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Fields of Research

Faculty books

Selected books authored by our faculty.

Our Department is distinguished by its unusually wide range of special interests and orientations in philosophy, and by the high degree of faculty-student interaction both in scholarly enterprises and in departmental affairs. Our nationally-recognized researchers work in most of the subfields of philosophy.

Stars by M. C. Escher, 1948 engraving; Wikimedia Commons
This central area of philosophy investigates the kinds of entities that constitute basic components of reality. Subfields include Philosophy of Mind and Ontology.
Owl coin, Tetradrachm, Athens; Circa 480-420 BC; Wikimedia Commons
Epistemology concerns theories of knowledge, including examination of perception and reasoning. Epistemology bridges metaphysics–insofar as it posits theories of how reality comes to be known, and philosophy of mind, inasmuch as knowledge engages mental faculties.
Painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder - The Tower of Babel (Vienna) - Google Art Project; Wikimedia Commons.
Philosophers of language study the structure of linguistic utterances, semantics, syntactical order, and their implications for meaning, reference, and logic.
Plato and Aristotle; Marble panel; Florence, Italy. Museo dell'Opera del Duomo; Wikimedia Commons
Logic is long-standing strength of the department. Skills in logic are indispensable for advanced study in other areas such as metaphysics and philosophy of language.
\A view of the world in a Cupola; Wikimedia Creative Commons
Courses are offered both in philosophy of the physical sciences and of medicine. Closely related courses are offered in logic and the history of science.
Engraving: Improvement of the Morals LACMA; Wikimedia Commons
Both theoretical meta-ethics and normative ethics are interests of members of the Philosophy faculty, as is the application of these ideas to applied areas of practice.
Makintosh Stained Glass Window; Wikimedia Commons
Aesthetics concerns the philosophy of perception and responses to works of art and nature. Study of emotional responses to art connects aesthetics to epistemology and ethics, and questions about the status of cultural artifacts join aesthetics with metaphysics.
Justice, A Good Beginning; Udo Keppler; Wikimedia Commons
Social and political philosophy investigates individual and cultural identities, communities, justice, social values, unity and diversity, and the best way to organize just societies.
Allegorical figure, The Philosophy; Wikimedia Creative Commons.
The history of philosophical thinking is not only an area of study in itself, it also provides critical background for understanding the development of contemporary ideas.