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

Selected Grants

Post-doctoral/Graduate Research and Training Program in Philosophy of Biology awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2004 - 2008

Rosenberg, A. “Darwinism as philosophy can the universal acid be contained?” In How Biology Shapes Philosophy: New Foundations for Naturalism, 23–50, 2016. Full Text

Rosenberg, A. “The biological character of social theory.” In Handbook on Evolution and Society: Toward an Evolutionary Social Science, 31–58, 2015. Full Text

Rosenberg, A. “Replies to critics: Very brief, very selective, rather snarky.” In Is Faith in God Reasonable?: Debates in Philosophy, Science, and Rhetoric, 166–70, 2014. Full Text

Rosenberg, A., and William Lane Craig. “The debate: Is faith in God reasonable?” In Is Faith in God Reasonable? Debates in Philosophy, Science and Rhetoric, edited by Corey Miller and Paul Gould. Routledge, 2014.

Rosenberg, A. “Theism and Allism.” In The Philosophy of Peter Van Inwagen, edited by John Christopher Adorno Keller. Oxford University Press, 2013.

Rosenberg, A. “Why I am a naturalist.” In The Armchair or the Laboratory, edited by Matthew Haug, 32–35. Routledge, 2013.

Rosenberg, A. “Reply to critics.” In Is Faith in God Reasonable? Debates in Philosophy, Science and Rhetoric, edited by Corey Miller and Paul Gould. Routledge, 2013.

Rosenberg, A. “Can naturalism save the humanities?” In The Armchair or the Laboratory, edited by Matthew Haug, 39–42. Routledge, 2013.

Rosenberg, A. “Disenchanted Naturalism.” In Contemporary Philosophical Naturalism and Its Implications, edited by Bana Bashour and Hans Muller, 17–36. Routledge, 2013.


Rosenberg, A. “Making mechanism interesting.” Synthese 195, no. 1 (January 1, 2018): 11–33. Full Text

Rosenberg, A. “Why Social Science is Biological Science.” Journal for General Philosophy of Science 48, no. 3 (September 1, 2017): 341–69. Full Text

Rosenberg, A. “ON the VERY IDEA of IDEAL THEORY in POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.” Social Philosophy and Policy 33, no. 1–2 (January 1, 2016): 55–75. Full Text

Rosenberg, A. “The Genealogy of Content or the Future of an Illusion.” Philosophia (United States) 43, no. 3 (September 1, 2015): 537–47. Full Text

Rosenberg, A. “Reflexivity, uncertainty and the unity of science.” Journal of Economic Methodology 20, no. 4 (December 1, 2013): 429–38. Full Text

Rosenberg, Alex. “How Jerry Fodor slid down the slippery slope to Anti-Darwinism, and how we can avoid the same fate.” European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3, no. 1 (January 2013): 1–17. Full Text

Rosenberg, A., and Tyler Curtain. “What is economics good for?,” 2013.

Rosenberg, A. “Free markets and the myth of earned inequalities.” 3am Magazine, 2013.

Rosenberg, A. “Reflexivity, Uncertainty and the Unity of Science.” Review of Economic Methodology, 2013, 14–14.


Rosenberg, Alex. “Is epigenetic inheritance a counterexample to the central dogma?” In History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 28:549–65, 2006.

Bouchard, F., and A. Rosenberg. “Drift, fitness and the foundations of probability.” In Determinism in Physics and Biology, 108–35, 2003.

Rosenberg, A. “Good ideas and human welfare.” edited by Don Ross. Cambridge University Press, 2002.