Areas of Strength

The Department’s faculty are all committed to broadly educating both undergraduates and graduate students. In addition, the Department has developed three areas of specialization: Legal and Political Philosophy, Neurophilosophy, and Kant and Post-Kantian German Philosophy. We feel that our offerings in these three areas are some of the best to be found anywhere in the world.

Over the past fifteen years, the Department has worked to build an area of strength in legal and political philosophy. The Department has seven faculty members working in this area. Andrew Altman is Director of Research at the Jean Beer Blumenfeld Center for Ethics. His recent work focuses on the international context of legal debates. Andrew I. Cohen is the Director of the Jean Beer Blumenfeld Center for Ethics. His recent work focuses on contractarian theory and issues in applied ethics. Andrew J. Cohen works on liberalism. His recent work focuses on toleration. William A. Edmundson is jointly appointed in the Department and the College of Law. His recent work focuses on rights theory and the obligation to obey the law. Christie Hartley specializes in social and political philosophy and moral theory. Her recent work focuses on contractarianism. Peter Lindsay is jointly appointed in the Department of Philosophy and the Department of Political Science. His recent work focuses on liberal political theory. George Rainbolt chairs the Department. His recent work has been on rights theory. Some examples of M.A. theses in legal and political philosophy include work on civil liberties, homosexual marriage, and legal positivism.

The Jean Beer Blumenfeld Center for Ethics facilitates work in legal and political philosophy. This endowed Center is housed within the Department, but includes individuals from across the University. Among its many activities, the Center hosts conferences whose papers are published in leading journals in ethics, political philosophy, and legal theory.

The Department designates an outstanding incoming graduate student who wishes to work in this area as the Jean Beer Blumenfeld Scholar in Legal and Political Philosophy.

Over the past six years, the Department has built an area of strength in interdisciplinary philosophy of mind and philosophy of cognitive science. The Department’s work in neurophilosophy is part of the College's newly formed Neuroscience Institute. The Institute fosters collaboration between Georgia State University researchers interested in the neurobiology of cognition and behavior. The Neuroscience Institute has over sixty faculty from eight departments, including five philosophy members who are jointly appointed in the NI. The Department of Philosophy includes seven faculty members who work in philosophy of mind, specializing in a wide range of topics. George Graham works on the philosophy of psychiatry and on the nature of intentionality and consciousness. His recent book, The Disordered Mind, focuses on the nature of mental illness. Eddy Nahmias works on human agency, moral psychology, and experimental philosophy. He is currently writing a book, Rediscovering Free Will, on recent challenges to free will from the sciences of the mind. Andrea Scarantino works on human and animal emotions. His recent research focuses on the intentionality of emotions and the issue of whether they are natural kinds. Neil Van Leeuwen studies self-deception and imagination, including its etiology, representational structure, and influence on behavior. Dan Weiskopf works in the philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and language, particularly on concepts--their structure, content, and acquisition. Ed Cox works on the problem of mental causation raised by nonreductive physicalism.

There is a distinctive Neurophilosophy track available in the Department's M.A. program. Examples of M.A. theses topics of students on this track include cognitive biases of moral intuitions, psychological work on concepts, core affect theory of emotions, and the philosophical implications of recent experimental evidence in neuroeconomics.

The Department offers Neurophilosophy Graduate Fellowships to graduate students.

The Department’s most recently built area of strength is in Kant and post-Kantian German philosophy. The Department has four faculty in this area. Jessica Berry works primarily on Nietzsche, and in particular on Nietzsche and Greek philosophy. Greg Moore is jointly appointed with the Department of Philosophy and the Department of History. His research is in the history of philosophy with a focus on German philosophy of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (esp. Herder, Fichte, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche). Sebastian Rand focuses on Hegel's philosophy of nature, with an eye toward physics and the transition from biology to the philosophy of spirit. Eric Wilson's research concentrates on ethics and moral psychology, particularly in the work of Kant and other modern philosophers.

The Journal of Nietzsche Studies is edited by Dr. Berry and hosted by the Department.

MA theses in this area include work on the function of the Antinomies, Nietzsche’s perspectivism, and Heidegger’s interpretation of the Transcendental Deduction.

The Department designates an outstanding incoming graduate student who wishes to work in this area as a Graduate Scholar in Kant and post-Kantian German Philosophy.

Under the direction of Eric Wilson and Christie Hartley, the Department has also had graduate students write theses on the moral psychology and ethics of Kant's predecessors, Hume and Adam Smith.

Georgia State has other faculty who help to complement the faculty working within our three areas of strength. Sandra Dwyer's research focuses on applied ethics, critical thinking, and Hannah Arendt. Steve Jacobson specializes in epistemology. His research focuses on contextualism, skepticism, and the internalism/externalism debate. Tim O'Keefe specializes in ancient philosophy. His recent work focuses on Epicurus, ancient ethics, and ancient debates on freedom and determinism. Because of the combination of his work with Jessica Berry's interests in ancient skepticism and the pre-Platonic philosophers, Georgia State offers strong coverage in Greek philosophy.