Monday Paper (University of Cape Town)

The following is a complete record of the debate in the University of Cape Town’s Monday Paper.

23 April 2007, Volume 26.05

David Benatar: "Affirmative action" not the way to tackle injustice
Martin Hall: The case for equity
David Benatar: Equity, Not "Equity"; Truth, Not "Truth"

7 May 2007, Volume 26.06

Affirmative Action and UCT
Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela: Onwards (or Backwards) into the 21st Century at UCT
Various Comments

21 May 2007, Volume 26.07

David Benatar: Respect and Honesty: Let’s Get The Facts Correct

On the Affirmative Action "Debate" at UCT:

Lebogang Hoveka: On Race-Based Affirmative Action
Sam Raditlhalo: Nothing new in the Benatar inaugural lecture
Zimitri Erasmus: Governing Whiteness! Now that cannot be allowed!

4 June 2007, Volume 26.08

Michael Rolfe: Affirmative support
Leslie London: Affirmative Action and the invisibility of white privilege

30 July 2007, Volume 26.10

David Benatar: Reciprocating Professor London's "logic lessons"

Cape Times

The Cape Times has kindly given permission to reproduce here David Benatar’s contributions to the affirmative action debate in that newspaper. Regrettably, they are unable to provide permission to reprint the contributions of others without the permission of those others. Given how many people participated in the debate over nearly three months, it is hard to reach them all. The resultant absence of their words is regrettable. Their contributions will be added here if they provide evidence that the Cape Times has given such permission.


  • The dates listed below are the dates the articles appeared in print. However, most of the articles themselves were downloaded from the web where they were published the day before appearing in print.

  • For reasons of courtesy, David Benatar avoids the practice of using only surnames to refer to others. Preserving courteous discourse is particularly important when debating sensitive topics such as affirmative action. Regrettably, the Cape Times’ practice is to use first and last name when a person is first mentioned, but thereafter to use surname only. Readers are asked to note, therefore, that the use of surnames only in the following articles is a consequence of an editor’s rather than the author’s pen.

12 April 2007

David Benatar: Affirmative action not the way to tackle injustice

19 April 2007

David Benatar: Affirmative confusion (Response to Dr Robert Segall)

20 April 2007

David Benatar: Affirmative action (Response to Dr Laurie Nathan)

3 May 2007

David Benatar: Affirmative action supporters are still getting it wrong

21 June 2007

David Benatar: My critics have failed the test of reason

3 July 2007

David Benatar: Debating Logic

17 June 2014

David Benatar: Race still the yardstick



Other components of the debate may be added later.  

* * *

In the journal Argumentation, Ben Kotzee argues that some of David Benatar’s critics were guilty of the “poisoning the well” fallacy.

  • Ben Kotzee, “Poisoning the Well and Epistemic Privilege”, Argumentation, Vol. 24, 2010, pp. 265-281.