of the means of production” is no solution. The ignoring of the problem is also rejected as no solution. The renewal of people’s mind is put forward as the solution. The last chapter has a look at the conclusions of the thesis.
- ItemAn assessment of the relationship between integrated reports and environmental, social and governance disclosures in the mining sector in South Africa(2021-12) Dube, Xolani; Woermann, Minka; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy: Centre for Applied Ethics.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The primary objective of my thesis is to assess the effectiveness of integrated reports in addressing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) matters in the South African mining sector with a special focus on JSE listed mining companies. Integrated reporting evolved from sustainability reports and the aim was, in part, to address ESG concerns through adequate reporting. Integrated reports are expected to be a platform whereby the business community can communicate effectively with stakeholders through quality disclosures. The study employs a secondary data approach in which two indices are used to test the relationship between integrated reports and the quality of ESG disclosures. These are the Ernst & Young (EY) Excellence in Integrated Reporting survey and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s (JSE) Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) index results for 2011 and 2018 which I evaluate to assess if the quality of disclosures improved between 2011 and 2018. Specifically, I use the results from 2011 and 2018 to determine if the quality of ESG disclosures improved because of the introduction of integrated reports. EY survey results show that the quality of disclosures is not improving; mining companies have not registered an improvement since the year 2011. This is however inconsistent with the findings of my literature review. This suggests that more research is needed to discern the benefits of integrated reports.
- ItemDie ateistiese oplossing vir die probleem van die kwaad(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2002-04) Moore, Willem; Van Niekerk, Anton A.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study comprises a survey of the atheist solution to the problem of evil that has occasionally in the past been suggested by philosophers, but has largely been neglected in the philosophy of religion. Against this background, the study has two main objectives. It focusses in the first place on the reasons upon which philosophers like Mackie and McCloskey regard the giving up of one or more of the attributes of God in theism as an adequate solution to the problem of evil, considered to be the strongest argument against the rationality of theistic belief. What the study however would like to add to this objective, is to point to the existence of an even more fundamental reason upon which it can be claimed that the problem of evil can be solved along this way and that the emotional pressure so typical of this problem can be relieved without any serious implications for the belief in God. Concerning the more negative orientated of these reasons, it is shown that the latter revolves around the concept of the logical inconsistency of the theistic theory that can truly be regarded as the rationale of the atheistic argument known as the problem of evil. Furthermore, this concept also represents the cornerstone of the rejection of theistic solutions to this problem by Mackie and others as inadequate. In focussing on the origins of these reasons, it is shown that although the roots of the problem of evil is to be found in pre-Christian times and it continued to be a point of discussion throughout the whole of the Apostolic Age and the Middle Ages, it was the period of the Enlightenment and in particular the legacy of David Hume that became the strongest inspiration of the atheist rejection of theism in modern times. Concerning the more positive orientated of these reasons, the focus is on the efforts of philosophers that have been following the suggestions of Hume and that have against the background of the deficiencies of the theistic solutions to the problem of evil, started to experiment with solutions wherein at least one of the constituting propositions of the problem of evil is rejected. It is also argued that the way to these experiments has been paved by the contributions of Mill and Geach and that the latter encouraged philosophers to also belabour the problem of evil from an atheistic point of view. Against this background, the final focus is on the second objective of the study, namely to show that there exists an even more fundamental reason upon which it can be claimed that the problem of evil can be solved along this way and that the emotional pressure so typical of this problem can be relieved without any serious implications for the belief in God.
