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Masters Degrees (Ethics Studies)

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    The impact of assistive devices on individuals with special visual needs and its ethical implications: exploring the experiences of students with special visual needs in University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus.
    (2024) Sithole, Mgcini Emmanuel Eric.; Aleke, Patrick Owo.
    The development of assistive devices has resulted in a more promising society, particularly for people with special visual needs. The invention gives people with special visual needs more opportunities to study, be independent, and work. However, in this modern world, there are still some ethical considerations and implications for using assistive devices. Students with special visual needs face accommodation and adaptation challenges, limiting their full interaction with other students and community members. The aim of this study is to explore the experiences of students with special visual needs at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg campus with the use of assistive devices, and to assess the impact and ethical implications of these assistive devices. This study has used a qualitative research approach. In this study, semi-structured in-depth face-to-face and online interviews were conducted. The study includes 20 students with special visual needs at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg campus. In this study, I argue that poorly designed physical environments continue to create difficulties that continue to exclude people with special visual needs from participating in their societies. Students also face the challenge of high cost of necessary assistive devices, a lack of training, and being misunderstood by other members of the community. In order to sensitize non-special needs individuals, the University of KwaZulu-Natal must make campuses more accessible and friendly to all individuals with special visual needs. This includes raising awareness and ensuring that individuals with special visual needs participate fully in university life and beyond.
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    The effects of anthropogenic activities on the marine environment, along the coastline of Kwa-Zulu Natal, an ethical critique.
    (2023) Avery, Kevin Mark.; Okyere-Manu, Beatrice Dedaa.
    Abstract available in PDF.
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    Corruption and reporting: an ethno-cultural assessment of the morality of whistle-blowing as a strategy for reporting corruption in Zimbabwe.
    (2022) Marambanyika, Guide.; Okyere-Manu, Beatrice Dedaa.
    The bane of corruption invariably exists in most societies and cultures. However, its deleterious effects on socio-economic growth and political development varies from country to country. In countries like Zimbabwe, the effects of corruption have been so devastating as witnessed by numerous practices of nepotism, cronyism, high incidences of political patronage as well as growing cases of abuse of power by public officials. Notably, corruption is gradually becoming difficult to combat and control based on the view that perpetrators of corruption are hostile, unwilling to cooperate and have strong connections with the police, politicians, judiciary and the executive. In a bid to curtail cases of corruption, key mechanisms such as whistle-blowing are now commonly used by both public and private institutions. However, the practice of whistle-blowing is often ineffective as whistle-blowers face risks and challenges of being labelled as sell-outs/vatengesi which makes them hesitant to report corruption. It is in light of this that the study seeks to explore and discuss the ethno-cultural implications of whistleblowing as a strategy for reporting corruption in Zimbabwe. This significantly helps the study to situate an ethno-cultural assessment and the morality of using whistle-blowing strategy using individual level analysis. Fundamentally, this might help anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies to also appreciate the need to consider ethno-cultural issues that affect the efficacy of whistle-blowing as a strategy for fighting corruption in developing countries like Zimbabwe. Using this background, the study uses three famous cases of corruption and whistle-blowing, namely; Minister of Labour and Social Services Involving $95million, Willow gate Motor Corruption Scandal and the Hopewell Chin’ono Whistle-blowing Cast. The study critically assesses these cases using the common good theory which advocates that justifiable ethical actions or decisions are those that benefit all members of the community. The study argues that political corruption if left unattended or addressed by policy makers, it has the potential to bring the state and government functions to the blink of complete failure. The study identifies that corruption is perpetuated mostly by public officials as compared to ordinary citizens. In light of this, the study provides the following recommendations to be considered and these are; corruption awareness, campaigns implementation of policies and rules incentives and protection laws, review of bureaucratic process and assets declaration. The study contributes to literature on corruption by developing an ethno-cultural model that can be used by other developing countries that seek to situate whistle blowing as a strategy to combatting corruption.
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    An Ethical interrogation of coal mining activities and its implications on women’s health and the environment in South Africa.
    (2022) Makhanya, Nondumiso Nqobile.; Okyere-Manu, Beatrice Dedaa.
