Graduate Program Strengths & Faculty Research
The Philosophy program at South Florida aims to produce teachers and scholars with a deep understanding of philosophy and a broad knowledge of its history. We welcome a diversity of approaches to the study of philosophy, including analytic, continental, historical, literary, and multicultural. Above all, we seek to prepare our students to make contributions in their areas of expertise and to become responsible members of the philosophical community. Our department has historical and systematic interests. We are particularly committed to four general areas.
History of Philosophy
The expertise of our faculty covers all of the canonical periods in the history of western philosophy: Ancient (Segev, T. Williams); Medieval (T. Williams, Ariew); Early Modern: 17th (Ariew, Manning, Jesseph) and 18th century (Jesseph, Heydt, J. Williams); Kant (Schönfeld, Rayman, J. Williams); 19th-century (M. Morris, Braver, Heydt, Levine, Rayman, Turner); and 20th-century philosophy (Braver, Levine, Manning, Winsberg).
Several of our faculty members are devoted to philosophical scholarship in the continental tradition, especially concerning the thought of Hegel (M. Morris), Schopenhauer (Segev), Nietzsche (Rayman), Weber (Turner), Heidegger (Braver, Zhang), phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, and post-structuralism (Braver, Rayman).
History and Philosophy of Science
We are also acutely interested in the constellation of issues surrounding the sciences and their relations with philosophy. Some of us consider the sciences in their historical, cultural, and social contexts (Ariew, Jesseph, Turner), or concentrate on specific sciences, such as biology (Manning, Levine), chemistry (Goodwin), mathematics (Jesseph, Goodwin), and physics (Winsberg), or adopt scientific approaches to interdisciplinary topics, including methodology (Winsberg, Goodwin), language (Manning), and environmental (Schönfeld), cognitive (Levine, Manning, D. Morris), medical (Goodwin), and social science (Turner). We are home to the journal Perspectives on Science: Historical, Philosophical, Social, published by MIT Press.
Ethics and Social and Political Philosophy
Philosophers have long emphasized the importance of society in their reflections on human existence, raising questions about the interrelationships between ethics, politics, culture, and society. We examine these questions from interdisciplinary, systematic, and historical/cultural perspectives. The interdisciplinary perspectives include literary and film theory (Heydt), the philosophy of history (Ariew, Turner), and the philosophy of religion (T. Williams, Segev, Jesseph, D. Morris); the systematic areas include social and political theory (Turner, Rayman, M. Morris); and the historical/cultural approaches involve Kant (Rayman, J. Williams), Mill (Heydt), and Chinese philosophy and culture (Schönfeld, Zhang)
The Philosophy Gourmet Report lists five specialty rankings for our faculty; in the 2009 Report, we are highly recommended for Medieval Philosophy , Early Modern Philosophy: 17th Century, 18th Century, 20th Century Continental Philosophy and Feminist Philosophy. Our NRC Research Activity ranking range is 20-44 (out of 90 qualifying Philosophy Ph.D. Programs). Our ranking according to Harzing's Publish or Perish (using Google Scholar data) is circa 48 (out of 99 Philosophy Ph.D. programs). We are “Strongly Recommended” by The Pluralist Guide to Philosophy Programs.