Within the humanities, the resources of the Capen Chair are used in particular to support certain fields that are still nationally underrepresented, such as race, ethnicity, Hispanic/Latino issues, and Latin American thought and culture, in addition of traditional areas of philosophy, such as metaphysics and medieval/scholastic philosophy, philosophical historiography, and the philosophy of language, and of philosophy, comparative literature, such as interpretation.

The Capen Chair is also meant to build bridges among various disciplines by sponsoring events that integrate the work of scholars in different fields including philosophy, comparative literature, Romance languages, literature in various languages, history, and art among others.

The Chair sponsors events such as conferences and symposia, lectures and seminars, visiting scholars from various parts of the world, and the publication of books, book series, specialized journal issues, and art catalogues. The Chair also is intended to sponsor or co-sponsor graduate student fellowships, and to help faculty (particularly junior faculty) and graduate students with support grants to attend congresses and other professional meetings when they participate on the program.

Moreover, it is part of the mission of the Chair to apply for grants with agencies such as the National Endowment for the Humanities and the New York Council for the Humanities.