    Coal mining is one of the earliest forms of economic activity that is still practised today in the majority of African countries, including South Africa. Because it also offers employment opportunities to a large number of individuals, its contribution to the growth of the economy is unparalleled. In spite of the debates around climate change, global patterns of coal consumption have not changed over the past few years. In fact, it has been observed that coal is not even close to being in decline. Coal is recognised as one of the most utilised resources in the world. Even though coal mining helps substantially to economic development, its positive impact on economic growth appears to have outweighed the adverse effects it has on local communities and the environment.Although debates and discussions have been conducted on coal mining in South Africa, most scholars have not written about how coal mining affects women’s health and the environment from an ethical perspective. This study aims to ethically interrogate coal mining activities and their implications on women’s health and the environment in South Africa. The study highlights the contribution of coal mining activities towards environmental pollution and how it has affected women’s health. Furthermore, coal mining activities have resulted in the displacement of local communities, violence and a violation of human rights. It is through this backdrop that this study, through the lens of ecofeminism and intersectionality, argues that coal mining companies and government in South Africa reconsider their approaches to mining and prioritize women’s health and the environment.
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    An ethical exploration of the effects of the increased commercialization of ethnomedicine products on the environment: the case of the city province of Kinshasa Democratic Republic of Congo.
    (2022) Mbala, Mizingu Simon.; Okyere-Manu, Beatrice Dedaa.
    This study presents an in-depth investigation into the way the population of the City Province of Kinshasa (the Kinois people) have become involved in the new phenomenon of the commercialization of ethnomedicine products and its long-term effects on the environment. This topic has received little research attention, particularly in the area under focus. The research is motivated by the fact that the Kinois people are facing a significant challenge in terms of the extinction of their forests, shrubs and animal species. This has created environmental pollution with direct consequences such as climate change, flooding and high temperatures. This research ethically interrogates the effects of the commercialization of ethnomedicine products and its contribution to the environmental crisis in the area under focus. A review of the literature and environmental stewardship and consequentialism theories were used as lenses to analyse the data collected. This study made use of the qualitative method. The research design comprised an exploratory case study of sellers of ethnomedicine products. Purposive sampling was used to select 12 experienced sellers and data were generated through one-on-one interviews with each of the participants. The findings show that the Kinois people acknowledge that they have been contributing to environmental issues through the cutting of plants, tree barks and animal bones. Although government regulations have been put in place to control these practices, the problem persists due to the Provincial Government’s inability to enforce the regulations. This requires the population to be conscious of the need to work and care for the environment. It was also found that the socio-economic conditions of the country, including unemployment and poverty, have forced the Kinois people to commercialize ethnomedicine products to ensure their survival. Various recommendations are given including the need to prioritize environmental education. The study ends with some suggestions for further research.
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    Environmental pollution and climate change: an ethical interrogation of the payment of carbon tax as a means to reduce greenhouse gas emission in South Africa.
    (2020) Masondo, Zama Nonkululeko.; Okyere-Manu, Beatrice Dedaa.
    Climate change and environmental pollution are the main environmental issues affecting the world’s ecosystem including that of South Africa. They cause poverty, land degradation, waste and littering, health hazards and urbanisation. One of the main causes of climate change and environmental pollution is carbon emissions into the atmosphere. As a way to curb these emissions carbon tax policies have been introduced in several countries and South Africa is one such country. A carbon tax aims to reveal the actual costs of carbon emissions for the betterment of the country and, crucially, the environment. In South Africa, the idea of a carbon tax has been under discussion since 2010 and in 2019, the Carbon Tax Act was signed into law by the president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa. This was due to the fact that carbon is recognised as one of the major contributing factors to the issue of environmental pollution and climate change. Carbon emissions do not only affect the environment but also the economy and society. If effectively applied a carbon tax will raise revenues whilst at the same time reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Both prior and subsequent to the introduction of the carbon tax policy, there has been debate and discussion on its effect on the environment, the economy and the society. Based on the debate and discussion thus far, I noticed that most of the scholars who have written on carbon tax have focused more on the economic implications of the tax on South Africa as opposed to the tax’s ethical implications. Thus, this dissertation contributes to the debate and discussion by evaluating the South African carbon tax policy through the lens of the ethical theories of sustainable development and environmental stewardship.
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    An ethical assessment of the structural agency of the blessee in the ‘Blesser-Blessee’ phenomenon.
    (2020) Singata, Nomazulu Zikhona.; Okyere-Manu, Beatrice Dedaa.
