Alexander Rosenberg

Alexander Rosenberg

R. Taylor Cole Distinguished Professor of Philosophy

Contact Information
203A W Duke Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Duke Box 90743, Durham, NC 27708-0743
(919) 660-3047


Alex Rosenberg (Ph.D. 1971, Johns Hopkins) joined the Duke faculty in 2000. He is the R. Taylor Cole Professor of Philosophy (with secondary appointments in the biology and political science departments). Rosenberg has been a visiting professor and fellow of the at the Center for the Philosophy of Science, University of Minnesota, as well as the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Oxford University and a visiting fellow of the Philosophy Department at the Research School of Social Science, of the Australian National University. In 2016 he was the Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor at the University of Bristol. Rosenberg has held fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. In 1993 Rosenberg received the Lakatos Award in the philosophy of science. In 2006-2007 he held a fellowship at the National Humanities Center. He was also the Phi Beta Kappa-Romanell Lecturer for 2006-2007.

Rosenberg is the author of:

Microeconomic Laws: A Philosophical Analysis
(University of Pittsburgh Press, 1976),
Sociobiology and the Preemption of Social Science/ (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980; Basil Blackwell, 1981),
Hume and the Problem of Causation (Oxford University Press, 1981) (with T.L. Beauchamp),
The Structure of Biological Science (Cambridge University Press, 1985),
Philosophy of Social Science (Clarendon Press, Oxford and Westview Press, 1988, Second Edition, Revised, Enlarged, 1995, Third Edition, 2007, Fourth Edition, 2010, fifth edition, 2015
Economics: Mathematical Politics or Science of Diminishing Returns? (University of Chicago Press, 1992),
Instrumental Biology, or the Disunity of Science (University of Chicago Press, 1994),
Darwinism in Philosophy, Social Science and Policy (Cambridge University Press, 2000),
Philosophy of Science: A Contemporary Approach (Routledge, 2000, second edition 2005),
Darwinian Reductionism or How to Stop Worrying and Love Molecular Biology (University of Chicago Press, 2006),
The Philosophy of Biology: A Contemporary Introduction (with Daniel McShea, Routledge, 2007)
The Atheist's Guide to Reality (W.W. Norton, 2011)
and two novels, The Girl from Krakow, and Autumn in Oxford.

He has also written approximately 200 papers in the philosophy of biology, the philosophy of cognitive, behavioral and social science (especially economics), and causation.

Rosenberg is also co-director of Duke's Center for the Philosophy of Biology .

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University 1971

  • B.A., City College of New York 1967

Rosenberg, A. “Will genomics do more for metaphysics than locke?” In Evolutionary Ethics and Contemporary Biology, 178–98, 2006. Full Text

Rosenberg, A. “Biology, Philosophy of.” In The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Science, edited by M. Curd and S. Psillos. Routledge, 2006.

Rosenberg, A. “Reductionism.” In Handbook for the Philosophy of Science, v.3 Philosophy of Biology. Elsevier, 2006.

Rosenberg, A. “Reductionism in molecular biology.” In Oxford Handbook in Philosophy of Biology, edited by D. Hull and M. Ruse. Oxford University Press, 2006.

Rosenberg, A. “Good Ideas and Human Welfare: Big Pharma versus the Developing Nations.” In Developmental Dilemmas, edited by M. Ayogu and D. Ross. London: Routledge, 2005.

Rosenberg, A. “Will genomics do more for metaphysics than Locke.” In Scientific Evidence, edited by Peter Achinstein, 186–206. Johns Hopkins Unversity, 2005.

Rosenberg, A. “Genomics and cultural evolution.” In Evolutionary Ethics and Contemporary Biology, edited by Giovanni Boniolo and Gabriele de Anna. Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Rosenberg, A. “Darwinism in Moral Philosophy and Social Theory.” In Cambridge Companion to Darwin, edited by A. Hodge and A. Radick. Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Rosenberg, A., and Frederic Bouchard. “Drift, fitness, and the foundations of probability.” In Indeterminism in Physics and Biology, edited by Adreas Hutterman. Paderborn: Mentis, 2003.

Rosenberg, A., and R. Brandon. “Problems of the Philosophy of Biology.” In Philosophy of Science Today, edited by Peter Clark and Katherine Hawley. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.


Love, A. C., I. Brigandt, K. Stotz, D. Schweitzer, and A. Rosenberg. “More worry and less love?Metascience 17, no. 1 (January 1, 2008): 18–26. Full Text

Rosenberg, A. “Darwinian Reductionism: How stupid of me to have thought of it.” Metascience, October 2007.

Rosenberg, A. “Is epigeneis a counterexample to the central dogma.” History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 28 (September 2007): 509–26.

Rosoff, Philip M., and Alex Rosenberg. “How Darwinian reductionism refutes genetic determinism.Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 37, no. 1 (March 2006): 122–35. Full Text

Rosenberg, A. “In defence of Genocentrism.” History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences. 2005 ;27:345 59, 2006.

Rosenberg, A., and P. Rosoff. “How reductionism refutes genetic determinism.” Studies in the History and Philosophy of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences, July 2005.

Rosenberg, A., and F. Bouchard. “Matthen and Ariew's obituary for fitness: Reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated.” Biology and Philosophy 20, no. 2–3 (March 1, 2005): 343–53. Full Text

Rosenberg, A., and Frederic Bouchard. “Matten and Ariews Obituary for Fitness.” Biology and Philosophy 20, no. 2 (March 2005): 343–53.

Rosenberg, A., and D. M. Kaplan. “How to reconcile physicalism and antireductionism about biology.” Philosophy of Science 72, no. 1 (January 1, 2005): 43–68. Full Text

Rosenberg, Alex. “Defending information-free genocentrism.History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 27, no. 3–4 (January 2005): 345–59.