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Office: Building 90
Mail Code: 94305-2155
Phone: (650) 723-2547

Courses offered by the Department of Philosophy are listed under the subject code PHIL on the Stanford Bulletin's ExploreCourses web site.

Philosophy concerns itself with fundamental problems. Some are abstract and deal with the nature of truth, justice, value, and knowledge; others are more concrete, and their study may help guide conduct or enhance understanding of other subjects. Philosophy also examines the efforts of past thinkers to understand the world and people's experience of it.

Although it may appear to be an assortment of different disciplines, there are features common to all philosophical inquiry. These include an emphasis on methods of reasoning and the way in which judgments are formed, on criticizing and organizing beliefs, and on the nature and role of fundamental concepts.

Students of almost any discipline can find something in philosophy which is relevant to their own specialties. In the sciences, it provides a framework within which the foundations and scope of a scientific theory can be studied, and it may even suggest directions for future development. Since philosophical ideas have had an important influence on human endeavors of all kinds, including artistic, political, and economic, students of the humanities and social sciences should find their understanding deepened by acquaintance with philosophy.

Mission of the Undergraduate Program in Philosophy

The mission of the undergraduate program in Philosophy is to train students to think clearly and critically about the deepest and broadest questions concerning being, knowledge, and value, as well as their connections to the full range of human activities and interests. The Philosophy major presents students with paradigms and perspectives of past thinkers and introduces students to a variety of methods of reasoning and judgment formation. Courses in the major equip students with core skills involved in critical reading, analytical thinking, sound argumentation, and the clear, well-organized expression of ideas. Philosophy is an excellent major for those planning a career in law, medicine, business, or the non-profit sector. It provides analytical skills and a breadth of perspective helpful to those called upon to make decisions about their own conduct and the welfare of others. Philosophy majors who have carefully planned their undergraduate program have an excellent record of admission to professional and graduate schools. The Philosophy major requires a minimum of 60 units.

Special and Joint Majors

The Special Program in the History and Philosophy of Science enables students to combine interests in science, history, and philosophy. Students interested in this program should see the special adviser.

The Special Option in Philosophy and Literary Thought enables students to combine interests in philosophy and literary studies. Interested students should see the Director of Undergraduate Studies for Philosophy and Literature.

The combined major in Philosophy and Religious Studies joins courses from both departments into a coherent theoretical pattern.

The joint major in Philosophy and Computer Science provides opportunities for the systematic study of computation together with philosophy in the broadest sense. 

Graduate Program in Philosophy

The Department of Philosophy offers an M.A. and a Ph.D. degree. The University's basic requirements for the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees are discussed in the Graduate Degrees section of this bulletin.

Library and Associations

The Tanner Memorial Library of Philosophy contains an excellent working library and ideal conditions for study. Graduate students and undergraduate majors in philosophy have formed associations for discussion of philosophical issues and the reading of papers by students, faculty, and visitors.


Emeriti (Professors): Eamonn Callan (Courtesy Professor), Joshua Cohen, Dagfinn Føllesdal, Helen Longino, John Perry, Brian Skyrms, Thomas Wasow, Allen Wood, Rega Wood, Denis Phillips (Courtesy Professor), Thomas Sheehan (Courtesy Professor)

Chair: Lanier Anderson

Director of Graduate Studies: Chris Bobonich

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Nadeem Hussain

Honors Director and Undergraduate Outreach Coordinator: Nadeem Hussain

Professors: R. Lanier Anderson, Chris Bobonich, Michael Bratman, Ray Briggs, Alan Code, Graciela De Pierris, John Etchemendy (on leave Aut, Spr), Michael Friedman (on leave), Thomas Icard (on leave Spr), Krista Lawlor, Thomas Ryckman (Teaching), Debra Satz (Dean of H&S), Johan van Benthem, Leif Wenar

Associate Professors: Mark Crimmins, David Hills (Teaching), Nadeem Hussain

Assistant Professors: Rosa Cao (on leave Aut), Antonia Peacocke, Wendy Salkin, Jared Warren (on leave)

Courtesy Professors: Reviel Netz, Josiah Ober, Rob Reich

Visiting Professors: Terence Irwin, Elliott Sober

Lecturers:  Gabrielle Jackson, Taylor Madigan, Joshua O'Rourke, Nadia Ruiz, Rick Sommer, Gregory Wong-Taylor