    This study concerned the ‘Blesser-Blessee’ Phenomenon (BBP) in South Africa. The BBP is a social construct based on a transactional relationship. A social construct is based on what society sees and experiences around it (Gablin, 2014). Thus, multiple people have to experience the phenomenon for it to develop into a social construct (Boghossian, 2001). A transactional relationship is best known in terms of a monetary exchange for sexual benefits. The relationship usually occurs between a young adult (blessee) and an older man (blesser). In some cases, a blesser can also be female. A blesser is a modern-day ‘sugar daddy’ who is known for giving extravagant gifts to the blessee, and the blessee is usually a young woman with material needs or wants (Thobejane et al., 2017). The blessee dates a blesser to fulfil her different needs or wants and to meet specific goals (Garsd and Crossan, 2017). In most cases, this relationship is pursued in order to provide her with a livelihood. The structures of the blessee provide the reasons why they pursue this type of transactional relationship. The structures are highlighted as peer pressure, unemployment, gender inequality and poverty. The structures help us understand the agency of the blessee and how it, the agency, is underpinned by them, hence the theory of ‘Structure and Agency’. The Structure and Agency theory advocates the idea that to understand an agent, one must know the structures or systems that surround the individual and how they affect the decisions they make. The reasons yield multiple outcomes that could be positive and/or negative. These reasons are considered as the structures within the Structure and Agency theory, and which indicate whether the agency is limited or unlimited. The decision to consider both the structures and the agency of an individual yield the structural agency. This research focused on female blessees and highlighted the idea of women and agency. Thus, the ethical implications of individual agency of the blessee are premised on her freedom and rationality. In order to obtain information for this research, a desktop study was conducted. It entailed the use of secondary resources using an exploratory approach. This was done through assessing the blessee in the BBP using the Structure and Agency theory to understand whether she has agency that is not limited.
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    Assessing the ethico-cultural implications of Invitro Fertilization (IVF) within the rural Zulu communities in South Africa.
    (2020) Setenane, Alletta.; Okyere-Manu, Beatrice Dedaa.
    This dissertation is a critical analysis of the African ways of managing infertility. It argues that infertile people are stigmatized in African communities because they are not regarded as complete social beings. This dissertation outline some of the abuse infertile people go through in African traditional communities through a desktop research. The causes of infertility in traditional communities are mostly associated to witchcraft and anger of the ancestors. This dissertation discusses the African ways of managing infertility, including traditional adoption, traditional healers, polygamy, and levirate practice. From a western perspective, infertility does not mean all infertile individuals cannot have children. Rather, in some cases they require some medical assistance and treatment. In searching for solutions or cure(s) to infertility, people resort to different kinds of treatment methods. Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART) has emerged for the treatment of infertility and other techniques. Different types of ART include IVF, gametes donation, surrogacy, artificial insemination, and ovulation induction just to name a few. This dissertation focuses on IVF as the management of infertility within the Zulu communities. It argues that IVF still faces some challenges in Zulu communities, mainly because of their beliefs and values. Through the lens of limited communitarianism and human rights theory which are closely related, this dissertation argues that the African traditional ways of managing infertility are violating individual rights. Additionally, this dissertation argues that, using IVF as a management of infertility in rural Zulu communities will promote human rights that are disregarded by the African ways of managing infertility.
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    An ethical analysis of the African traditional beliefs surrounding people living with albinism in South Africa.
    (2020) Ngubane, Zandile Laurencia.; Okyere-Manu, Beatrice Dedaa.
    This dissertation offers a critical ethical analysis of African traditional beliefs surrounding people living with albinism. It argues that people living with albinism are socially excluded in some African traditional communities because they are not perceived as human beings. This dissertation provides an overview of some on the African traditional beliefs surrounding albinism, through a desk top study. Albinism seems to be a two-edge sword: on the one hand, it is believed that people with albinism are born with special powers that can bring wealth, and that their body parts can enrich people. On the other hand, people living with albinism are believed to bring bad luck and that having relations with them will bring bad luck. The Study highlights beliefs and perceptions such as: PWA are perceived as Ghosts, having sexual intercourse with a person living with albinism can cure HIV and AIDS andthe body parts of people living with albinism can make a good portion of muthi. As a result of the above beliefs, people living with albinism often live in fear of being killed, raped, discriminated against, alienated and abducted. It is against this backdrop that this dissertation, through the lens of Limited communitarianism, which is closely related to the right-based approach argues that albinism is a disorder which results in pigmentation therefore there is a need to ensure proper education to the community regarding albinism. Furthermore, the dissertation argues that people living with albinism are humans with rights and they are not ghost, therefore they should be respected for their humanity.
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    The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) regulation of testosterone on hyper-androgenic female athletes: an ethical exploration.
    (2020) Mphamba, Okuhle.; Okyere-Manu, Beatrice Dedaa.
