News and Announcements

  • Descriptions of the Department's Fall 2017 courses are now available here.  
  • Richard Velkley is President of the Metaphysical Society of America for 2017-18.

  • David Shoemaker was awarded a grant for Summer and Fall 2016 in the Philosophy and Science of Self-Control Project at Florida State University, funded by the John Templeton Foundation. The title of his project is "Empathetic Self-Control". He was also recently appointed as an Associate Editor at Ethics.

  • Dan Burnston (Philosophy of Cognitive Science, Philosophy of Mind) and Chad Van Schoelandt (Social and Political Philosophy, Ethics) joined the Department in Fall 2015. Dan Burston was also recently elected to the Brain Institute at Tulane.

  • Mircea Dumitru (Ph.D. 1998) was reelected Rector (President) of the University of Bucharest, Romania, and currently also serves as Minister of Education and Scientific Research in the Romanian government.
  • Alexandre Priou (PhD, 2014) was appointed as Visiting Assistant Professor at Kutztown University.

  • Shane Courtland (PhD, 2008) was appointed as Director of the Center for Free Enterprise at West Virginia University.

  • Tom Mulligan (PhD, 2015) was appointed as Postdoctoral Research Associate in Economics and Ethics at the Georgetown University School of Business.

  • Paul Wilford (PhD, 2016) was appointed Assistant Professor at Boston College in the Department of Political Science.

  • Lamont Rodgers (PhD, 2013) was appointed as Full-time Instructor of Philosophy at Houston Community College.

  • Seth Appelbaum (PhD, 2015) was appointed as Visiting Assistant Professor at Bellarmine College.

  • Andrea Houchard (PhD, 2014) was appointed as Assistant Professor of Practice at Northern Arizona University.

  • The Philosophy Department is now on Facebook.

  • For information about Faculty Seminars at the Murphy Institute, click here.

  • For information about the Judeo-Christian Lecture Series, click here.

What is Philosophy and Why Study It?


The word "philosophy" is derived from the Greek meaning "love of wisdom."

Along with mathematics, philosophy is one of the oldest intellectual disciplines and it has always been a central component in the university curriculum.

There are many areas of philosophical inquiry.  Three of the most important kinds of questions that philosophers ask are as follows:

  • Questions about life and how we should treat each other (Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy): What is the good life? How should we treat each other? Is ethical truth relative to a culture? What political system should we have? Why are liberty and democracy important? . 
  • Questions about the ultimate nature of the world (Metaphysics): Is there a God? Is everything made of matter? Are minds separate from bodies? Do people have free will? What is it for one event to cause another?
  • Questions about what we know and how we know it (Epistemology): What is knowledge? Could the things we believe about the world be radically wrong. Might you really be "brain in a vat" , being stimulated by a mad neuroscientist to have the sensory experiences you in fact have? Is religious belief rational?

In philosophy courses, questions like these are approached directly and through critical reflection on the writings of influential thinkers.

For details about our courses, take a look at our courses page.

For information about the major and minor at Tulane, check out our major and minor page

Why study philosophy? Some answers.

The Department has an active undergraduate philosophy club, which meets regularly during the semester to discuss a wide range of topics in philosophy.

Tulane University, Department of Philosophy, 105 Newcomb Hall, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5305