New to Philosophy?

Welcome to Philosophy

Our broad array of courses introduces students to the most influential and insightful world views that great thinkers have developed in past centuries. We are especially proud of including women and Asian philosophers who have been overlooked too often. Students are also encouraged and enabled to develop their own answers on profound philosophical questions, such as: Which actions are moral or immoral? Which social policies and government institutions are just or unjust? What do you need in order to know anything about the external world or about yourself? Are minds no more than brain activity? Are societies reducible to their individual members? What are the most fundamental parts that make up physical objects? What does it mean for one change to cause another? Engaging actively with questions like these in our courses trains students to create and explain novel concepts, argue for their own positions, criticize opponents, and respond to objections from a variety of perspectives. These conceptual skills are widely recognized as useful in many  careers, including law, medicine, science, business, and others. Our major enriches the lives of our students regardless of what they go on to do for a living. Philosophy is a small department, so students will get to know our faculty in small seminars and research projects designed to further each student’s individual interests. Please join us in our quest for deeper understanding of our lives.

Advising

Newly declared majors are asked to send our staff assistant (JanelleHaynes, rjjc77@duke.edu) a list of their three top choices of faculty whom they would like to have as a departmental adviser. We try to match each major with an adviser on their own list. Those who express no preference are assigned advisers. Regardless of the official adviser, all of our majors should feel free to approach and talk with any member of our faculty.