Department of Philosophy


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Department of Philosophy

About UJ Philosophy

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) Department of Philosophy strives to be preeminent among philosophy departments in Africa and the world. We are exceedingly proud of the notable diversity of our students, staff and styles, our devotion to quality teaching, and our substantial research impact. We are actively engaged in building a community of practice—committed to, and unified by, doing philosophy.

UJ Philosophy is keenly involved, with regards to both our writing and teaching, in establishing a dialogue between three of the major philosophical traditions:

  • Analytic philosophy, especially in the following areas: applied ethics bioethics, environmental ethics, jurisprudence, epistemology, metaethics, metaphysics, the philosophy of science and philosophy of medicine;
  • African philosophy, especially in the following areas: political philosophy and feminism;
  • Continental philosophy, especially in the following areas: aesthetics, phenomenology, and the philosophy of culture

We enhance the global stature of South African philosophy by routinely publishing books with international presses and articles with leading journals. Moreover, as home to two pioneering centres – the Centre for Phenomenology in South Africa, and the African Centre for Epistemology and Philosophy of Science – UJ Philosophy regularly hosts conferences and workshops that feature contributors from around the world, and that develop fresh insights on a focused topic. Such events are part of our efforts to establish a first-rate research community, and will continue to include visiting scholars, post-doctoral fellows and colloquia speakers.

We are committed to developing our students’ potential to its full and preparing them for their chosen careers. UJ Philosophy has developed pioneering teaching methods so as to provide an inclusive, challenging, caring and enriching education to its undergraduates. Our strong cohort of post-graduate students, who come from a variety of backgrounds and countries, are instructed in the African, Anglo-American, and Continental perspectives. No department in South Africa does more to groom its postgraduates into becoming the next generation of professional philosophers by: providing funds to support presentation at conferences where possible; mentoring students to become responsible for lecturing their own courses; and developing them into skilled academic writers by training them to publish in accredited journals. We host regular publication and presentation skills workshops, and provide active coaching sessions to this end. A number of our postgraduates have been awarded UJ Global Excellence and Stature Senior Tutorships, have published in a variety of accredited journals, or obtained sought-after lecturing positions at national and international institutions.

What Is Philosophy?

Philosophy is an inquiry into questions that cannot be settled either by empirical evidence (as in the natural sciences) or by reasoning from accepted premises (as in mathematics). For example, in philosophy courses you can expect to debate issues such as whether God exists, what the difference is between right and wrong, and whether truth is relative. ​