Contacts

Office: Building 90
Mail Code: 94305-2155
Phone: (650) 723-2547
Email: philosophy@stanford.edu
Website: http://philosophy.stanford.edu

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.

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.

Faculty

Emeriti (Professors): Dagfinn Føllesdal, Helen Longino, John Perry, Thomas Wasow, Allen Wood, Rega Wood, Denis Phillips (Courtesy Professor)

Chair: Mark Crimmins

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 (on leave), Alan Code, Graciela De Pierris, John Etchemendy, Michael Friedman, Krista Lawlor, Thomas Ryckman (Teaching), Debra Satz, Brian Skyrms, Johan van Benthem, Leif Wenar

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

Assistant Professors: Juliana Bidadanure (on leave), Rosa Cao, Jorah Dannenberg, Antonia Peacocke, Wendy Salkin (on leave), Jared Warren

Courtesy Professors: Eamonn Callan, Reviel Netz, Josiah Ober, Rob Reich, Thomas Sheehan

Visiting Professors: Terence Irwin, Kendall Walton

Visiting Assistant Professor: Gabrielle Jackson

Lecturers: John Holliday, Rhodes Pinto, Gregory Wong-Taylor

Graduate Advising

For a statement of University policy on graduate advising, see the "Graduate Advising" section of this bulletin.

The Philosophy department is committed to providing academic advising in support of graduate student scholarly and professional development. Faculty advisors guide students in key areas such as selecting courses, designing and conducting research, navigating degree requirements, exploring academic and professional opportunities, and preparing for their post-degree careers. When most effective, this advising relationship involves collaborative and sustained engagement by both the advisor and the advisee. An important part of the advisee-advisor relationship is that students learn to advocate for themselves; this includes discussing expectations for the advisor-advisee relationship with the advisor and revisiting these expectations periodically.

Master's Advising

Each first year Philosophy M.A. student is assigned an advisor on the basis of the student’s interests. Entering students should meet with their advisors to discuss the selection of courses. Changes of advisors are always possible; they are initiated by a request of the graduate student to the M.A. Director and require the agreement of the proposed new advisor.

The department expects that M.A. advisors meet with their advisees regularly and at least once during the academic year. Such meetings may either be in-person or via the Internet (Skype, Zoom, etc.) and may be scheduled in-person or by email. Students typically initiate such meetings although faculty, when appropriate, try to get in touch with students who do not stay in regular contact.

M.A. advisors direct students towards the successful completion of the degree in good time. The Director of Graduate Studies and the M.A. Director monitor the student's progress and may initiate meetings when appropriate. Any graduate student can always seek the advice of the M.A. Director or the Director of Graduate Studies on general issues pertaining to the graduate program.

Academic progress and student completion of program requirements and milestones are monitored by the program director and staff, and are discussed by faculty at an annual meeting devoted to assessing graduate student progress. A detailed description of the program's requirements, milestones, and advising expectations is found in the Stanford Bulletin. Additionally, the program adheres to the advising guidelines and responsibilities listed by the Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education (VPGE) and in the (GAP).

Graduate students are active contributors to the advising relationship. They should proactively seek academic and professional guidance and take responsibility for informing themselves of policies and degree requirements.

As a best practice, advising expectations should be periodically discussed and reviewed to promote mutual understanding.

Doctoral Advising

Each first year Philosophy Ph.D. student is assigned an advisor on the basis of the student’s stated interests. Entering students should meet with their Ph.D. advisors to discuss the selection of courses. Changes of advisors are always possible; they are initiated by a request of the graduate student to the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) and require the agreement of the proposed new advisor. Students may, for instance, change advisors as their research focus takes shape. Ph.D. advisors direct students towards the successful completion of the degree in good time. In the first years of the program, this means successfully reaching candidacy. The DGS also monitors the student's progress and may initiate meetings when appropriate. Any graduate student can always seek the advice of the Director of Graduate Studies on general issues pertaining to the graduate program.

The department expects that Ph.D. advisors, during the student's first two years, meet with their advisees at least once per quarter during the academic year. Such meetings may either be in-person or via the Internet (Skype, Zoom, etc.) and may be scheduled in-person or by email. Students typically initiate such meetings although faculty, when appropriate, try to get in touch with students who do not stay in regular contact. Academic progress and student completion of program requirements and milestones are monitored by the Ph.D. advisor, the DGS, and staff, and are discussed by faculty at an annual meeting devoted to assessing graduate student progress. A detailed description of the program's requirements, milestones, and advising expectations is found on the Stanford Bulletin. Additionally, the program adheres to the advising guidelines and responsibilities listed by the Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education (VPGE) and in the Graduate Academic Policies (GAP).

A required pre-dissertation seminar in the summer after the second year helps students make the transition to forming a dissertation committee and starting to work on their dissertation. The University’s requirements for the composition of the dissertation committee may be found in the Doctoral section of this bulletin. Dissertation development seminars are available to graduate students in their third year and beyond. At this point in the program, students often transition from the Ph.D. advisor to a dissertation advisor.

Students and their dissertation advisors are expected to regularly establish mutually agreed upon expectations for turning in written work. Dissertation advisors are expected to meet quarterly with their advisees. Submitted work is to be discussed or commented upon without undue delay. During each year that the student teaches in the department, a student's teaching experience and preparation for academic teaching is to be discussed during at least one meeting with their dissertation advisors.

Dissertation advisors direct the student towards the successful completion of the degree in good time. The DGS monitors the student’s progress and initiates meetings when appropriate. The DGS and the placement committee cooperate to make the student aware of opportunities for professional development both inside and outside academics.

Advising and mentoring relationships are not limited to members of the dissertation committee, and all faculty (especially those on the student’s dissertation committee) contribute when they can. When a faculty member joins a Ph.D. dissertation committee, the faculty member and the student should meet and work out mutually agreed upon expectations about how often they meet and when written work is to be turned in. Such work is to be read and commented on within a reasonable period of time. Any graduate student can always seek the advice of the Director of Graduate Studies on general issues pertaining to the graduate program.

Graduate students are active contributors to the advising relationship. They should proactively seek academic and professional guidance and take responsibility for informing themselves of policies and degree requirements for the Philosophy Ph.D. program.

As a best practice, advising expectations should be periodically discussed and reviewed to promote mutual understanding.

Dissertation advisors, members of the dissertation committee, and the advisee are expected to maintain professionalism and integrity throughout the course of their work together.