Malesela John Lamola
Group Leader and Principal Investigator
Malesela John Lamola is an Associate Professor at the University of Johannesburg’s Institute for Intelligent Systems, and the founding chairperson of the Research Group on Africa, Philosophy and Digital Technologies (APDiT). He is a rated researcher (C2) with the National Research Foundation of South Africa. He obtained his PhD from Edinburgh University and an MBA from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Beach, USA). His research interests are on the intersection between Social Philosophy in the context of the emergence of African Modernity and the Philosophy of Science and Technology. Prior to his return to fulltime academic life he managed a proprietary private equity investment portfolio that included holdings in aviation and internet technologies. He publishes on Marxian epistemology, Sartrean existential anti-colonial philosophy, and on the representation of Africans and their participation in the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. He is a professional member of the Society on Social Implications of Technology of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers), an active member of the Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective, and a founding member of the Centre for Phenomenology in South Africa.
Paulin J. Hountondji
Paulin J. Hountondji is one of the most prominent African philosophers of the last fifty years. He is Emeritus Professor of philosophy at the national universities of Benin, Cotonou. Publications include: African Philosophy, Myth and Reality (Indiana University Press, 1997; first published in French, 1977); Endogenous Knowledge: Research Trails (ed.) (Dakar, Codesria 1997; French original: 1994); The Struggle for Meaning: Reflections on Philosophy, Culture and Democracy in Africa (Ohio University Press, 2002; original French: 1997); La rationalité, une ou plurielle? (ed.) (Dakar, Codesria, 2007); L’ancien et le nouveau: la production du savoir dans l’Afrique d’aujourd’hui (Porto-Novo,, Benin, 2009; published in Luanda in Portuguese translation in 2012), and other books and articles mainly in French. Hountondji was Vice-President of the Paris-based International Council for Philosophy and Humanistic Studies (CIPSH) from 1998 to 2002, Vice-President of the Dakar-based Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) from 2002 to 2005 and is one of the 25 founding members of the Benin National Academy of Science and Arts (since 2012). He was Minister of Education, then Minister for Culture and Communication in Benin (from 1990 to 1993), President of the National Council for Education (from 2009 to March 2019). He is presently the “Sherpa” (personal representative of the Head of State) of Benin at the Permanent Council of the Francophone Summit.
Birgit Boogaard is a post-doctoral researcher at the Knowledge, Technology and Innovation Group at Wageningen University (WUR), The Netherlands. She teaches Social Justice, Technology and Development and African Philosophy. She has an interdisciplinary PhD in Rural Sociology and Animal Science (WUR). Previously she worked as post-doctoral researcher at the International Livestock Research Institute, for which she lived for two years in Mozambique. With her interdisciplinary background, she aims for substantial integration of philosophy, social sciences, and natural sciences. Her current research interests include African philosophy, agricultural and international development, socio-technical innovation and transformation, epistemic justice, and intercultural dialogues. She has published several peer reviewed articles – most recently “The relevance of connecting sustainable agricultural development with African philosophy” in the South African Journal of Philosophy.
Tebogo Victoria Kgope
Tebogo Victoria Kgope is a Research Quality Assurance Officer in the College of Graduate Studies at the University of South Africa (UNISA) where she oversees the management of relevant and meaningful information on various research undertakings. She is a qualified and registered homeopath following her studies at the University of Johannesburg. She is in the finishing stages of her PhD in African Studies with the University of Venda. Using a complex critical African emancipatory framework, she has conceptually indigenised the understanding of homeopathy in her research. Her research interests revolve around grappling with issues reflected in the everyday experiential and ontological realities of ordinary people.
Helen Lauer is a Professor of philosophy at the University of Dar es Salaam since 2015, formerly with the Department of Philosophy, University of Ghana since 1988. She received her PhD (1986) from the City University of New York Graduate Center. Prof Lauer has edited African anthologies that challenge tacit global assumptions for thirty years and she also contributes to current analytic debates about social epistemology and collective intentionality. She was involved in the authorship of History and Philosophy of Science for African Undergraduates, 3 vols (Ibadan, Nigeria: Hope Publications, 2003) and History and Philosophy of Science Course Reader (Legon. Accra: Livog Printers, 2003). She is currently the editor in chief of Utafiti Journal of African Perspectives, flagship journal of UDSM College of Humanities, co-published by Brill. In 2014 she was elected a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Emma Ruttkamp-Bloem is a professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Pretoria. She is the leader of the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence research group at the Centre for AI Research in South Africa (CAIR). She is the elected chairperson of the UNESCO Ad Hoc Expert Working Group on Ethics of AI, which is tasked with turning the UNESCO Guidelines for Trustworthy AI into a legislative framework; a member of the World Commission for Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST) for the period 2020-2024 (https://en.unesco.org/themes/ethics-science-and-technology/comest/members); the organizing chair of the SACAIR 2020 (Southern African Conference for AI Research) in December 2020, and the founder of the CAIR/UP AI for Society Symposium Series. Prof Ruttkamp-Bloem was elected corresponding member of the International Academy for the Philosophy of Science in August 2019 (http://www.lesacademies.net/en/), she is the South African representative at the International Science Council, and the founder of the South African Philosophy of Science and Logic Colloquium Series. Her fields of research expertise include ethics of Artificial Intelligence (machine ethics, data ethics, ethics of social robotics; ethical AI and sustainability in Africa, AI and children; trustworthy AI), philosophy of science (scientific realism; the structure of scientific theories; the demarcation problem; scientific progress; machine learning, discovery and justification in science; knowledge-based AI and formal epistemology). She currently participates in research projects in the ethics of AI, and scientific realism and the structure of theories.
