Meet our Team

Phila M. Msimang

Senior Lecturer

Phila M. Msimang is a Senior Lecturer of Philosophy at Stellenbosch University and the Head of CIRCoRe Workstream IV: Race, Human Categorisation and Science (RHCS). He is the Secretary of the Azanian Philosophical Society (APS) and a member of the International Philosophy of Biology Circle (IPBC) among other societies and associations. He is also a member of several international research groups working on the problem of race in the sciences. His current work deals with the challenges of conceptualising group descriptors in the sciences with the aim to critique or improve their use in research. He has written on the use of group descriptors in the design of public policy and the use and abuse of population descriptors in the human and health sciences. This aspect of his research looks to answer questions about how and under what circumstances classifications of community, identity, socio-political affiliation, social difference, and biological difference become variables of social and scientific significance.

Selected publications

Book chapters

  • 2021. Social races in biomedical settings. In Ludovica Lorusso and Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther (eds) Remapping Race in a Global Context. Routledge. (HTML)

 Journal articles

  • 2024. Prescribing Race: No Blank Scripts for Using Race and Ethnicity in Health. Argumenta (online first), 1–24. (HMTL)
  • 2022. The IRR as false witness: how the Institute of Race Relations strategically misinforms us about race and policy (as a threat to deliberative democracy). Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory 172 (2), 1–31. (HTML)
  • 2020. Medicine, anti-realism, and ideology: variation in medical genetics does not show that race is biologically real. Northern European Journal of Philosophy 20 (2), 117–140. (HTML)

 Scientific communications

  • (forthcoming). What is the biological profile of ‘the’ South African?
  • 2022. That only the elite should have children is a worrying argument. South African Journal of Bioethics & Law 15 (1), 6–7. (HTML); Don’t shy away from the elitist implications of your argument: Response to de Roubaix. South African Journal of Bioethics & Law 15 (2), 42–43. (HTML)

A more comprehensive list of Msimang’s academic publications can be found on Google Scholar. These publications are available for download on Researc​hGate​.


  • Philosophy 214: Subdisciplines in Philosophy I (Modern Epistemology)
  • Philosophy 333: Philosophy of race (the metaphysics of race)
  • Philosophy 345: Analytic Philosophy (Philosophy of Mind)
  • Honours coursework and supervision
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Ethics
  • MPhil (Applied Ethics) Biomedical Ethics
  • MPhil (Applied Ethics) Social and Political Ethics
  • MA coursework and supervision (topics in philosophy)