    In recent times, hyperandrogenism has become a topical issue and has generated public interest. Studies have been conducted to answer the question of whether hormones, specifically testosterone in female athletes, do really have a competitive edge. The first regulation by the International Association of Athletes Federation (IAAF) and (International Olympic Committee (IOC) on hyperandrogenic females was passed in 2011, prior to the Olympic games in 2012. It was for female athletes who were hyperandrogenic, meaning those who had higher levels of testosterone. The threshold for the 2011 regulation was 10 nanomoles and covered all the Olympics track events. Due to the lack of evidence, the regulation was ruled out by the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport). As a result, the IAAF came out with the 2018 eligibility rule for female athletes that focused on females with the differences of sex development. The threshold for the testosterone level was 5 nanomoles, covering the events from 400 meters to 1 mile. Since this regulation was first introduced, there have been so many debates around it as it is against the IAAF charter and human rights. Using human rights theory, the dissertation explores the issues that emanate from the regulation. The regulation violates the rights of the athletes; among them are the right to privacy, right to health, right to bodily integrity, and the right not to be discriminated against. There is also the issue of fair play that the IAAF claim is more important in levelling the playing field for all female athletes. The regulations raise a lot of concerns, especially in women and their bodies. It has been criticized in terms of validity, targeting a certain group of people, and enforcing the white notion of femininity on all athletes. The researcher found out that the regulations do not only discriminate against female athletes, especially women of colour from poor backgrounds. It also enforces the Western white notion of femininity, their idea of what it means to be a woman, and how a woman should look and behave. The regulations require those who are diagnosed with DSD to undergo medical procedures to be eligible to compete on the international level in the women’s category. The medical intervention has been found to have some serious side effects and could result in health issues that violate the right of female athletes to health. The medical requirement clause does not give those athletes the choice to choose what happens to their bodies because at the end of the day giving up their dreams is not the option to some of them so, they are forced to undergo medical intervention that is not even necessary and that violates the right to bodily integrity. The right to privacy and dignity is also violated. The suspension after diagnosis makes people suspicious of the reason why a certain athlete is suspended, and the media eventually issue some reports of the reasons behind suspension.
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    An evaluation of ethical concerns raised by a Ghanaian research ethics committee using the principles and benchmarks proposed by Emanuel et al., (2008).
    (2015) Selormey, Pamela Emefa.; Wassenaar, Douglas Richard.
    Research Ethics Committees (RECs) and Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) are critical in biomedical research to ensure protection of human participants. However, increased international collaboration with multi-country, multi-site research projects has increasingly given rise to complex ethical issues with which local RECs may not be readily familiar. Therefore, the important question to ask is what ethical issues do African RECs typically raise when reviewing biomedical or health related social science research proposals? To assist researchers and RECs with review processes, Emanuel, Wendler and Grady (2004, 2008) proposed a universal framework/tool which could be used in many countries or contexts. The framework comprises eight systematic principles and accompanying benchmarks that specify core and practical considerations necessary to justify ethical research in developed and developing country settings. In this study, the ethical framework designed by Emanuel and colleagues was used as a tool to analyse (assess, code and rank) the ethical issues considered by a Ghanaian REC during their ethical review process. This was done through a content analysis of the minutes recorded for the period 2012 to 2013. Out of the 22 protocols assessed and 232 queries that emerged, informed consent (34.05%) and scientific validity (24.57%) were the two ethical issues most frequently considered by the REC. The least frequently considered issue was social value which recorded only 0.86% of queries. Collaborative partnership was not considered at all throughout the two-year review period under study. These results show that the REC has fairly considered most of the eight Emanuel et al. (2004, 2008) principles, suggesting that the work of this REC can be accommodated by the Emanuel framework, and vice-versa, that the framework was compatible with the work of this REC. It can thus be concluded that the framework is useful and applicable, and can be adapted by RECs for training and review processes.
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    Corruption in the police force in Nigeria an Afro-centric ethical critique.
    (2014) Akpunonu-Ogu, Sophy Ndidiamaka.; Okyere-Manu, Beatrice Dedaa.
    This dissertation discusses corruption within the Nigeria Police Force as a moral decay facing the institution. It provides an overview of the historical background and establishment of the Nigeria Police Force as an institution charged with the responsibility of protecting life and property, and maintaining peace and order in the country. The dissertation identifies various forms of police misconduct, such as bribery and extortion, mass arrests and detention, illegal bail charges and corruption within the leadership of the police. This deviant behavior has undermined the integrity of the force, with the result that public perception of the police force is negative and national security and development is undermined. Despite numerous anti-corruption strategies that have been devised to curb police misconduct, it remains difficult to reduce corruption within the force. This dissertation argues that implementing documented strategies in the workplace requires a deeper moral consciousness of their civic duties on the part of the police. This would promote the common good and increase the effectiveness of community policing. To support this view, the dissertation critically analyses the inadequacies in the anti-corruption strategies from an ethical perspective, and reveals the contending ethical implications facing the strategies. In search for solution to curb police corruption, the dissertation proposes incorporating in policing certain virtues embedded in the Afrocentric ethic of Omoluabi, such as good character, respect, diligence and communalism. This approach could provide insights to complement the existing anti-corruption mechanisms that aim to reduce police misconduct. In conclusion, the dissertation argues that embracing values in traditional African culture could contribute to the ongoing search for ways to combat police corruption. Therefore, there is a need to look into admirable values gleaned from an African indigenous understanding of morality, in order to address the ethical issues facing the police force in Nigeria.
