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General Information

Philosophy is not just a subject, but a way of life. Philosophy begins with Socrates’ famous statement in the fifth century BC: “All that I know, is that I don’t know.” In our department, we strive to cultivate a questioning, critical life practice in our students – a practice that is as necessary in everyday life as in the work environment. Our students get a thorough grounding in more than 25 centuries’ thought tradition, situated in the context of contemporary South Africa. It enables our students to be critical, participating citizens who contribute to a culture of dialogue and democracy.


The approach of the department is both historical and systematic. Students are trained in the Western thought tradition in conversation with South African intellectual history and socio-political questions – in conjunction with relevant concepts and arguments. Over and above a review of the most important thinkers’ ideas and historical context, students are also trained in the following themes, amongst others: the Greek, Roman, and Christian foundations of the philosophical tradition; the rise of Western modernity and how it affected South Africa; German Idealism, Critical Theory, hermeneutics, and phenomenology; political and cultural diversity; the philosophy of technology; the relationship between philosophy and theology; and African and South African intellectual history.

Career choices
  • Diplomat or civil servant
  • Journalist
  • Teacher
  • Philosophy lecturer
  • Writer
  • Researcher
  • Politician
  • Business person
Contact Details


Department of Philosophy
Faculty of the Humanities

University of the Free State
PO Box 339
South Africa

Prof Johann Rossouw
T: 051 401 3347


T: +27 51 401 2240 or

Marizanne Cloete: +27 51 401 2592

Katlego Mabulana: +27 51 401 2495
Juanita Hlongwane: +27 51 401 3269

Humanities photo next to contact block

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