Departments, Programs and Centers



  • Chair: Professor John J. Tilley
  • Professors: Michael Burke (Emeritus), Edmund Byrne (Emeritus), André De Tienne, Anne Donchin (Emerita), Richard Gunderman, Nathan Houser (Emeritus), Laurence Lampert (Emeritus), Michael McRobbie, Eric Meslin, Paul Nagy (Emeritus), John Tilley
  • Associate Professors: Peg Brand, Martin Coleman, Cornelis de Waal, Jason Eberl, Robert Frye (Emeritus), Timothy Lyons, Ursula Niklas Peterson (Emerita)
  • Assistant Professors: Chad Carmichael, Peter Schwartz
  • Senior Lecturers: J. Gregory Keller, Christian Kraatz, Luise Morton, David Pfeifer, Victoria Rogers
  • Adjunct Professors: Carl Hausman, John L. Hill
  • Assistant Secretary: Michelle Ruben
  • Academic Advising
    • Cavanaugh Hall 340A or 344, (317) 274-3842 or (317) 274-5338 or (317) 274-4690

Philosophic inquiry aims, ultimately, at a general understanding of the whole of reality. It draws on the insights of the great historical philosophers, on what has been learned in all other major fields of study, and on the rich perspectives embodied within ordinary ways of thinking. Philosophers address a diverse array of deep, challenging, and profoundly important questions. Examples include the nature of the self and of personal identity; the existence or nonexistence of God; the nature of time, mind, language, and science; the sources and limits of human knowledge; the nature of the good life; the foundations of state authority; the requirements of social justice; and the nature of art, beauty, and aesthetic experience. Philosophical questions are addressed not by reference to empirical information alone, but by means of analysis, synthesis, argument, and the construction and evaluation of philosophical theories.

What attracts students to philosophy is the intrinsic interest of its subject matter. But the study of philosophy has practical benefits as well. Philosophy majors are practiced in the close reading of complex texts, in the careful analysis and evaluation of arguments, in original and creative thinking, and in the clear, precise, and persuasive communication of ideas. The skills thus acquired are not only a source of deep personal satisfaction, but a strong asset in any profession. That the study of philosophy is highly effective in enhancing academic skills is evidenced by the fact that philosophy majors receive exceptionally high scores on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), and other standardized admissions tests.

Since philosophy examines the presuppositions and the basic concepts and methods of all other disciplines, a minor in philosophy can be an ideal complement to a major in any other field of study. In addition to the perspective it offers on other fields, a minor in philosophy sharpens intellectual skills, opens a broad intellectual vista, and affords an opportunity to consider fundamental questions of human concern.

Departmental Honors Program

To provide superior students the option of advanced work in philosophy, the department offers H-Options in all 200- to 500-level courses other than P265. To graduate with honors in philosophy, a student must complete at least 24 credit hours of honors work, including at least 12 credit hours in philosophy and at least 6 credit hours outside philosophy, and must satisfy the requirements for a major in philosophy. The student must maintain a minimum overall grade point average of 3.3, with a 3.5 in philosophy and a 3.5 in honors courses. For further information, contact the department chair.