Meet our Team

Prof. Johan Hattingh

Professor Emeritus

Johan Hattingh is Professor Emeritus at the University of Stellenbosch. From 2006 until 2011 he served for two terms as Vice Dean for Social Sciences of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and was Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University from 2013 to 2017. He retired in 2021.

He started in the Department in 1980 and he has extensive experience in the teaching of Practical Logic and Critical Thinking Skills, Philosophy of Culture, Hermeneutics, Continental Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Poststructuralist Thought, in particular that of Michel Foucault. His Master’s degree was about Martin Heidegger’s critical conception of technology, while he focused in his Doctoral dissertation on the philosophical problem of the relationship between art and morality.

In the last thirty years he has specialized in Applied Ethics, Ideology Critique, Development Ethics, and particularly in Environmental Ethics and Climate Change Ethics. Since 1992 he has been Head of the Unit for Environmental Ethics at the University of Stellenbosch, and from 1998 until 2005 he was Visiting Professor in Development Ethics in a Master’s Programme in Development Studies of the Graduate School of Leadership in the Faculty of Management Sciences at the University of the North (currently the University of Limpopo).

With more than 70 academic publications to his credit, and numerous papers at academic conferences, he finds it fascinating to work at the interface of theory and practice in the analysis of value disputes in the context of policy formulation, environmental decision-making and management, as well as ethical issues related to climate change. In this regard, he follows and further develops the case study method in Applied Ethics.

On post-graduate level Johan Hattingh teaches Environmental Ethics in three Master’s Programmes at the University of Stellenbosch. He has acted as supervisor or co-supervisor of 15 completed Doctoral dissertations and 43 completed Master’s theses.

In his current research, Professor Hattingh focuses on the problem of integrating ethical considerations in environmental decision-making, and in particular he focuses on institutional responses to the ethical issues related to climate change.

Having served on the Editorial Board of USA based Environmental Ethics(1996-2005), he also is/was:

  • Member of the Editorial Board of the Netherlands based Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics(January 2007-2016)
  • Member of the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST) of UNESCO (from 2004 – 2011), where he also served on the Executive Board as Rapporteur from 2005 – 2011.
  • Convener of a COMEST working group on Environmental Ethics that focused on the ethical issues related to climate change.
  • President of BEN-Africa (the Business Ethics Network – Africa) from 2008 – 2011.
  • Chairperson of the Research Ethics Committee of the CSIR since 2009 till 2011.
  • Chairperson of the Research Ethics Committee: Human Research (Humaniora) of Stellenbosch University from 2006 till 2011.
  • Member of ECRA, the Ethics Committee for Research on Animals of the Medical Research Council of South Africa (till 2011).
  • President of an Ad Hoc Expert Group convened in 2016 by the Director General of UNESCO to draft a Declaration of Ethical Principles in Relation to Climate Change (that was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in December 2017).