Welcome to the Department of Philosophy!
Welcome to a Department of Philosophy with a vibrant research and postgraduate community, as well as a welcoming undergraduate student association! We will challenge your thinking and teach you how to argue to defend your views, how to fulfill the age-old philosophical role of being the gatekeepers of society in true sage philosophical style, and how to enjoy pushing your cognitive limits. We will also always support you and have time to listen to you and guide you.
Crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the concern about future ones, the disruption across all levels of human lives of 4th industrial revolution technologies, the intensification of climate change concerns and current economic and political challenges, all give rise to urgent debates on the future of work, widening of inequality, unemployment, the status of migrants, traditional education frameworks, quality healthcare for all, the right to privacy, fair, transparent and honest media and information practices, and many others. Philosophers as the guardians of humanity; leaders in trans-disciplinary research; and masters of transferrable skills such as critical and creative thinking, complex problem-solving, and rigorous debating, are key role players in meeting these challenges.
The centuries old project focused on the human condition and what it means to be human, taken up by philosophers of all traditions and nationalities from ancient times to the present, merits reflection for its own sake. However, what might appear to be purely philosophical enquiries also have the potential to address current worldwide challenges leading to many urgent social, economic, political and moral debates in South Africa and globally.
The Department of Philosophy at UP speaks to these issues in terms of its current expertise profile. As far as traditions go, there is strong expertise in both African philosophy and Western analytical philosophy. Thematically the department has expertise in the domains of the meaning of life and human dignity, personhood and personal identity, issues related to social justice, decoloniality, conversational thinking, and the nature and current role of scientific knowledge and technology in society. In terms of sub-disciplines, current expertise in both Western and African perspectives covers moral philosophy (ethics), political philosophy, contemporary metaphysics, the philosophy of science, the philosophy and ethics of AI, the philosophy of mind, and formal logic.
The department has a strong existing research profile. We invite you to visit individual staff members’ pages, the supervision expertise page, and the events page for more information.