Addis Ababa University Philosophy Department
Addis Ababa University Philosophy Department – Check Below:
In 1951 when the University College of Addis Ababa was inaugurated, several courses of philosophy were part of the curricula of the different departments of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. All the first and second year students of the University College were required to take courses in Logic, Epistemology and Ethics as “general courses.” Moreover, Metaphysics and Philosophical Psychology were given as “common courses” to third and fourth year students.
On 31 October 1961 the Department of Humanities was established comprising three sections; namely, Philosophy, Ethiopian Languages, and European Languages. Philosophy became an autonomous “Minor Department” on 30 January 1963. Up to the end of the 1976/77 academic year, it functioned with the same status offering general and common courses. It became a full-fledged department in 1977/1978 academic year, when it started enrolling the first batch of students majoring in philosophy for the first time. This continued until 1990.
At the end of the 1989/90 academic calendar, its degree program was suspended because of government policy changes. Starting from 1991to 2002 the Department of Philosophy had remained catering two 100-level courses, namely, “Introduction to Logic” and “Introduction to Philosophy” to students of most Faculties and Colleges of the Addis Ababa University (AAU).
In 2002 the Department revised its curriculum and reopened the undergraduate program. The revised curriculum has been in operation for the last fifteen years. Based on the lessons drawn from its teaching experiences and the guidelines of the Ministry of Education, the Department modularized the curriculum of its undergraduate programin 2013. There is a genuine desire to make the philosophy program more liberal and pluralistic as well as cognizant of important contemporary philosophical trends and the interest of the Nation.
The program focuses on history of Western philosophy, logic, epistemology, metaphysics, moral philosophy and political philosophy, and various African and Asian philosophical traditions as core areas. There are also other areas of philosophy (such as applied ethics, philosophy of education, philosophy of religion, gender issues and philosophy, philosophy of science and intercultural philosophy) that could be seen as second-order inquiries. They would immensely enrich the program in both theoretical and practical dimensions. The courses of the program are classified as core, elective, general, and supportive. All students are required to take all core courses, because without some familiarity with these subjects, they cannot reasonably qualify for a degree in philosophy. On the other hand, students have the right to choose some courses from elective courses.
The Department launched an MA program in philosophy in 2007/2008, which was also extended to the Evening Division in 2011/2012. The main objective of the program is to train strong and high level instructors, researchers, civil servants, critical thinkers and writers in pertinent areas of philosophical inquiry.
The Department also started a PhD Program in 2016. The program aims to produce qualified critical scholars, educators, researchers (particularly for the country’s rapidly expanding universities), writers and thinkers.
The intellectual and social profile of the Department includes teaching, research, consultancy and the organization of academic discourses (such as international conferences, seminars, workshops and public lectures).
Vision and Mission
The major vision of the Philosophy Department is to establish a unique research, graduate studies, and undergraduate program built on the strengths and interests of its faculty members and students with the objective of making a real contribution to the university and society at large.It aspires to be a leading academic unit in philosophical education, research and service rooted in the unique reality and perspectives of Ethiopia and Africa.
The mission of the Department of Philosophy at the AAU today, in both its teaching and scholarly research, is to transmit knowledge of philosophy to its students, to promote innovative teaching, research, and service; to teach students to think creatively, critically, effectively and systematically; to encourage students to challenge themselves and others to be more deliberative and open to alternatives and be confident intellectuals and citizens in a rapidly changing world, and apply their philosophical knowledge to address the problems of their society.
Given the deep and generally acknowledged questions concerning the problem of improving the quality of higher education while vastly expanding the quantity of its output our objective is not merely the production of degree-holders but individuals who are truly empowered and capacitated to fulfill advanced social, economic, cultural and political functions within Ethiopian society.
Our undergraduate and graduate programs are designed to contribute to humanity’s general understanding while at the same time affirming the uniquely Ethiopian and other African perspectives.
It aims to promote teaching, research and consultancy service in the relevant fields of philosophy. With the aim of fostering enlightenment and critical thinking among the citizenry, it aspires to encourage sustained reflection on fundamental metaphysical, epistemological, scientific, ethical, religious, cultural and political issues that concern all citizens. It also tries to stay in close connection with everyday life by taking up the existential conditions of humankind.
