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. “The Interaction of Evolutionary and Genetic Theory.” In Pragmatism and Purpose, edited by Slater Summer and Slater Wilson, 207–19. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1981.

Rosenberg, A. “A Skeptical History of Microeconomic Theory (Reprint).” In Philosophy in Economics, edited by J. Pitt, 47–62. Dordrecht: Reidel, 1981.

Rosenberg, A. “Ruse’s Treatment of the Evidence for Evolution: A Reconsideration.” In PSA, edited by A. Giere and A. Asquith, 83–93. East Lansing, MI: Philosophy of Science Association, 1980.

Rosenberg, A. “Towards the Assimilation of Rules to Generalizations.” In Basic Issues in Philosophy of Science, edited by W. Shea, 156–72. New York: Science History Publications, 1976.

Rosenberg, A. “Partial Interpretation and Microeconomics.” In Developments in the Methodology of Social Science: Theory and Decision Library, edited by W. Leinfellner and W. Kohler, 93–109. Dordrecht: Reidel, 1974.

Rosenberg, A., and David Braybrooke. “Vincula Revindicata.” In Philosophical Problems of Causation, edited by T. L. Beauchamp, 217–22. Encino, CA: Dickenson, 1974.


Rosenberg, A. “Is Lewis’s Genuine Modal Realism Magical Too?Mind 98 (1989): 412–21.

Rosenberg, A. “Superseding Explanation vs. Understanding: The View from Rorty.” Social Research 56 (1989): 479–510.

Rosenberg, A. “Economics Is Too Important to be Left to the Rhetoricians.” Economics and Philosophy 4 (1988): 129–49.

Rosenberg, A. “Rhetoric is Not Important Enough for Economists to Bother About.” Economics and Philosophy 4 (1988): 173–75.

Rosenberg, A. “Grievous Faults in "Vaulting Ambition"?Ethics 98 (1988): 827–38.

Rosenberg, A. “Will the Real Argument for "Abstracta" Please Stand Up?Behavioral and Brain Sciences 11 (1988): 526–27.

Rosenberg, A. “Are Generic Predictions Enough?Fundamenta Scientiae 9 (1988): 329–52.

Rosenberg, A. “Is the Theory of Natural Selection a Statistical Theory?Canadian Journal of Philosophy 18, no. sup1 (January 1, 1988): 187–207. Full Text

Rosenberg, A. “The Past Recaptured: Mongin on the Problem of Realism in Economics.” Philosophy of the Social Sciences 18, no. 3 (January 1, 1988): 379–81. Full Text

Rosenberg, A. “Will the argument for abstracta please stand up?Behavioral and Brain Sciences 11, no. 3 (January 1, 1988): 526–27. Full Text