Philosophy
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Undergraduate

The Department of Philosophy offers a broad range of courses at different levels of study. These form part of Stellenbosch University's programme-based teaching approach.

Philosophy can be studied as part of the BA programmes in Humanities, Social Dynamics, Language and Culture, Fine Arts, Information Science, International Studies, Social Work, Law and Value and Policy Studies. Moreover, Philosophy forms an integral part of the PPE programme (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) – a highly acclaimed programme that is structured along the lines of the renowned PPE degree offered at Oxford University. 

Please consult the faculty yearbook for detailed information about possible subject combinations and available modules. ​Click on the following link to view the yearbook: Faculty of Arts and Social Sci​ences 2​018


Module content for undergraduate programmes

114 (12) Introduction to Systematic Philosophy (3L, 1T)

Systematic study of the nature, methods and aims of philosophy as a distinctive discipline.

Basic concepts of logic (truth, validity, soundness, deductive and inductive argumentation, the principle of non-contradiction, logical form and basic patterns in argumentation, etc.)

Meaning and language use; disputes and definitions; recognising fallacies; the manipulation of language and meaning; rhetorical strategies.

Exercises in the analysis of reasoning.


144 (12) Introduction to Moral Reasoning

The Greek Enlightenment and the most prominent Ancient Greek philosophers, most notably Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.

The intersection of Greek and Judeo-Christian thought in Late Antiquity.

The nature of moral problems and an overview of important approaches to moral reasoning (e.g. consequentialism, rule morality, human rights, virtue ethics).


214 (16) Subdisciplines in Philosophy I (3L, 1T)

Systematic study of questions relating to specific philosophical disciplines, namely epistemology, philosophy of science and/or aesthetics.

Note: Two of the three disciplines are taught in any given year.


244 (16) Subdisciplines in Philosophy II (3L, 1T)

Systematic study of questions relating to specific philosophical disciplines, namely philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, and/or applied ethics.

Note: Two of the three disciplines are taught in any given year.


314 (12) Structuralism and Post-structuralism (2L, 1T)

The focus of this module will be on conceptualisations of meaning in the work of de Saussure, Foucault and Derrida. The ethical and political implications of these positions will also be considered.


324 (12) Phenomenology and Existentialism (2L, 1T)

Phenomenology as philosophical method and its relationship to existentialism (resp. existential phenomenology).

Central themes and ideas in the work of philosophers such as Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Jean-Paul Sartre.


334 (12) African Philosophy (2L, 1T)

A thorough discussion of prominent themes, texts and thinkers in African Philosophy. The module may include themes such as the following: metaphilosophy, epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, political philosophy and feminism.


344 (12) Critical  Social Theory and Ideology Critique (2L, 1T)

Contemporary trends in ideology critique, for example eco-feminism, critical race theory, postcolonial theory and queer theory.

The relevance of ideology critique for the analysis and evaluation of various social discourses (e.g. literature, political rhetoric, policy formulation, science, sexuality) prevalent in South African society.


354 (12) Analytic Philosophy (2L, 1T)

The origins of analytic philosophy and philosophical logic (Moore, Russell, Frege, Wittgenstein). Themes may include:

  • Logical positivism (e.g. Schlick, Carnap, Neurath, Feigl, Waismann, Ayer).
  • Linguistic analysis/philosophy of ordinary language (e.g. Wittgenstein, Ryle, Austin).
  • Scientific naturalism (e.g. Quine).
  • Philosophical logic and the understanding of modality (e.g. Kripke, Putnam).
  • Philosophy of mind: the analysis and evaluation of functionalism (e.g. Ryle, Putnam, Dennett, Searle, Chalmers).

 

364 (12) Political Philosophy (2L, 1T)

Themes such as the nature and justification of the state, the social contract, the sources of political legitimacy, and the nature of and conditions for freedom.

Moral principles for the distribution of benefits and burdens among members of a society, e.g. fairness, equality, liberty, desert, need, communality and well-being.

Problems relating to poverty, inequality and property ownership.

Note: ​A minimum of five out of the six modules are offered every year. Third-year students take at least two of the three modules per semester.


Service courses

 Philosophy and Ethics

314 (8) Philosophy and Ethics (3L, 1T)

Culture and technology, applied ethics, social philosophy; the Engineering Council of Sa's (ECSA) code of conduct for professional persons; case studies of typical situations from the engineering practice, including the social, workplace and physical environment.


414 (8) Philosophy and ethics (3L, 1T)

Culture and technology, applied ethics, social philosophy; the Engineering Council of Sa's (ECSA) code of conduct for professional persons; case studies of typical situations from the engineering practice, including the social, workplace and physical environment.