Some of the specific objectives of the program are to:
- promote the study of and research in philosophy,
- strengthen the faculty profile of the Department,
- promote interdisciplinary research and exchange by reflecting on the philosophical foundations of the natural and social sciences,
- provide students with opportunities to acquire training and skills of writing and reflecting on issues of philosophical disposition,
- produce trainees who value and appreciate the evidence of independent thought, capacity for research, cultural sensitivity and flexibility, integrative and critical thinking that an education in philosophy provides,
- organize and facilitate seminars, symposia, and public lectures.
General Objectives:- The Master’s program aims at promoting philosophical education, conducting research and commitment to democratic ideals, academic freedom, rigorous scholarship, sound moral values, critical reflection, practical guidance, and social responsibility. It aspires to contribute to understanding of the proper role of philosophy in the wider community, encourage sustained reflection on fundamental metaphysical, epistemological, ethical and political issues with the aim of fostering the creation of an enlightened and reflective citizenry.
Specific Objectives: More specifically the program is committed to achieving the following objectives:
- To provide students with diverse and in-depth training in philosophy
- To focus on general areas of specialization relevant to Ethiopian society: ethics for the 21st century; intercultural philosophy, society and globalization; and the philosophy of science and technology from the perspective of the ‘developing’ world.
- To prepare graduates in a way they can become effective educators and promoters of innovative, critical, and philosophical thinking throughout the Ethiopian educational system, both private and public.
- To prepare learners to continue their studies and effectively participate in the world of professional philosophy.
- To develop interdisciplinary orientation towards research and graduate studies within the university by offering courses that would be open to and benefit students from other fields such as social anthropology, psychology, or physics (e.g. – Theory of Knowledge), and by establishing cooperative projects in which faculty members and graduate students from different departments and faculties could work together in research and in developing their MA and PhD theses.
- To provide the professional training necessary for individuals to work and make valuable contributions in such fields as law, medicine, politics, business, journalism and the media, developmental and environmental policy assessments, theology, social work, etc.
- To develop a perspective and fulfill its vital role in higher education and society in a way that affirms both the universality of our human nature and the particularity of Ethiopia.
- To establish and maintain standards of excellence while providing the necessary mechanisms for those who might have some weaknesses in their academic backgrounds due to their educational histories and recent instabilities in the educational system to achieve such standards.
- To encourage the graduates of its undergraduate program to pursue an M.A. degree and develop capacities within the country through the program, by employing mechanisms of flexible scheduling, distance education, and favorable financing and supporting system while teaching in various regions of the country.
- To prepare students undertake sound and publishable papers through which they develop the skill of identifying particular problems and soliciting their solutions.
General Objectives The general objective of the Ph.D. program is to produce qualified and high-level scholars and professionals in the fields of philosophy who can play a vital role in teaching, research, and community service, and thereby contribute to the development of the nation and the production of new knowledge. TheSpecific Objectives of the Ph.D. Program are to:
- produce highly qualified professionals of philosophy who will serve the nation as teachers and researchers in philosophy, personnel in governmental, non-governmental, national and international institutions.
- broaden the teaching, research and thinking horizon of instructors, students and scholars in general.
- meet the growing demand for analysts, researchers, public officials, policy advisors/makers and critical thinkers.
- afford students who have completed their Master’s degree the opportunity to
continue their intellectual growth and development.
Number of Programs (Undergraduate & Graduate)
The Department of Philosophy at the AAU offers courses of study leading to the B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees.
This is currently a three-year program at the end of which students graduate with Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in philosophy.
The undergraduate program aims to widen the philosophical interests of learners, develop their appreciation of traditional and contemporary philosophical issues and advance their competence in philosophy as a formal academic discipline, promote effective interdisciplinary research, sustained reflection on the basic metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, aesthetic and political issues and foster the creation of enlightened and reflective citizenry.
- Graduate Program
The Department of Philosophy at the AAU offers graduate programs leading to the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in philosophy.
While the M. A. program will be completed in 18 months, duration of the study for Ph.D. program shall range from three to four years.
