Philosophy Research

Research and Teaching Clusters

History of Philosophy from Plato to Kant

The Philosophy Department offers excellent opportunities for study in ancient, medieval, and early modern philosophy. The faculty who work in these areas include David Bradshaw (Plato, Aristotle, Neoplatonism, the Church Fathers), Eric Sanday (Plato, Aristotle, Neoplatonism), Alan Perreiah (history of logic, medieval and Renaissance philosophy), Oliver Leaman (philosophy of religion, Islamic and Jewish philosophy), Brandon Look (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant), James Force (Hume, Newton, skepticism), and Daniel Breazeale (Hume, Kant, Fichte, early Idealism and Romanticism).

Since dissertation-level work in many of these areas requires knowledge of Greek, Latin, French, or German, philosophy students are encouraged to take (and can receive credit for) courses in the Classics, French, and German Departments. Faculty in other departments with an interest in the history of philosophy from Plato to Kant include:  Robert Rabel [Classics] (Plato, Hellenistic Philosophy), Hubert Martin [Classics] (Plato, Plutarch), David Hunter [History & Classics] (Latin patristics), Jay Francis [Classics] (asceticism, religious movements in late antiquity), Michael Jones [German] (Kant, Romanticism), and David Olster [History] (Byzantine Empire, history of western religions).  Finally, the program in Judaic Studies offers the opportunity to learn Hebrew and to study the history of Jewish philosophy in relation to its cultural environment.



19th and 20th century Continental philosophy

Faculty from a variety of disciplines form a critical mass in this area, making the University of Kentucky an excellent institution at which to study 19th- and 20th-century continental philosophy. The specialists in this area within the Philosophy Department are Stefan Bird-Pollan (Kant, Hegel), Daniel Breazeale (Post-Kantianism, Fichte, German Idealism, Nietzsche, Existentialism), Ronald Bruzina (the phenomenological movement, Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and post-structuralism), Natalie Nenadic (Hegel, Heidegger), Eric Sanday (Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty), and Theodore Schatzki (Nietzsche, Life-philosophy, Heideggerian phenomenology, Wittgenstein, and post-structuralism).  (Note:  Professor Schatzki is currently Associate Dean of Faculty but is available to serve on dissertation committees.)  Faculty in other departments with interests in German and continental thought include: Michael Jones [German] (German Idealism, philosophy of history), Jeff Rogers [German] (Frankfurt School, especially Adorno and Benjamin), Robert Jensen [Art] (Frankfurt School), Virginia Blum [English] (psychoanalytic literary theory, psychoanalytic theory, cultural theory), Herbert Reid [Political Science] (phenomenology and post-Marxism), Ernest Yanarella [Political Science] (phenomenology and post-Marxism), and Dwight Billings [Sociology] (Frankfurt School Critical Theory, Habermas).

Philosophy Ph.D. students interested in German and Continental thought are encouraged to sample courses in other departments and to establish multidisciplinary dissertation committees. The W. T. Young Library at the University of Kentucky houses a superlative collection in German philosophy, including an extremely rich set of German language materials.

Contemporary metaphysics and epistemology

The department offers a strong and varied course of study to students wishing to specialize in contemporary metaphysics, epistemology, and related fields.  Faculty members who specialize in these areas include Clare Batty (philosophy of mind), Brandon Look (metaphysics), Theodore Schatzki (philosophy of social science), Tim Sundell (philosophy of  language, epistemology), and Megan Wallace (metaphysics).  Faculty in this area maintain close working relations with the Linguistics Program and the Cognitive Science program.

Ethics and social and political philosophy

The Department of Philosophy offers excellent opportunities for graduate study in ethics, including metaethics and normative ethical theory, the history of moral philosophy, and ethics with a focus on law and public policy, as well as social and political philosophy. Faculty who teach and write in these areas include Stefan Bird-Pollan (Kantianism, history of modern ethics), Arnold Farr (social and political philosophy, philosophy of race), Natalie Nenadic (social and political philosophy, feminism), Theodore Schatzki (social philosophy), and Anita Superson (metaethics, ethical theory, feminism, moral psychology).

Students with an interest in this area may wish to become involved in the Social Theory Program, a graduate program devoted to multidisciplinary teaching and research in the theoretical study of social life. Several members of the department are active in this program, including Daniel Breazeale, Arnold Farr, and Theodore Schatzki. 


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