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Our Graduate Program

Our Department offers both the M.A. and the Ph.D. degrees. For more detailed information on the M.A. and Ph.D. programs, please examine our Graduate Student Handbook.

Moral, Political, and Legal Philosophy

(esp. Kantian-Rawlsian tradition, environmental ethics)

Metaphysics and Epistemology

(esp. free will, action theory, ethics of belief, virtue epistemology, metaphysics of science, issues in philosophy of religion)

History of Philosophy

(esp. Plato, Aristotle, Hellenistic Philosophy, Kant, Nietzsche, Rawls)

These are our graduate program's main strengths. We have a largely young and dynamic faculty, and their interests (and what you might prompt them to take an interest in!) will of course extend further. Please be assured that they will be pleased if you choose to contact them directly. ( For more information about our faculty, their current areas of expertise and interest, where they studied, what gets them excited and so forth, see Our Faculty.)

With the UT College of Law, we also offer a dual degree M.A./J.D. option.  To learn more about this option, please consult with the Director of Graduate Studies in Philosophy or the Dean of the College of Law.

Program Highlights

Interact with the philosophers you read in class: We bring them to you! Typically one such course per term.

  • Fall 2016, The Ethics of Attitudes (Cureton). Visitors: Thomas E. Hill (UNC Chapel Hill), Robert N. Johnson (U. of Missouri), Erin Kelly (Tufts).
  • Fall 2015, Mind and Language (Archer).  Visitors:  John Brunero (Missouri-St. Louis), Kieran Setiya (MIT) and Nomy Arpaly (Brown).
  • Spring 2015, Topics in the Philosophy of Science: Mathematical Structure, Scientific Law and the Material World (Berenstain).  Visitors:  Stewart Shapiro (Ohio State), Jessica Wilson (Toronto), Katherine Brading (Notre Dame).
  • Fall 2014, Kant and the Idea of a priori justification (Kohl).  Visitors:  Karl Ameriks (Notre Dame), Stephen Engstrom (Pitt), Patricia Kitcher (Columbia).
  • Spring 2014, Ideal and Non-Ideal Theory (Garthoff).  Visitors:  Aaron James (UC-Irvine), Dan Brudney (Chicago), Carole Pateman (UCLA).
  • Fall 2013, Epicureanism, (Shaw). Visitors: Tim O'Keefe (Georgia State), Emily Austin (Wake Forest), Kirk Sanders (Illinois).
  • Spring 2013. Moral Responsibility and the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (Palmer). Visitors: Derk Pereboom (Cornell), Ish Haji (Calgary), Dana Nelkin (UC-San Diego).
  • Fall 2012. Virtue Epistemology (Coffman). Visitors: Ernest Sosa (Rutgers), Wayne Riggs (Oklahoma), John Greco (St. Louis).
  • Spring 2012. Human Rights and Global Justice (Reidy). Visitors: Andrew Altman (Georgia State), Carol Gould (CUNY), Chuck Beitz (Princeton).
  • Fall 2011. Value Pluralism and Incommensurability ( Nolt ). Visitors: Melinda Roberts (College of New Jersey), Larry Temkin (Rutgers), and Erik Carlson (Uppsala, Sweden).

A faculty and advanced graduate student research seminar in which the participants take up issues — moral, metaphysical, political, epistemological and so on — related to the broad theme of freedom. Meetings (four or five times per semester) are devoted to discussing works in progress. The seminar also typically invites at least one outside visitor per semester:

  • Spring 2014:  Jennifer Lockhart (Auburn)
  • Fall 2013:  Martha Nussbaum (Chicago) (in conjunction with the Humanities Center)
  • Spring 2013: Susan Wolf (UNC-Chapel Hill), R. Jay Wallace (UC-Berkeley)
  • Spring 2012: John Martin Fischer (UC-Riverside)
  • Fall 2011: Alex Kaufman (Georgia, Political Science)
  • Spring 2011: Michael McKenna (Arizona)

Topical two-day event featuring research of a UT faculty member and with distinguished invited speakers.

  • 2017. The Many Faces of Kantian Freedom. Anne Margaret Baxley (Univ. of Washington, St. Louis), Markus Kohl (UT Knoxville), Andrews Reath (UC Riverside), and Eric Watkins (UC San Diego).
  • 2016. Ethics and Humanities Place in Nature. Akeel Bilgrami (Columbia University); Alice Crary (The New School for Social Research); Kristina Gehrman (Tennessee); Gavin Lawrence (UCLA)
  • 2015.  Epicurus and Epicureanism.  David Sedley (Cambridge, UK); Voula Tsouna (UC-Santa Barbara); Eric Brown (Washington University, St. Louis); Clerk Shaw (Tennessee). 
  • 2014. Freewill, Metaphysics, Science. Al Mele (Florida State), Carolina Sartorio (Arizona), Scott Sehon (Bowdoin), David Palmer (UT)
  • 2013. Social Norms. Barbara Herman (UCLA), Tom Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill), Brad Hooker (Reading, UK), Henry Richardson (Georgetown), Adam Cureton (UT)
  • 2012. The Moral and Legal Status of Animals. Colin Allen (Indiana, Philosophy and Cognitive Science), Taimie Bryan (UCLA, Law), David DeGrazia (George Washington University), David Favre (Michigan State, Law), Rebecca Huss (Valparaiso, Law), Clare Palmer (Texas A&M), Nicholas Robinson (Pace School of Law, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Jon Garthoff and John Nolt (UT)
  • 2011. The Ethics of Belief. Robert Audi (Notre Dame), Tom Kelly (Princeton), Jon Kvanvig (Baylor), Linda Zagzebski (Oklahoma), E. J. Coffman (UT)
  • 2010. Rawls. Gerry Gaus (Arizona), Richard Miller (Cornell), Robert Talisse (Vanderbilt), Paul Weithman (Notre Dame), David Reidy (UT)

Inaugurated Fall 2012. Focused on issues in moral/political philosophy and/or action theory/free will. 10-12 papers accepted on peer review and two keynote addresses.

  • Fall 2017. Keynotes: Anita Silvers (San Francisco State University); Leslie Francis (University of Utah); Thomas E. Hill (UNC Chapel Hill)
  • Fall 2016. Keynotes: Peter Railton (University of Michigan); Michael Brady (University of Glasgow)
  • Fall 2015. Keynotes: John Schwenkler (Florida State University); Candace Vogler (University of Chicago)
  • Fall 2014.  Keynotes:  Talbot Brewer (Virginia), Amelie Rorty (Tufts).
  • Fall 2013. Keynotes: Michael McKenna (Arizona), Robert Kane (Texas)
  • Fall 2012. Keynotes: Tim Scanlon (Harvard), Pamela Hieronymi (UCLA).

Further Highlights

  • We make every effort to provide meaningful financial support for the professional travel of our graduate students so that they can present their work at conferences. Our graduate students present their work at prestigious and competitive conferences across North America and beyond.
  • Our teaching assistants receive a tuition waiver and competitive stipend. And we actively work to help secure supplemental stipends for eligible/qualifying students. While teaching assistantships are 9 month appointments, stipends are paid out over a 12 month schedule and tuition waivers cover the summer term. Health insurance is included.
  • The Department offers a summer dissertation fellowship to provide additional financial support for promising students in the final stages of dissertation writing.
  • There are opportunities for graduate student teaching during the summer.
  • Faculty are open to co-authoring papers with graduate students and many faculty have done that in recent years.
For more information

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