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    Global warming discourse and the economic dilemma of sustainability : the potential contribution of African ethics.
    (2013) Mware, Mike.; Murove, Munyaradzi Felix.
    This paper focuses on the possible input of African Ethics into the global warming and climate change discourse in light of the economic dilemma of sustainability. The paper argues that African Ethics through its concept of Ubuntu can make a worthy contribution to the issues surrounding sustainable development, ecological debt and international climate change talks. In a world where the lives of the affluent nations impact drastically on our climate and necessitate calamitous climate disasters and cause the poor to suffer, why is it that the international community has not reached any noteworthy climate change solutions? The same poor countries are also burdened by payment of huge debts and poor climate change adaptation and development. Can African ethics make some contribution to these challenging issues brought by global warming and climate change? The dissertation seeks to tackle these questions by employing a qualitative methodology informed by Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics and using the research design of Boff’s ecological holism and Murove’s relational paradigm. However, in order for African ethics to make such a viable contribution the paper seeks to reveal the philosophical and economic substrata sustaining the incessant degradation of the ecology. This opens us the entry point for African ethics through Ubuntu to engage with other voices in the search for solutions to the global warming and climate change crises.
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    Freedom, philosophical and political : do philosophers and politicians want the same thing?
    (1999) Jennings, Ian.
    Two ethical currents have been dominant during the past three centuries in moral philosophy, namely utilitarianism and Kantian ethics. As a number of moralists have observed, the contemporary moral disorder provides clear evidence of the failure of these two theories. In fact, they have left our societies in a moral crisis with social and political consequences. We may not lay the entire blame for this crisis at the feet of these theories. In any case, they are unable to resolve it. African society is not preserved from this crisis. The problem of Utilitarian and Kantian ethics lies in the fact that they are impersonal and alienating, because they commit themselves to utility and duty for their own sakes. Thus they cannot provide us with any ground on which we can base the reconstruction of the African society which is undergoing a social and political crisis. The alternative I propose is Aristotelian virtue ethics viewed from a communitarian perspective. While Utilitarianism and Kantianism emphasize doing (act-based ethics), virtue ethics is concerned with being (agent-based ethics), and flourishes mostly in the context of the community. As a result I argue that virtue ethics could be a solution to the moral and sociopolitical crisis which African society is experiencing today, in that it could help us to relocate the individual in the community as a being-with-self and a being-with-others, that is, an individual endowed with the overall virtue of Ubuntu (humanity). It is this kind of individual we expect in African humanism thought to be socio-ethical. However, Aristotelian virtue ethics is far from being an automatic panacea. In fact, it faces three major problems which social and political philosophy is wrestling with at present, namely: the complexity of our contemporary society, the current problems of nationalism and democracy, and the problem of global ethics and cosmopolitan citizenship. Nevertheless, there is reason to hope. This hope lies in our being human which entails being moral. I believe that morality implies that the human person cannot be reduced to a seIf-interested calculator whose social ties originate in a contract as Kantian thinkers might - make us believe. Instead, a virtuous life is suggested as a relevant tool that would help us to perceive and appreciate the circumstances in which one lives and act accordingly. The solution to African society's problem is at this price.
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    Is justice holistic and particular?: a study of particularism.
    (2005) Draper, Matthew Charles.; Farland, Douglas.
    This thesis explores the relative strengths of particularism and generalism in the area of meta-ethics in philosophy, utilising justice as a case study. More specifically, this thesis examines the claims of Jonathan Dancy in his book on moral particularism, Ethics Without Principles (2004), that one can construct a moral philosophy without reference to any general principles, or invariant reasons. His book is primarily a study of reasons, and this thesis also presents a study of reasons through the eyes f both the particularists and the generalists. At its core, the particularism holds holism to be true in the theory of reasons, whereas generalism, at its core, holds atomism to be true in the theory of reasons. In my thesis I find that the strongest form of atomism and the strongest form of generalism is Rossean generalism. I conclude that these two pictures combined provide a superior account of what reasons are and how they work than Dancy's particularism.