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. “Subversive Reflections on the Human Genome Project.” In PSA, 2:329–38. East Lansing, MI: Philosophy of Science Association, 1994.

Rosenberg, A. “The Cognitive Status of Economic theory.” In Nature of Economic Method, edited by A. Backhouse, 216–35. London: Routledge, 1994.

Rosenberg, A. “Does Evolutionary Theory Give Aid or Comfort to Economics.” In Natural Images in Economic Thought, edited by P. Mirowski, 384–407. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

Rosenberg, A. “How is Eliminative Materialism Possible?” In Mind and Common Sense, edited by Radu Bogdan. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Rosenberg, A. “If Economics Isn’t a Science, What Is It? (Reprint).” In The Philosophy and Methodology of Economics, edited by B. Caldwell, 426–42. Aldershot, UK: Elgar, 1993.

Rosenberg, A. “Common Knowledge, Equilibrium and Other Idealizations: Commentary Bicchieri.” In Postpopperian Methodology of Economics, edited by N. DeMarchi, 189–94. Boston: Dordrecht, 1992.

Rosenberg, A. “Altruism: Theoretical Context.” In Keywords in Evolutionary Biology, edited by E. Fox-Keller and L. Lloyd, 20–28. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992.

Rosenberg, A. “Evolutionary Biology and Neoclassical Economics: Strange Bedfellows.” In PSA, 1:174–83. East Lansing, MI: Philosophy of Science Association, 1992.

Rosenberg, A. “Hume and the Philosophy of Science.” In Cambridge Companion to Hume, edited by A. Norton, 64–89. Cambridge University Press, 1992.

Rosenberg, A. “The Biological Justification of Ethics: A Best Case Scenario (Reprint).” In Ethics, Politics and Human Nature, edited by Miller Paul and Miller Rowe, 86–101, 1991.


Rosenberg, A. “Can physicalist antireductionism compute the embryo?Philosophy of Science 64, no. 4 SUPPL. 1 (January 1, 1997). Full Text

Rosenberg, A. “Reductionism Redux: Computing the Embryo.” Biology and Philosophy 12, no. 4 (January 1, 1997): 445–70. Full Text

Rosenberg, A. “Critical review: Sober's philosophy of biology and his philosophy of biology.” Philosophy of Science 63, no. 3 (December 1, 1996): 452–64.

Rosenberg, A. “Laws, damn laws, and ceteris paribus clauses.” Southern Journal of Philosophy 34, no. S1 (January 1, 1996): 183–204. Full Text

Rosenberg, A. “A Field Guide to Recent Species of Naturalism.” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47, no. 1 (January 1, 1996): 1–29. Full Text

Rosenberg, A. “Research Tactics and Economic Strategies: Case of the Human Genome Project.” Social Philosophy and Policy 13 (1996): 1–18.

Rosenberg, A. “Sober’s "Philosophy of Biology" and His Philosophy of Biology.” Philosophy of Science 63 (1996): 452–65.

Rosenberg, A. “Philosophy of Biology.” Edited by D. Borchert Supplementary (1996): 407–11.

Rosenberg, A. “Equality, Sufficiency, and Opportunity in the Just Society.” Social Philosophy and Policy 12, no. 2 (January 1, 1995): 54–71. Full Text

Rosenberg, A. “Metaphysical Foundations of Microeconomics.” Monist 78 (1995): 353–67.