III. General and Service Courses
The Department used to offer two general courses to students of social and natural sciences – introduction to philosophy and introduction to logic. These courses are both central to philosophy and relevant to other disciplines and practices. Students who take these courses can learn how philosophers have approached issues in metaphysics, logic, ethics, politics and sciences and in their major fields.
The Department used to offer introductory level philosophy and logic courses to the new entrants of all colleges of the AAU. While the Department strongly believes that it should be compulsory for any university student of first level, to take at least the mentioned two courses, “Introduction to Philosophy” is no more in place. Who cancelled it and why is not clear to the Department. In view of the academic benefit it offers the Department is still striving to bring itself back to operation.
Currently the Department’s faculty members are engaged in developing different service courses for students majoring in other subjects (in addition to the above-mentioned two general courses). Some of these are philosophy of language, philosophy of education, philosophy of law, philosophy of environment, philosophy of science and technology, philosophy of social science, philosophy of mind, business ethics, professional ethics, medical ethics, media ethics, and applied ethics.
The Department offers regular courses in the fields of history of philosophy, ethics, comparative philosophy, contemporary philosophy, political philosophy, applied philosophy, logic, philosophy of science, African Philosophy, Asian Philosophy and the like.
In addition to its undergraduate and graduate program, the Department has the responsibility of teaching logic all students throughout the University.
The entry requirement for admission to the Bachelor’s degree program of the Department is fulfilling the Addis Ababa University admission criteria.
- a) Admission into the M.A. program in philosophy requires the approval of the Council of Graduate Studies of the University and is effected according to the rules and regulations set forth by the Office of Research and Graduate Programs.
- b) The Department admits its M.A. program students who have completed an undergraduate program at a fully accredited or recognized college or university, with a major in philosophy or its equivalent as determined by the Department.
- c) Students may be required to remedy deficiencies in a certain area or areas of philosophy by taking undergraduate level courses. Normally no undergraduate courses will be credited towards completion of course requirements in a graduate program.
- d) In each of the compulsory courses of the Master’s program, students will be required to present a number of regular lectures in an undergraduate class. Such a requirement in the elective classes will be subject to the discretion of the instructor.
Admissions into the Ph.D. program in philosophy follow the general guidelines set forth by the Council of Graduate Studies (CGS) of the Addis Ababa University. An applicant aspiring to join a doctoral program in philosophy should have adequate academic background in philosophy. The eligibility of the applicant would be assessed by the Department Graduate Committee (DGC) using various criteria. The assessment includes the following:
- Master’s Degree (MA) in philosophy from recognized university or academic institution.
- Cumulative Grade Point Average of 3. 50 or above in their graduate studies in philosophy, with MA Thesis rated “very good” or “excellent”. The DGC will have a discretionary power in cases where admission is sought for applicants below 3.50 cumulative grade point average and MA Thesis rated below “Very Good”.
- An application with the applicant’s curriculum vitae and official transcript.
- Three copies of certificate authenticated by respective institutions.
- Submission of a preliminary research proposal for the Doctoral Dissertation (not more than ten pages), to be approved by the Department Graduate Committee (DGC).
- Three confidential academic references.
- Interview or/and entrance examination, if necessary.
Current Number of students (Undergraduate &Graduate)
During the second semester of 2017/18 academic year the Department of Philosophy has 37 regular under graduate students. There are also 27 MA and 12 PhD students.
Click the link below for Program Details
Workineh Kelbessa is Professor of Philosophy at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. He is the author of Traditional Oromo Attitudes towards the Environment: An Argument for Environmentally Sound Development (2001), and Indigenous and Modern Environmental Ethics: A Study of the Indigenous Oromo Environmental Ethic and Modern Issues of Environment and Development (2011). He also published many articles in refereed journals and chapters in books. He is a former Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and a member of UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology and the International Panel on Social Progress.
Current Head: Professor Workineh Kelbessa
Tel: +251-11 1239747
Office Location: AAU Main Campus
Building: College of Social Sciences Building, 2nd Floor
Room Number: 207
Secretary: Abebech Teferi
Tel: +251-11 1239747
Office Location: AAU Main Campus
Building: College of Social Sciences Building, 2nd Floor
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