Team & PostGrads

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ACEPS PhDs PostGrads 2023 year-end celebration @ Piza e VinoL-R: Veli (ACEPS Dir), Dimpho (graduated 2023), Shene, Swazi, Richard, Harry, Caitlyn (submitted 2023), Dimpho, Abe (successfully defended viva 2023)

Prof Veli Mitova Director Of African Centre Of Epistemology & Phil Of Science

Prof Veli Mitova – ACEPS Director

Interests: Epistemology, Social Epistemology, Epistemic Decolonisation, Epistemic Injustice & Oppression, Metaethics.
Veli is a Professor in philosophy at the University of Johannesburg. She co-founded the African Centre for Epistemology and Philosophy of Science and is the South African team leader for The Geography of Philosophy Project. She obtained her PhD from Cambridge, and her BA, Hons, and MA from Rhodes University. Before joining UJ in 2015, she taught and researched at Universität Wien, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México, and Rhodes University. She works at the intersection of epistemology and ethics. She is the author of Believable Evidence(CUP 2017), and the editor of The Factive Turn in Epistemology (CUP 2018) and Decolonising Knowledge Here and Now, a paper in Epistemic Decolonisation (a Special Issue of Philosophical Papers, 2020). At the moment, she is working on epistemic decolonisation and epistemic injustice, under the auspices of a Newton Advanced Fellowship for the project Epistemic Injustice, Reasons, and Agency.

Supervises: MA, PhD, PDRF

Chad Harris

Dr Chad Harris – Head of UJ’s Philosophy Department
Interests: Philosophy of Social Science – specifically problems related to external validity, extrapolation and causal inference.
Chad is a Senior Lecturer at UJ and was the previous Director of ACEPS. He has a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Johannesburg and a BA (Hons) and MA in Philosophy from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Supervises: MA, PhD, PDRF

Prof Mongane Serote

Prof Mongane Wally Serote – ACEPS Honorary Professor
Interests: South African poet, writer and political activist.
Mongane is a veteran and stalwart of the African struggle; he is a writer, South Africa’s Poet Laureate and a Fullbright scholar who is also an African intellectual if being an intellectual means permanently incubating and innovating ideas to contribute to quality of life and a liveable world for all forms of life.
Mongane on Wiki

Dimpho Maponye

Dr Dimpho Takane Maponye
Interests: African Philosophy, Feminism, Decolonisation, Epistemic Injustice.
Dimpho is a philosophy Lecturer at the University of Johannesburg. Her doctoral thesis title was: Decolonisation, African Feminism and the Contradiction of African Praxes: Pragmatism as a Mediating Force. She joined the department in 2015 as a tutor, in 2019 she was appointed assistant lecturer and was awarded her PhD and tenure in 2023. Dimpho has received postgraduate awards including UJ’s University Research Committee scholarship and a South African Women in Science Masters’ fellowship from the Department of Science and Technology.

Supervises: MA, PhD

David Scholtz

David Scholtz
Interests: Epistemic normativity and value, Rationality, Requirements of Rationality.
David is a Research Fellow at ACEPS. He completed his PhD at UJ under the supervision of Veli Mitova entitled “Rationality as an Intellectual Virtue”. He is currently working on a novel account of the normativity of structural rationality based on a virtue theoretic account of rationality, as well as a distinctively African conception of structural rationality.

Tony Shabangu

Tony Shabangu
Interests: African Ethics, Ubuntu, and Punishment Ethics.
Tony is a Research Fellow at ACEPS. He completed his PhD at UJ entitled “The Implications of Ubuntu for Prison Reform: Relationships in and out of Prison”. Tony has just completed a Postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for Leadership Ethics in Africa and will be presenting his latest work at the University of Pretoria’s Conference on Agency and Violence.