Andiswa Sibhukwana is an economist currently based at Trade and Industrial Policy Strategy (TIPS), Pretoria. Previously she was an economic and policy analyst at the National Treasury of South Africa where she, inter alia, worked on inputs for the BRICS strategy. She has also lectured in the Department of Economics and Economic History at Rhodes University, South Africa. Andiswa has a keen interest in innovation economics, development economics and industrial policy and international trade. She has done extensive research on the role of a National System of Innovation in an aspirant developmental state which assesses the role of innovation, capability enhancing methods in order to promote sustainable economic growth and development among Emerging Economies. She was an Allan Gray Scholarship Recipient and an NRF Academic excellence scholarship awardee for her Master’s Degree at Rhodes University.
Samuel T. Segun
Samuel T. Segun’s research interests include the ethics of artificial intelligence with a focus on computational ethics, the philosophy of artificial intelligence, African intellectual development, philosophy of mind with a specific focus on neuro-philosophy and consciousness. Samuel’s doctoral research at the University of Johannesburg focused on developing a robust ethical theory that is informed by African values for autonomous intelligent systems. He is a Research Fellow of the Conversational School of Philosophy (CSP), where he serves as Assistant Editor for the Scopus journal Filosofia Theoretica. He is also a Research Associate of the Ethics of AI research group, under the Center for Artificial Intelligence Research (CAIR), University of Pretoria.
Dr. Beatrice Okyere-Manu, is a Senior Lecturer and Programme Director for Applied Ethics in the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She is a member of the African Studies Association of Africa, International Training Research Group (ITRG), Circle of African Women Theologians, and The Collaborative for HIV and AIDS, Religion and Theology (CHART). She researches and has extensively published on ethics of emerging technologies, ethical issues affecting African women, indigenous knowledge and African culture, African environmental ethics, and migration ethics.
Abraham Olivier is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Fort Hare and Visiting Professor at the University of Bayreuth. He is Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Centre for Phenomenology in South Africa and former Editor-in-Chief of the South African Journal of Philosophy. Olivier obtained his PhD from the University of Tübingen and held lecturing and research positions at the Universities of Tübingen, Stellenbosch, Padua, and the Evangelical University of Social Work in Hamburg. He is the author of Being in Pain (2007) and editor/co-editor of several special journal issues, including, Phenomenology and Naturalism for the International Journal of Philosophical Studies (2016), Identity and Difference for the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology (2016), The African Other for Angelaki (2019), and Philosophy and Laughter for The Southern Journal of Philosophy (2020). He published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on topics relating phenomenology, philosophy of mind and African philosophy.
Thando Nkohla-Ramunenyiwa is the Post-Doctoral Fellow in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology of the University of South Africa (UNISA).She earned her DPhil degree at the University of Kwazulu-Natal (UKZN) in 2017 with a ground-breaking dissertation on the tension between the use of social media technology platforms by urban black teenagers and the valence of traditional African parenting values. She has lectured in Ethics at Monarch University South Africa and at UKZN.
Dr. Irina Turner is Academic Councillor at the chair of African Language Studies and member of the Cluster of Excellency Africa Multiple at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. Her research interests are interdisciplinary questions of cultural and media studies, political communication and applied linguistics. Her research focus is on communication practices and multilingualism in South Africa. Of particular interest is the intersection of digital technology and language as well as linguistic realizations of science communication in postcolonial contexts and within networks of multiple knowledge systems.
Dr. Niels Weidtmann is Scientific Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Studies (CIIS) at the University of Tübingen. His research interests include intercultural philosophy, African philosophy, phenomenology, hermeneutics, structural philosophy, philosophical anthropology and philosophy of science. He obtained his PhD at the University of Würzburg, Germany. In 2017 he has held a guest professorship at the University of Vienna. He is author of the book Interkulturelle Philosophie. Aufgaben, Dimensionen, Wege (Tübingen 2016) and editor of the book-series Interdisciplinary Research at the Forum Scientiarum. He co-edited a book series on Ancient Studies 2010-2019 and a special journal issue on Phenomenology and Pragmatism for the Phenomenological Studies (2019) as well as a book on Husserl und die Philosophie des Geistes (with Manfred Frank, Berlin 2010). Dr. Weidtmann is the current of President of the Society for Intercultural Philosophy (GIP).