The department of philosophy is committed to the principle that the study of philosophy is a cornerstone of a liberal arts education, an education that enriches and empowers students by introducing them to rigorous analysis of their ways of thinking and acting. We take philosophy, broadly construed, to be the process of investigating and questioning human beings’ place in nature and history as well as their responsibilities to one another and to themselves, based upon the most complete, presently available understanding of science, culture, art, and religion. What distinguishes a philosophical mind is a habit of weighing the coherence, completeness, and trenchancy of various beliefs, arguments, and theories, and of doing so self-consciously within the historical context that marks our finite, human condition. The cultivation of these habits of mind enhances students’ abilities to learn across the curriculum, to contribute to the advancement of institutions, from arts and sciences to governments and global relations, and- not least- to grapple with the challenges and wonder of their own lives. For all these reasons, the overriding aim of the department of philosophy’s program is to help students develop these philosophical habits. Reflecting its history and the present make-up of its members, the department is in the advantageous position of being able to pursue this aim through six main areas of research: analytic philosophy and logic, ethics and political philosophy, history of philosophy, phenomenology and pragmatism, philosophy of religion, and philosophy and history of science.
Department chair: Professor C. Allen Speight
Campus address: 745 Commonwealth Avenue, 5th floor
All materials in OpenBU are subject to Title 17 of the U.S. Code.
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(Oxford University Press (OUP), 2016-07)Despite widespread evidence that fictional models play an explanatory role in science, resistance remains to the idea that fictions can explain. A central source of this resistance is a particular view about what explanations ...
(University of Chicago Press, 2018)The ontic conception of explanation, according to which explanations are "full-bodied things in the world," is fundamentally misguided. I argue instead for what I call the eikonic conception, according to which explanations ...
(Wiley, 2018-12-07)‘Logical Realism’ is taken to mean many different things. I argue that if reality has a privileged structure, then a view I call metaphysical logical realism is true. The view says that, first, there is ‘One True Logic’; ...
(2017)This paper presents a critical review of Scheler’s analysis of shame's structure, dynamic, and affectivity, and his explanation of phenomena of shame. This first part of the paper examines Scheler’s accounts of shame’s ...
Journal for the history of analytical philosophy: Gilbert Ryle: intelligence, practice, skill, v. 5, no. 5 (2017-05)Special issue on Gilbert Ryle edited by Juliet Floyd and Lydia Patton. Articles: "Volume Introduction: Gilbert Ryle on Propositions, Propositional Attitudes, and Theoretical Knowledge" by Julia Tanney; "Ryle’s “Intellectualist ...
(2017-02-27)Video of keynote speaker, for this NEH sponsored conference. Thanks to Jon Burmeister, organizer, funded by NEH. See https://workandleisure.org/
Introductory philosophical reflections, "Germs, Genes and GMO's: Has the Power of Social Media Disrupted Scientific Understanding", BU Conference, Division of Emerging Media (2016-04-20)Social media have dramatically increased the public’s voice in debates over the social consequences of scientific developments. Millions of heretofore uninvolved citizens have an opportunity to weigh-in on often complex ...
(Rodopi, 2009-01-01)Michael Dummett famously holds that the “philosophy of thought” must proceed via the philosophy of language, since that is the only way to preserve the objectivity of thoughts while avoiding commitments to “mythological,” ...
(2019-05-01)A Comment on a Forthcoming article by José Zalabardo on the Tractatus Picture Theory's origins in Wittgenstein's reactions to Russell's Multiple Relation theory of Judgment and Truth. For a special issue of the Australasian ...