Skip to main content

Sharon Ryan

Professor & Chair


  • Epistemology
  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Philosophy for Children

Research Interests

Dr. Ryan is especially interested in the following questions: What is wisdom?  What virtues do wise people possess?  Are wise people humble?  If so, what is humility?  Are wise people open-minded?  If so, in what sense?  What is forgiveness and when is forgiveness appropriate or wise? Is there something problematic about forgiving a wrongdoer who feels no remorse and/or fails to communicate a sincere apology? Do we have direct control over our doxastic attitudes (belief, disbelief, suspension of judgment)? Do we have any obligations about the doxastic attitudes we hold if belief is, in a sense, out of our control? What kind of control, if any, is required for moral and epistemic responsibility? Is human free will compatible with a future that is determined by the laws of nature and past events? Are there any epistemic abilities that are required for personhood? Is death bad for the one who is dead? Can a person be harmed if she does not, or cannot, experience the harm? Is it rational to fear death? What is wisdom? What are the differences between knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom?

She is the creator of THE QUESTION. This online project is an attempt to share her love of philosophy with everyone. Dr. Ryan's goal is to spark careful thought and discussion on philosophical questions with people all over the world. THE QUESTION has received a lot of positive attention from the media, including a full-page story in Sports Illustrated


  • Introduction to Problems of Philosophy
  • History of Ancient Philosophy
  • Theory of Knowledge
  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Critical Thinking
  • Logic