Areas of Strength

The Department’s faculty are all committed to broadly educating both undergraduate students and graduate students. In addition, the Department has developed three areas of research strength: Social, Legal and Political Philosophy; Neurophilosophy and empirically informed philosophy of mind; 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.  For more details about each area, see the descriptions below.  See also:

Faculty profiles

Recent graduate course descriptions

The Department has a strong group of six faculty who specialize in the normative dimensions of social, political, and legal issues.  Andrew Altman focuses on legal and ethical questions related to such controversial current topics as terrorism, racial and religious discrimination, and freedom of expression.  Andrew I. Cohen, Director of the Jean Beer Blumenfeld Center for Ethics, focuses his recent work on reparations and apologies for historic injustices as well as some themes in practical/applied ethics.  Andrew Jason Cohen focuses on liberalism, with a special interest in toleration and its broad applications, including business ethics and criminal justice ethics.  Christie Hartley specializes in feminist political philosophy, Rawls, and contractualism.  S.M. Love works on Immanuel Kant’s theory of right and its role in contemporary discussions of political and legal theory, as well as its relation to Karl Marx’s treatment of capitalism. William A. Edmundson, with a joint appointment in the Department and the College of Law, specializes in rights theory, Rawls and liberalism, and the obligation to obey the law. Peter Lindsay, with a joint appointment in the Department and the Department of Political Science, focuses on liberal political theory and the nature and justification of property.

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

The Jean Beer Blumenfeld Center for Ethics is housed within the Department of Philosophy, but counts among its faculty affiliates individuals from across the University. Among its many activities, the Center brings prominent political and ethical philosophers to Georgia State for talks and hosts multi-day conferences whose papers are published in leading journals in ethics, political philosophy, and legal theory.

The Department also houses the new Program in Philosophy, Political Science and Economics (PPE), a program wherein students are taught to use the analytically rigorous tools of all three disciplines to promote serious thought about practical issues, allowing them to delve deeply into moral, social, political, and economic issues.

The Department has built an area of strength in interdisciplinary philosophy of mind, philosophy of cognitive science, and moral psychology, in coordination with the College’s Brains & Behavior Program and Neuroscience Institute (NI). The NI fosters collaboration among Georgia State University researchers interested in the neurobiology of cognition and behavior, including over sixty faculty from eight departments, including four philosophy faculty who are jointly appointed in the NI. The Department of Philosophy includes several faculty members who work in philosophy of mind and cognitive science, specializing in a wide range of topics. Eddy Nahmias works on human agency, moral psychology, and experimental philosophy, especially free will and moral responsibility as they are informed by the sciences of the mind. He also works on punishment theory. Andrea Scarantino works on human and animal emotions, communication, and information theory. He is editor of the Routledge Handbook on Emotion Theory and recent winner of the Herbert A. Simon Award for Outstanding Research in Computing and Philosophy. Neil Van Leeuwen studies belief, imagination, and the difference between them, with emphases on their etiologies (including self-deception) and influences on behavior. His recent work focuses on the philosophy and psychology of religious credence. Dan Weiskopf works in the philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and language, particularly on concepts—their structure, content, and acquisition—and on representation in mind, science, and art.  Ed Cox works on the problem of mental causation raised by nonreductive physicalism.  Finally, two psychology faculty have secondary appointments in philosophy, Sarah Brosnan, who works on primate and human social behavior, and Eyal Aharoni, who works on prediction and deterrence of anti-social behavior.

There is a distinctive Neurophilosophy Track available in the Department's M.A. program, on which students take at least two courses in neuroscience or psychology relevant to their research interests.  Examples of M.A. thesis topics of students on this track include cognitive biases of moral intuitions, psychological work on concepts, artificial intelligence, core affect theory of emotions, and the philosophical implications of evidence in neuroeconomics.  The Department offers Brains & Behavior Graduate Fellowships to two students each year on the Neurophilosophy Track.

The Department at Georgia State has four faculty members specializing in Kant and post-Kantian German philosophy, and it has especially good resources for students interested in this area. Jessica N. Berry works primarily on Nietzsche, with a focus on skeptical themes in his work and his relationship to Classical thought. She is currently undertaking research for a book on Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. Sebastian Rand works on Hegel and post-Kantian idealism, with a secondary interest in twentieth-century French and German philosophy. He is currently writing a book on mathematics and mechanics in Hegel’s philosophy of nature. Eric Wilson’s research concentrates on ethics and moral psychology, particularly in the work of Kant and other modern philosophers. Greg Moore, in the Department of History, enjoys a secondary appointment in the Department of Philosophy. He is an intellectual historian with a focus on German philosophy since the Enlightenment (especially Herder, Fichte, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche) and the impact of scientific thought on German philosophy.

Each year, the Department designates an outstanding incoming graduate student who expects to work in this area as a Graduate Scholar in Kant and post-Kantian German Philosophy. The Department is also home to The Journal of Nietzsche Studies, edited by Jessica Berry, who also serves on the executive committee of the International Society for Nietzsche Studies.

Recent M.A. theses in this area have been on topics such as Kant’s account of desire, the roles of honor and empathy in Nietzsche’s ethics, Nietzsche and Homer on ‘dissimulation, Hegel on marriage, and Hume’s political philosophy.

The Department of Philosophy has other faculty who 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.