- ItemAttenuating the problem of moral luck : how moral luck either does not exist or does not create a paradox for our moral systems(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University., 2020-03) Bock, Ivan; De Villiers-Botha, Tanya; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In the 1970’s Bernard Williams and Thomas Nagel formally introduced the problem of moral luck. Moral luck can be understood as the seeming paradox between the control principle and the moral judgements we confer on others. The control principle states that an agent can only be held morally responsible for an action if, and only if, said agent had control over it. Contrary to this, we often do judge people for many things out of their control. The consequences of our actions, the circumstances we find ourselves in, and our own characters are all things we either wholly or partially lack control over, yet, we hold people responsible for these things. This lack of control and accompanying moral judgements are what is referred to as “moral luck”, and we must therefore either conclude that agents cannot be held responsible for their actions, or that we can hold people responsible for things out of their control, both being framed as problems. Here, I will attempt to give a solution to the problem of moral luck. I will do this by discussing some of the most influential writings on the problem, each section of the thesis focusing on a separate type of luck, addressing the mistakes philosophers have made while inferring that moral luck is real. I will argue that each type of moral luck only exists because we have misunderstood important concepts, and once we revise our conception of control, agency, and responsibility the problem of moral luck disappears. In particular, I will argue that 1) Resultant luck is only a problem because we are focusing on the consequences of actions rather than the intentions of the agent, 2) Circumstantial luck is only a problem because we fallaciously transfer the luck of the world onto moral considerations, and 3) Constitutive luck is only a problem because we are misapplying the concept of control onto character. The thesis will also include a section on relevant implication if I am successful in solving the paradox, including theoretical and practical implications. My conclusion will thus be, contrary to the thesis of moral luck, that we can still hold agents morally responsible without having to reject the control principle, however, this is only possible if we accept revisions to important moral concepts.
- ItemAuthenticity of informed consent in anaesthesia : ethical reflection on the dilemma of informed consent in anaesthesia(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University., 2020-03) Potgieter, Helet Elizabeth; De Roubaix, Malcolm; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Informed consent is the process by which the treating health care provider discloses appropriate information to a competent patient so that the patient may make a voluntary choice to accept or refuse treatment (Appelbaum 2007: 1834). Health Care Professionals should obtain informed consent from the patient before proceeding with the proposed treatment. Therefore, the anaesthesiologist should obtain informed consent from the patient before proceeding with the anaesthetic. The requirement of informed consent implies that certain pre-requisites should be met. The patient should be competent to understand the information given to him/her. The patient should be adequately informed and thereby be able to decide, without being influenced, and should also have the right to refuse the treatment. These requirements of obtaining informed consent prompted this investigation into the authenticity of informed consent in anaesthesia and the ethical dilemma faced by the anaesthesiologist. In order to examine this dilemma in anaesthesia the thesis firstly investigates the origin and establishment of informed consent, both in biomedical ethics and in the law. It starts by investigating the concept of autonomy and the development of respect for autonomy as the basic premise for the development of the informed consent process and elucidates the move away from the paternalistic approach in medicine to the current patient centred approach. To expound the unique nature of informed consent consultation in the peri-operative environment, anaesthesia as a speciality is examined. This investigation into the history and origin of anaesthesia leads to an acknowledgment of the unique moral status of the anaesthetised patient. The patient transits from the patient-as-person to the-patient-as-body while undergoing anaesthesia, as was alluded to by the first users of anaesthesia who experienced this transition firsthand. This unique moral status questions the validity of consent in this exceptional environment. The unique ethical dilemma the anaesthetists faces in the peri-operative setting is further investigated, keeping in mind the requirements for informed consent as stipulated in bioethical literature as well as in legal and regulatory guidelines. The guidance of current thought leaders in informed consent, as well as bioethical principles as published in bioethical literature are used as tools to examine the dilemma of informed consent in anaesthesia. In an attempt to find ethical solutions to this dilemma, ethical alternatives to informed consent in anaesthesiology are investigated. Phronesis and the ethics of responsibility, virtue ethics as well as medical professionalism offers some solutions to the ethical dilemma, and if promulgated could alter the construct of informed consent in anaesthesiology as it currently exists. The unique moral status that being anaesthetised infers upon a patient also has interesting potential implications for altering the construct of anaesthetic informed consent. Lastly practical solutions to satisfy the responsibilities that current legal, regulatory and bioethical guidelines place on the anaesthesiologist are investigated. Ultimately the reality of the difficulties in obtaining authentic informed consent in anaesthesia remains a dilemma in its current form and one looks forward to future development in the bioethical and legal fields to be able to develop an authentic anaesthetic informed consent consultation.
