The techniques that philosophers use can be applied to
almost any subject, so the possibilities for philosophical research are nearly endless.
No matter your interests, studying philosophy will help you to develop the critical
thinking skills that will get you started on uncovering what you want to know.
Our accomplished professors conduct research and teach on a diverse range of
subjects, including: military ethics, conscientious objection in health care,
the problem of consciousness, distributive justice, free will, moral and legal responsibility,
logic and paradoxes, and the rationality of belief in God, along with many other
Here are descriptions of some of the fields in which faculty
members conduct research:
Bioethicists study controversial issues
that arise in biological research and the healthcare professions. Topics include
the moral status of genetic engineering, cloning, euthanasia, abortion, etc.
Epistemology (from epistēmē,
a Greek word for “knowledge”) studies the nature and scope of human knowledge. Topics
include arguments for (and against) skepticism, theories of how to evaluate
testimony, and theories of truth and justification.
The study of ethics is concerned with developing
general accounts of “right” and “wrong” and with answering specific questions
about whether certain behaviors are permissible.
History of Philosophy
Scholars who study the history of western philosophy often
focus on specific periods, figures, or schools of thought. Popular areas of research
include ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, medieval philosophy, renaissance
and enlightenment philosophy, and the 20th century analytic and continental
Metaphysics is difficult to define, but it often focuses on
questions about existence and about the natures of things. Examples of these
questions include: In what sense do numbers and properties exist? What is the
nature of time? Is there a God? Do we have free will?
Military ethics addresses questions that arise
in the context of militaries and military conflict. Topics include justifications
for initiating military actions and the use of certain tactics, the status of
non-combatants, and how to define and respond to war crimes.
Moral psychology studies moral character, moral
reasoning, and moral motivation as well as the way that internal and external
factors can affect these things. Increasingly, work in this branch of
philosophy is informed by empirical results from psychology.
Logic is the systemic study of reasoning and
argumentation. Contemporary philosophical logic overlaps in significant ways
with mathematics and plays an important role in advances in mathematics,
computer science, and linguistics.
Philosophy of Language
Philosophy of language is the study of the nature of
linguistic meaning, and focuses on topics like truth, reference, modality, and
the foundations of contemporary linguistics.
Philosophy of Mind
Philosophy of mind studies the relationship between mind and brain, the nature of consciousness, and how we perceive the world. It overlaps in important ways with cognitive
Social and Political Philosophy
Social and political philosophy examines issues
that arise in the context of our efforts to live together in social groups and
political bodies. Topics include justifications of the coercive power of the
state and debates about rights, liberty, equality, and just distributions of