Change the world


What is philosophy at Nelson Mandela University?

All graduates can be certain of only one thing; the world will make demands on them in the not so distant future that nobody has even thought of today. In this era of global, ethical, social, environmental, and identity crises, the complexity and magnitude of which threaten or promise to change the world as we know it, on-going learning and adaptation must become a way of life. Against this backdrop, a good grounding in philosophy, which does not teach students what to think, but focuses on developing an open, flexible, critical mind, is an invaluable asset. Philosophical training develops skills in close and careful reading, thinking critically and creatively about meanings, assessing the value of ideas independently, and producing clear, powerful concepts and arguments of one’s own. These essential skills are vital in an environment where flexible, innovative thinking and the ability to learn are as important as a “cutting edge” knowledge base.

The development of a vibrant culture of philosophical critique and creativity is increasingly being prioritised at tertiary institutions around the world. Philosophy as it is currently presented at universities across South Africa is extremely diverse. But almost all Philosophy Departments, whatever their specific strengths and specialities, emphasise a historical tradition of ideas, ethics and critical thinking, with a growing awareness of complexity thinking. In keeping with this, Philosophy at Nelson Mandela University is undergoing a process of creative reconstruction.

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Contact information
Prof Andrea Hurst
Associate Professor
Tel: 27 41 504 4848


Prof Simphiwe Sesanti talks about decolonizing the philosophy curriculum. For more information, click here.