- ItemAutonomous weapons systems: the permissible use of lethal force, international humanitarian law and arms control(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2017-12) Herbert, Carmen Kendell; De Villiers-Botha, Tanya; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH SUMMARY: This thesis examines both the ethical and legal issues associated with the use of fully autonomous weapons systems. Firstly, it addresses the question of whether or not an autonomous weapon may lawfully use lethal force against a target in armed conflict, given the constraints of International Humanitarian Law, and secondly, the question of the appropriate loci of responsibility for the actions of such machines. This dissertation first clarifies the terminology associated with autonomous weapons systems, which includes a discussion on artificial intelligence, the difference between automation and autonomy, and the difference between partially and fully autonomous systems. The structure is such that the legal question of the permissible use of lethal force is addressed first, which includes discussion on the current International Humanitarian Law requirements of proportionality and distinction. Thereafter a discussion on potential candidates for responsibility (and consequentially liability) for the actions of autonomous weapons that violate the principles of International Humanitarian Law follows. Addressing the aforementioned questions is critical if we are to decide whether to use these weapons and how we could use them in a manner that is both legal and ethical. The position here is that the use of autonomous weapons systems is inevitable, thus the best strategy to ensure compliance with International Humanitarian Law is to forge arms control measures that address the associated issues explored in this dissertation. The ultimate aim in asking the associated legal and ethical questions is to bring attention to areas where the law is currently underequipped to deal with this new technology, and thus to make recommendations for future legal reform to control the use of autonomous weapons systems and ensure compliance with the existing principles of International Humanitarian Law.
- ItemBeing, eating and being eaten : deconstructing the ethical subject(Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2006-12) Vrba, Minka; Cilliers, Paul; University of Stellenbosch. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.This study constitutes a conceptual analysis and critique of the notion of the subject, and the concomitant notion of responsibility, as it has developed through the philosophical history of the modern subject. The aim of this study is to present the reader with a critical notion of responsibility. This study seeks to divorce such a position from the traditional, normative view of the subject, as typified by the Cartesian position. Following Derrida, a deconstructive reading of the subject’s conceptual development since Descartes is presented. What emerges from this reading is that, despite various re-conceptualisations of the subject by philosophers as influential and diverse as Nietzsche, Heidegger and Levinas, their respective positions continue to affirm the subject as human. The position presented in this study challenges this notion of the subject as human, with the goal of opening-up and displacing the ethical frontier between human and non-human. It is argued that displacing this ethical frontier introduces complex responsibilities. These complex responsibilities resist the violence inherent to normative positions that typically exclude the non-human – particularly the animal – from the sphere of responsibility.
- ItemBetter never to have been in the wild: a case for weak wildlife antinatalism(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-04) Raal, Ludwig; Hall, Susan; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH SUMMARY: Most people have an idyllic view of nature and believe that wild animals have good lives. But nature is a hostile place. In addition to the suffering inflicted upon prey by their predators, many wild animals are victims of infectious disease, extreme weather, starvation, and parasitism. Yet it is often claimed that an abundance of wildlife is desirable. The aim of this thesis is to challenge this premise. My argument will proceed in four parts. Firstly, I will show that the lives of most wild animals are characterised by a surplus of negative experiences, and that there are a myriad of ways in which wild animals suffer. Secondly, I will challenge the notion that wildlife has intrinsic value by considering, and arguing against, two related claims: that the lives of individual wild animals have intrinsic value, and that wild species as wholes are of intrinsic value. Thirdly, I will consider whether wildlife has instrumental value, and if so, whether it is sufficient to justify traditional conservation methods. I conclude that this is not the case. Finally, I will argue that it may be best for most wild animals not to be born at all, a view I refer to as weak wildlife antinatalism. While such a conjecture may strike many as deeply counterintuitive, I will make the case that it is both technically feasible and morally desirable.