ACEPS Postdocs

Dr Josien Reijer Aceps Research

Dr Josien Reijer
Interests: Experimental Philosophy, Public Health, Sociology, Human Geography
Josien is a social scientist who joined the international The Geography of Philosophy Project as a PostDoctoral Research Fellow to run the field work, data-collection and analysis for this experimental philosophy project. In addition, she is one of the initiators of the project; fruSTRAIGHTing-the-norm: Studying and Challenging Heteronormativity in South Africa, run by The UJ Centre for Race, Gender and Class. Josien’s educational background and research have been highly interdisciplinary. She has worked on quantitative, qualitative and mixed-method research projects. During her studies she conducted extensive mixed methods research on the well-being of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and in particular the impact that antiretroviral therapy (ART) had on PLHIV. Josien obtained her PhD (Sociology) in 2019 at the University of Johannesburg, her BSc (Human Geography) in 2010 and her MSc(Res) (International Development Studies) in 2013 both at the University of Amsterdam (UVA).

ACEPS Visitors

Prof Nancy Jecker Visiting Professor

Prof Nancy Jecker  Visiting Professor & Professor of Bioethics & Humanities at University of Washington School of Medicine and a Fulbright U.S. Scholar for 2021/22.
Interests: Bioethics
Nancy is the author (with Lawrence Schneiderman) of Wrong Medicine: Doctors, Patients and Futile Treatment, 2nd edition (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011), and the editor (with Albert Jonsen and Robert Pearlman) of Bioethics: An Introduction to the History, Methods, and Practice, 3rd Edition (Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2011). Her articles have appeared in The Journal of the American Medical Association, The American Journal of Bioethics, The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, The Journal of Value Inquiry, and other publications.

José Medina

Prof José Medina Visiting Professor from Northwestern University
Interests: Critical Race and Gender/Queer theory
José is Walter Dill Scott Professor of Philosophy with affiliations in the Department of African American Studies and the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies. His work focuses on the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality and his primary fields of expertise are critical race theory, gender/queer theory, Black and Latinx feminisms, communication theory, applied philosophy of language, social epistemology, and political philosophy.

JKaren Frost-Arnold

Prof Karen Frost-Arnold Visiting Professor from Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Interests: Social Epistemology of the Internet
Karen’s research focuses on the epistemology and ethics of trust. In my research and teaching I ask the following questions: What is trust? What is the role of trust in knowledge, science, and the internet? How can I be a responsible & trustworthy knower in a world of power and privilege? Why have feminist philosophers found trust to be a particularly useful concept? How can I be trustworthy in my personal life, professional life, leadership role, and civic life? What is betrayal? How is trust betrayed and manipulated by individuals and institutions?

Sebastion Schmidt

Dr Sebastian Schmidt Visiting Research Fellow from University of Zurich
Interests: Epistemology, (Meta)Ethics, Moral Psychology, Animal ethics
Sebastion is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Zurich Epistemology Group on Rationality (Zegra), a research group led by Prof Anne Meylan. Zegra’s research lies at the intersection of epistemology, metaethics and the philosophy of action and is, thereby, intended to bridge theoretical and practical philosophy. ACEPS has co-operated with ZEGRA members and welcomes Sebastian’s 2 month visit in early 2022.

ACEPS Postgrads

Akanimo Andrew Akpan

Akanimo Andrew Akpan
Interests: Decolonisation, African Philosophy, Epistemic Injustice, Power, Algorithmic bias
Akanimo is a doctoral student at the University of Johannesburg in the Department of Philosophy. His PhD thesis is on “Decolonising Algorithms”. Akanimo obtained his MA in Philosophy (distinction) from UJ as a Mandela Rhodes Scholar (2018). For his Master’s degree dissertation, Akanimo developed a novel account of how to distribute political power from a characteristically African moral theory. In 2019, he won the Anton Lembede Essay Competition in Philosophy. He seeks ways to bridge the seeming gap between philosophy and the world of work. He consults for various organisations in areas of education, development, governance, and justice transformation. Submitted his PhD thesis 2023.


Shené de Rijk
Interests: Applied Ethics, Social Epistemology, Epistemic Injustice
Shené is a doctoral candidate at the University of Johanneburg’s Philosophy Department. She completed her MA in philosophy at UJ in 2022. Her PhD project is centred on the phenomenon of toxic positivity and how it relates to epistemology in general and epistemic injustice especially.

