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Emeriti (Professors): Fred Dretske, Solomon Feferman, Dagfinn Føllesdal, Georg Kreisel, John Perry, David S. Nivison, Patrick Suppes, James O. Urmson, Allen Wood, Rega Wood; (Courtesy Professor) Denis Phillips

Chair: Helen Longino

Director of Graduate Study: Michael Bratman

Director of Undergraduate Study: Chris Bobonich

Professors: Chris Bobonich, Michael Bratman, Alan Code, Joshua Cohen, John Etchemendy, Michael Friedman, Helen Longino, Grigori Mints, Debra Satz, Brian Skyrms (Spring), Kenneth Taylor, Johan van Benthem (Spring), Thomas Wasow

Associate Professors: Lanier Anderson, Mark Crimmins, Graciela De Pierris, David Hills (Teaching), Nadeem Hussain, Krista Lawlor, Tamar Schapiro (on leave)

Assistant Professors: Alexis Burgess (on leave), Anna-Sara Malmgren

Courtesy Professors: Reviel Netz, Josiah Ober, Rob Reich

Lecturers: Enrique Casanovas, Jorah Dannenberg, Shane Duarte, James Genone, Jennifer Lockhart, John Mumma, Thomas Ryckman, Richard Sommer, Donovan Wishon

Department Offices: Building 90

Mail Code: 94305-2155

Department Phone: (650) 723-2547


Web Site:

Courses offered by the Department of Philosophy are listed under the subject code PHIL on the Stanford Bulletin's ExploreCourses web site.

Philosophy concerns itself with fundamental problems. Some are abstract and deal with the nature of truth, justice, value, and knowledge; others are more concrete, and their study may help guide conduct or enhance understanding of other subjects. Philosophy also examines the efforts of past thinkers to understand the world and people's experience of it.

Although it may appear to be an assortment of different disciplines, there are features common to all philosophical inquiry. These include an emphasis on methods of reasoning and the way in which judgments are formed, on criticizing and organizing beliefs, and on the nature and role of fundamental concepts.

Students of almost any discipline can find something in philosophy which is relevant to their own specialties. In the sciences, it provides a framework within which the foundations and scope of a scientific theory can be studied, and it may even suggest directions for future development. Since philosophical ideas have had an important influence on human endeavors of all kinds, including artistic, political, and economic, students of the humanities should find their understanding deepened by acquaintance with philosophy.


The mission of the undergraduate program in Philosophy is to train students to think clearly and critically about the deepest and broadest questions concerning being, knowledge, and value and their connections to the full range of human activities and interests. The Philosophy major presents students with paradigms and perspectives of past thinkers and introduces students to a variety of methods of reasoning and the ways in which judgments are formed. Courses in the major equip students with core skills involved in critical reading, analytical thinking, sound argumentation, and the clear and well-organized expression of ideas. Philosophy is an excellent major for those planning a career in law, medicine, or business. It provides analytical skills and a breadth of perspective helpful to those called upon to make decisions about their own conduct and the welfare of others. Philosophy majors who have carefully planned their undergraduate program have an excellent record of admission to professional and graduate schools.


The department expects undergraduate majors in the program to be able to demonstrate the following learning outcomes. These learning outcomes are used in evaluating students and the department's undergraduate program. Students are expected to demonstrate:

  1. the ability to communicate philosophical ideas effectively orally and in writing.
  2. close reading, argument evaluation, and analytical writing.
  3. dialectical ability to identify strengths and weaknesses of an argument and devise appropriate and telling responses.
  4. the ability to think critically and demonstrate clarity of conceptualization.
  5. the ability to differentiate good from unpromising philosophical questions.
  6. the ability to sustain an argument of substantial scope, showing control over logical, argumentative, and evidential relations among its parts.


The Special Program in the History and Philosophy of Science enables students to combine interests in science, history, and philosophy. Students interested in this program should see the special adviser.

The joint major in Philosophy and Religious Studies combines courses from both departments into a coherent theoretical pattern.


The Department of Philosophy offers an M.A. and a Ph.D. degree. The University's basic requirements for the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees are discussed in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin.


The Tanner Memorial Library of Philosophy contains an excellent working library and ideal conditions for study. Graduate students and undergraduate majors in philosophy have formed associations for discussion of philosophical issues and the reading of papers by students, faculty, and visitors.

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