Postgraduate Offering

Postgraduate co-ordinators


BA Honours Applications and Admissions

Dr. Mpho Tshivhase

HB 20-5.1

Tel: 012 420-5363

E-mail: [email protected]

MA Phil and PhD

Prof. Leonhard Praeg

HB 20-04

E-mail: [email protected]  


BsocSci PPE Hon and MsocSci PPE

Prof EB Ruttkamp-Bloem

HB 20-06

Tel: 012 420 2694

Email: [email protected]


Honours programme

Honours students do two taught semester courses concurrently in the first semester, and two further taught courses concurrently in the second semester.


Admission requirements  

• A bachelor's degree with Philosophy as a major (thus 6 semester modules in Philosophy)

• A minimum of 65% average for FIL 310 and FIL 320.

Minimum credits required: 120

Total curriculum credits: 120


First semester courses

  • FIL 710 History of philosophy: 20
  • FIL 711 Ethics and social philosophy: 20


Second semester courses

  • FIL 712 Contemporary philosophy: 20
  • FIL 713 Current theme/debate in philosophy: 20


Concurrently with these four taught modules, Honours students also write a research paper (FIL770) supervised by any one of the academic staff, due for external examination at the end of August. Credit value: [40]



With the exception of the research paper FIL770, one of the abovementioned core taught courses may be replaced with (an) appropriate post-graduate module(s) (with equivalent credit value) from a cognate discipline in consultation with the HoD. FIL 711 is the core module for BSocSci PPE Honours students and may therefore not be exchanged for another course in a cognate discipline.


Course descriptions:



Dr Jonathan Chimakonam Okeke


This semester course engages issues at the intersection of history and philosophy in Africa. Spread across two terms, it examines the ideas as well as controversies associated with the Egyptian question, historiography and periodisation of African philosophy. It explores the development of thought across two epochs namely, the pre-systematic and the systematic; and four periods namely, early, middle, later and the contemporary periods, situating the different schools of thought within the respective periods in which they thrived. The political and intellectual circumstances that inspired the development of the ideas that defined the major schools will be discussed. The importance of ethnophilosophy which characterised the early period and the motivation behind the Great Debate which occurred in the middle period and the latter’s significance in the development of contemporary African philosophy will be examined and arguments evaluated. The module will also explore the transition from the later period to the contemporary period that animated the field of African philosophy. Some of the new theories and currents that emerged in the contemporary period and continue to be developed such as Asouzu’s Ibuanyidanda/complementary reflection, conversational thinking and decoloniality will be engaged with and evaluated in reference to ethics, metaphysics, political philosophy and logic. This module will expose you to knowledge and debates about philosophy in Africa with historical, political, racial and decolonial implications.



FIL711 ETHICS AND SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY (also the core module for the BSocSci Honours in PPE)

Dr Tristen Taylor


Ethics and Social Philosophy focuses on economic philosophies and the underpinning ethical and political philosophies that supports them. This course – which is also the core module for the BSocSci PPE Honours - is designed to give Honours students a firm basis in past and present economic systems from a philosophical perspective while also sensitising students to the role of political concerns in economic discourse, starting from ancient Greece and ending in the modern era. The prescribed text for this course is Marcel Hénaff, The Price of Truth: Gift, Money, and Philosophy (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010). Supplementary readings include Bertrand Russell: A History of Western Philosophy, Eric Hobsbawn: Age of Revolution, Age of Capital, Age of Empire and Age of Extremes, Max Weber: The City Cicero: On the Commonwealth. A. R. Burn: The Penguin History of Greece (originally published as The Pelican History of Greece) M.I. Finley: Ancient Slavery and Modern Ideology, Plato: The Republic and  Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics and Charles Freeman: The Closing of the Western Mind.




Prof Philippe van Haute and Prof Ulrike Kistner


The course component taught in the first term will problematise the distinction between ‘normality’ and ‘pathology’, and propose the investigation of psychopathology as a starting point for a (clinical) anthropology instead.  The second term takes this idea through some of the domains in which it becomes salient, and thus broadens its philosophical ambit. We will investigate the relation between norms, normativity, and normalisation - between the vital and the social. Here the starting point will be the contention (by Georges Canguilhem and other philosophers of the life sciences) that ‘the normal’ has no absolute or essential meaning. Normativity in the life sciences designates the capacity to establish new norms.

While this may like a relatively simple definition, it is complicated by its extension to psychology and social philosophy. We will look at its application to psychological norms, social norms, and for social regulation modelled on organic regulation. The latter is the focus of some of the writings on biopower and biopolitics by Michel Foucault. Under the influence of Georges Canguilhem, he extends the field of functioning of norms from the vital to the social. Axel Honneth goes a step further, to propose the diagnosis of social pathology as task and domain of Critical Theory. Numerous debates have sprung up around this proposition – which will be studied. The core readings for this course are Sigmund Freud, Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905), Georges Canguilhem: The Normal and the Pathological ([1943] 1966) (with a preface by Michel Foucault), Michel Foucault: The Birth of the Clinic ([1963] 1976), Michel Foucault: The History of Sexuality, vol. I ([1976] 1990) and Axel Honneth: Freedom’s Right (2014)




Dr. John Lamola


This semester module explores the application of philosophy on the impact(s) of technologies of Artificial Intelligence. Specifically, the philosophical implications of the aesthetics and epistemological presuppositions at play in the design and representations of human-like social robots are investigated. The focus is on the socio-aesthetical and semiotic values of gender, race, colour, and national-ethnical looks that socially-situated robots are adorned with, and probes the epistemic and ethical frameworks that underpin the design-decisions of computer engineers and roboticists. The goal is to explore current debates and emerging literature on the psychosocial ramifications of living with robots and to enrich the dialogue between social-ethicists and roboticists. Prescribed readings include Robert Rosenberger and Peter-Paul Verbeek eds. (2015) Postphenomenological Investigationsessays on human-technology relations, Nicolai Hartmann (2014) Aesthetics,  Jennifer Robertson (2018) Robo Sapiens Japanicus: robots, gender, family, and the Japanese nation,  Harris E. et al (2009) Engineering Ethics: concepts and cases, and papers from the annual proceedings of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (USA) such as, Siegel, M. et al (2009) Persuasive Robotics: the influence of robot gender on human behaviour,  Bartneck C. et al (2018) Robots and Racism  and the Institute’s (2018) report, Ethically Aligned Design: A Vision for Prioritizing Human Well-being with Autonomous and Intelligent Systems.



Dr Jonathan Chimakonam Okeke 


MA in Philosophy

Course code: FIL890

We only offer an MA by research and not an MA by course work.

Total credit value: 240

Admission requirements

An appropriate Honours degree in Philosophy with an average of at least 65%

Additional requirements
• An acceptable level of proficiency in English is a requisite.

• An approved research proposal by August of the first year of registration is required in order to commence.


PhD in Philosophy

Course code: FIL990

Total credit value: 480

Admission requirements
A minimum of 70% for the dissertation in the related master’s degree programme.

Additional requirements
• An acceptable level of proficiency in English is a requisite.

• An approved research proposal within the first 18 months is required in order to commence.

  • The examination of the PhD culminates in a viva voce (FIL900) with all three examiners present.
Published by Keolebogile Mbebe

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