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Philosophy & Ethics of Mental Health

Welcome to the Division of Philosophy & Ethics of Mental Health 


To develope academic capacity in the interdisciplinary area of Philosophy and Mental Health with a view to building on international developments in the field, contributing to the development of person-centred mental health and responding to the diversity of individual and cultural needs and interests of mental health care users, communities, psychiatrists, other mental health care workers, and philosophers.


1. Development of training and teaching capacity

  • To develop and maintain dynamic, sustainable, and practically relevant training programmes in Philosophy and Mental Health, which are person-centred and relevant to the needs of Africa and South Africa
  • To build intellectual and practical skills capacity in philosophy and mental health among the diverse people of Africa and South Africa
  • To enhance teaching and learning opportunities and research studentships

2. Development of research capacity

  • To undertake and advance rigorous conceptual and empirical research in philosophy and mental health
  • To enhance capability in conceptual and empirical research in mental health
  • To build logistical capacity for substantial, high quality conceptual and empirical research in mental health
  • To help build excellence in mental health practice through philosophical research on the concepts guiding mental health practice
  • To advance philosophical theory by making the phenomena of psychiatry more accessible to philosophers
  • To enhance and facilitate collaborative learning through exchange of ideas, experience, knowledge and skills relevant to mental health practice and philosophy
  • To facilitate participation in national and international developments, publications, conferences, organisations and events that are related to philosophy and mental health

 3. Influence mental health practice, services, policies & education

  • To enhance the effectiveness of psychiatrists and other mental health care workers as practitioners, teachers, and researchers by illuminating the conceptual and philosophical issues embedded in these activities.
  • To influence mental health practice, service development, policies and education guided by an appreciation for individual differences and respect for diversity among health care users, societies, psychiatrists and other mental health care workers.
  • To advance responsible debates on contentious issues in mental health practices, services, policies and education in Africa and South Africa and on issues of international importance
  • To collaborate with international, African and South African tertiary institutions to advance the educational, research, and clinical interests in philosophy and psychiatry respectively and as an interdisciplinary subject.


First in-depth look at West Coast’s own Heaviside’s dolphins - 17/04/2014
All Heaviside’s dolphins found along southern Africa’s West Coast are related, and belong to one of two major populations. This is one of the findings of the first in-depth genetic study about this endemic dolphin species that is only found from Table Bay to southern Angola. The species may be sensitive to overharvesting by the hake fishing industry.
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The world beyond 2015 – is higher education ready? - 17/04/2014
‘We are very good at communicating to a scholarly audience, but one of our challenges is how to transfer that information to a broader audience, in other words the general public. There is definitely room for us [universities] to do more of that.’ This was the response of Prof Cheryl de la Rey, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria (UP), to one of the questions posed by the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) as part of a new international campaign.
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Minister Derek Hanekom launches Centre of Excellence in Food Security - 16/04/2014
South Africa's drive to create a competitive and food secure state was boosted on Tuesday (15 April) with the launch of the Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Food Security at University of the Western Cape (UWC) in collaboration with the University of Pretoria (UP).
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Record number of post-graduate degrees for UPs Class of 2013 - 16/04/2014
The Autumn 2014 graduation figures for the University of Pretoria (UP) confirm that the institution which last year was ranked among the Top 500 universities globally by the prestigious QS World Ranking of Universities, is on track to deliver on its vision of being a leading research-intensive university. A record 4214 post-graduate degrees are being awarded across its nine faculties and business school.
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Prof Tiaan de Jager gives an African perspective on environmental issues in Geneva - 15/04/2014
Prof Tiaan de Jager, Deputy Dean: Research in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Director of the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Sustainable Malaria Control, is an expert on the effect of the presence of pharmaceuticals in the environment in Africa. It was on account of this expertise that he was invited by the German Federal Government Environment Protection Agency and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) to address them on the effect of pharmaceuticals on the environment in Africa.
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Study asks for ban on 4x4s in protected areas - 15/04/2014
Soil damage caused by 4x4 vehicles is underestimated, long term between 5 and 1000 years - and mostly irreversible. Due to their negative environmental impact, vehicles should not be allowed to do off-road driving in protected areas. Strict legal measures should be applied to regulate 4x4 use in such areas, while very sensitive areas such as wetland areas should be classified as absolute no-go areas.
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Tax specialist nominated for an Education Innovation Award - 15/04/2014
A senior lecturer in the Department of Taxation, Ms Theresa van Oordt, has been nominated for the Laureate Award for Education Innovation.
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