This Chair at the University of Pretoria in South Africa is a significant development for both the international network and for philosophers and mental health workers in Africa.
It has already resulted in the University of Pretoria presenting a new master’s course (MPhil) in Philosophy and Ethics of Mental Health, designed for mental health practitioners and philosophers who want to be equipped with philosophical skills enriched by real-life experiences and knowledge that will enhance clarity, understanding and decision-making ability.
“The new Chair will open up hitherto rather unexplored philosophies of Africa and create opportunities to mobilise and develop contributions from Africa to the field. Accordingly, open seminars and symposia as well as training and research opportunities towards master’s and doctoral degrees in the philosophyand ethics of mental health have been set up in South Africa,” says Prof Van Staden.
The international network representing the new discipline of philosophy and psychiatry in most parts of the world through about 40 national associations, has been drawing mainly on the philosophies of Western Europe and North America in establishing the subject’s research base. “Rich and productive as these philosophies have proven to be, they represent less than a third of the world, missing out on contributions to the field from a major continent such as Africa,” Prof Van Staden concluded.