Nadia Ellis

Nadia Ellis
Interests: Epistemology of Education, Epistemic Injustice, Ubuntu Philosophy, Decolonisation
Nadia works in the EdTech and publishing industry as an Academic Manager. Motivated by the epistemic injustice in e-learning and publishing theory and practice, she is currently working on establishing an Ubuntu-enriched Epistemology of Education in her MA. Her hope is to use this epistemology in future projects to ground educational paradigms and pedagogy and construct more inclusive digital and print content creation practices. Her ultimate objective is to contribute to the production of decolonised learning solutions for higher education in South Africa.

Harry Wilson Kapatika

Harry Wilson Kapatika
Interests: African philosophy, especially African epistemology and the history of ideas
Harry is a doctoral candidate at the University of Johanneburg’s Philosophy Department. His MA provided a novel account of the notion of epistemicide. His other related academic interests are in the broad field of the Humanities and the application of its multi-disciplinary approach to pedagogy and theorisation in the African context, Comparative philosophy and African history.

Nomaswazi Kubeka

Nomaswazi Kubeka
Interests: African Philosophy,Epistemic Injustice and Oppression, Metaethics, Philosophy of Language
Nomaswazi is a doctoral candidate at the University of Johanneburg’s Philosophy Department. Her Honour’s research focused on the Metaethics of Ubuntu and her master’s was on African Indigenous Languages and Epistemic Oppression which she obtained with distinction.

Gontse Lebakeng

Gontse Lebakeng
Interests: Philosophy of Race, Critical Disability Theory, Gender Studies and Political Philosophy
Gontse is a prospective PhD candidate at the University of Johannesburg’s Department of Philosophy. She’s a recipient of the National Research Foundation Scholarship for both her MA and PhD studies. Her research focus is on how some works on disability can be insightful for issues of exclusion and race.

Dimpho Moletsane

Dimpho Moletsane
Interests: Social Epistemology, Identity, Political Theory, Ethics & Metaphysics of AI
Dimpho is a doctoral candidate at the University of Johannesburg’s Philosophy Department. His MA thesis, ‘To Fail to Become South African’, was an inquiry into the moral commitments baked into the post-Apartheid South African Identity.

Richard Mwamba

Richard Mwamba
Interests: African Philosophy, Epistemic Injustice, Decolonisation, Epistemology of Education, Logic
Richard is a doctoral candidate at the University of Johannesburg in the Department of Philosophy. He obtained his MA and his Honours in Philosophy both with distinction from UNISA, and his BA in Philosophy with magna cum laude from St Joseph’s Theological Institute. His PhD project is centred on the search for epistemic justice in Africa and rethinking knowledge beyond the colonial paradigm on the continent.

Vanessa Nhlapo

Vanessa Nhlapo
Interests: Philosophy of Race, Philosophy of Law, Animal and Environmental Ethics, Theories of Justice
Vanessa is an Honours student in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Johannesburg. She completed her BA in French and Philosophy at UJ in 2022. Her Honours research essay focuses on questions related to the metaphysics and ontology of race. She is interested in using the skills acquired in Philosophy to understand the problems we face in society. This includes issues surrounding race, gender, and poverty.

Caitlin Rybko

Caitlin Rybko
Interests: Epistemology of the Internet, Social Epistemology, Applied Epistemology, Epistemic Injustice
Caitlin is a doctoral candidate at the University of Johannesburg in the Department of Philosophy. She obtained her MA in Philosophy from Rhodes University in 2017. Her PhD is titled: The Epistemology of Google’s Knowledge Panels. She is exploring our epistemic relationship with the internet and how it has changed our access and perception of knowledge. Submitted her PhD thesis 2023.

Abraham Tejiri Tobi

Abraham Tejiri Tobi
Interests: Social Epistemology, Epistemic Injustice, Decolonisation, Epistemology of the Internet
Abe is a doctoral candidate at the University of Johannesburg’s Philosophy Department. He obtained his BA in Philosophy with distinction from St Joseph’s Theological Institute, his Honours and his MA in Philosophy both with distinction from UJ. He was a recipient of the British Academy Newton Scholarship for his MA studies and UJ’s Global Excellence and Stature Scholarship. His PhD, titled “Knowledge in an Online World”, is funded by the University of Johannesburg’s Commonwealth Scholarship.Successfully defended his PhD viva 2023.