Western philosophy in the 20th century was characterized by a rift between Continental (primarily French and German) and Analytic (primarily British and North American) philosophical traditions. This rift is on the mend. Most departments in the United States are now at least nominally pluralistic, with at least some faculty working in each of these traditions. Our department is fully pluralistic, with roughly equal numbers of faculty working in each tradition.
The department is also committed to the history of philosophy, both as a subject of study in its own right and as the foundation for contemporary philosophical research. Historical periods that are particularly well represented in the research and teaching interests of our faculty are ancient philosophy—both Western and non-Western—medieval philosophy, 19th century and 20th century philosophy. Historical figures that are particularly well represented include Aristotle, Leibniz, Kant, Hegel, Mill, Husserl and Heidegger.
Our department is thus able to offer a wide range of courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels, and an equally wide range of research specializations for graduate students. We have particular strengths in metaphysics, environmental philosophy, ethics, aesthetics, and the history of Western philosophy.
Our Undergraduate Program offers a philosophy major that prepares students for graduate school in philosophy, or for careers in law, business, medicine, education and other professional fields. We also offer a philosophy minor that combines well with majors in both the sciences and the humanities, and enhances the study of these fields. Our Graduate Program offers a PhD degree, as well as a terminal MA in philosophy. Both degree programs provide opportunities to work closely with faculty on independent research projects. The department also provides training and practice in teaching philosophy for those graduate students who hold assistantships in the department.
Western philosophy in the late 20th century was also characterized by a resurgence of interest in interdisciplinary research—an interest that continues to grow. Faculty in our department participate in a number of interdisciplinary programs at the University of Georgia, as well as pursuing other interdisciplinary interests in their research and teaching.
- The Institute for Artificial Intelligence at the University of Georgia was co-founded by Donald Nute, now a retired Professor Emeritus in our department. Philosophy faculty members Bassler and Wright are currently affiliates of the Institute. It offers an undergraduate AB in Cognitive Science, as well as an MS in Artificial Intelligence.
- The Environmental Ethics Certificate Program (EECP) numbers among its co-founders two former members of our department—Frederick Ferré and John Granrose. Philosophy faculty members Cuomo, Stephens and Wright are currently affiliates of the program. The EECP offers a certificate in environmental ethics, which can be earned in conjunction with either an undergraduate or graduate degree in philosophy.
- The Institute for Women's Studies numbers philosophy professor Chris Cuomo among its former directors; and the current assistant director is Cecilia Herles, who received her doctorate in philosophy from us in 2006. Philosophy faculty members Cuomo, Fahmy and Wright are currently affiliate faculty of the Institute, which offers an undergraduate major and minor, as well as a graduate certificate in women’s studies.
In addition to these interdisciplinary study opportunities, individual faculty members in the department engage in research involving other disciplines, including anthropology, classics, mathematics, linguistics, cognitive science and psychology. The department is also home to the interdisciplinary journal Ethics and the Environment, founded by the late Victoria Davion, professor and longtime head of the department, and currently edited by faculty member Piers Stephens.