- ItemBetween buzzwords and bodies: investigating the ambiguities of Allyship with Judith Butler’s relational thinking(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2020-12) Vosloo, Jana Lydia; Du Toit, Louise; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis aims to investigate and deepen the concept of “allyship” from a relational lens. By asking how feminist philosopher Judith Butler’s relational thinking might offer a more nuanced account of allyship, I suggest that there are certain limitations within the current academic and social discourse surrounding allyship, particularly concerning acts of public assembly in the form of protest action. These limitations are identified based on the “surplus in meaning” that stems from ambiguous acts of allyship on an ontological, ethical and political level, as informed by both my personal experience during protest action and the specific case study of the “human shield” as a perceived act of allyship. Every focal point of this thesis, therefore, seeks to sketch how Butler’s relational thinking can offer a helpful lexicon to engage fruitfully with the ambiguities of allyship. In Chapter Two, I set out to explain what constitutes Butler’s relational thinking. By providing a broader overview of her theoretical oeuvre, I frame Butler’s relational thinking as an intertwined account of ontology, ethics, and politics. I then continue to discuss each of these three aspects respectively. In doing so, I point out that Butler’s relational ontology offers an alternative ontology against sovereign subjectivity; a distinct account of the Butlerian subject (as always in process, discursive, performative, and opaque); and a social ontology that is embodied. I also show how Butler’s relational ethics advocates for “the liveable life” that seeks to reduce precarity by focusing on our shared sense of precariousness and responsibility for the other. Lastly, I claim that Butler’s constructivist account of political agency translates into a politics of subversion that can offer new ways of considering transformative political action. Having provided a clear understanding of what Butler’s relational thinking entails, Chapter Three aims to pave the way towards considering how Butler’s relational thinking can be traced within her thoughts on public assembly and alliances. Specifically, this chapter provides a thematic exploration of Butler’s book Notes Towards a Performative Theory of Assembly (2015) as a potentially fruitful source with the broader problem of the allyship discourse in mind. In doing so, I explore Butler’s politics of precarity and vulnerability; her ontological understanding of alliances as uneasy and unpredictable; and her ethics of cohabitation that centre around our obligations towards unchosen others. Finally, Chapter Four provides a more concrete analysis of the allyship discourse with Butler’s established relational lens. By drawing out the themes of “privilege”, “support”, and “action” from the prevailing definition of allyship, I identify the ontological, ethical and political shortcomings and assumptions within the allyship discourse. Through this, I argue that the allyship discourse perpetuates sovereign subjectivity, overly simplistic and dichotomous thinking, as well as narrow understandings of support and action. In contrast, I show how Butler’s relational thinking can avoid these shortcomings as it allows for more dynamic, intersectional, interdependent, uneasy, unpredictable and embodied ways of understanding allyship. In this way, Butler provides a theoretical lexicon that can speak to the “surplus in meaning” of allyship by critically emphasising – and embracing– what happens between bodies and buzzwords.
- ItemA biomedically-enhanced body-subject? A critical analysis of the reconcilability of Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s ideas with current-day claims about biomedical enhancement(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-09) Gardner, Sarah; Van Niekerk, Anton A.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This research project aims to reconcile Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s body-subject with current-day claims about biomedical enhancement. Arguably the biggest technological development of the 21st century, biomedical enhancement promises to re-engineer the body on multiple fronts, including interventions aimed at physical capacities, emotional dispositions and even life-extension. Of course, promises as such beckon an onslaught of opinions and debate from bio-ethicists and philosophers alike, meaning that there is no shortage of literature on the permissibility of the project. This being said, the ramifications that biomedical enhancements could have on our actual, lived experience have yet to be considered. This thesis aims to rectify this oversight by considering the impact that biomedical enhancements of the physical kind could have on Merleau-Ponty’s body-subject. Being a phenomenological theory that centres around the corporeal form, the body-subject becomes a catalyst for revealing the intricate nuances of human beings that will inevitably be impacted upon if physical enhancement interventions are pursued. Using the insights gained from Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception, this thesis argues that the enhancement enterprise as such should be embraced to protect the integrity of the body-subject. This follows from the importance Merleau-Ponty affords to the relationship between the body and the world, such that the two must remain in ‘balance’ for perception to occur normally. It is shown that this balance has already been compromised owing to the furious pace at which we continue to ‘enhance’ our environment – the resulting discordance between human evolution and environmental development has thus already problematized the body/world relationship. In order to correct this balance, this thesis argues in favour of (restrictively) enhancing the body-subject so that it is properly suited to the environment of the 21st century. This is accomplished via applications of the relevant enhancement intervention to the body-subject, in-depth analyses of the delicate relationship between the body and the world, the discordance between our own evolution and the development of the environment, and the argument that perception can be safe-guarded once again by embracing the restrictive enhancement enterprise.