A faculty of seventeen plus four affiliated faculty and a graduate student enrollment of about thirty permits almost all courses to be small seminars of four to nine students and also permits the possibility of arranging individual courses of supervised reading and research on topics and problems not covered in seminars. In addition, a great deal of informal faculty-student contact and discussion takes place outside the classroom. The department is strong in all the major areas of philosophy: contemporary epistemology and metaphysics, ethics, history of philosophy, legal and political philosophy; philosophical logic; the philosophy of language; the philosophy of mind; the philosophy of science. Research areas also include cognitive science, philosophy of religion, applied ethics, and medieval philosophy. Prospective students should read the descriptions of individual faculty members for information about their research interests. The department will make at least one, and possibly two, additional faculty appointments for Fall 2014.
The Balz Philosophy Library is a departmental library located in a beautifully renovated room in Cocke Hall. It is intended as a quiet place for study and is used extensively by graduate philosophy students. The library is run by graduate student librarians.
The Philosophy Club, composed of faculty and graduate students, arranges a series of guest lectures by prominent philosophers each year and organizes social occasions among students and faculty. Speakers in 2012-2013 included Michael Thompson, Kok-chor Tan, Eleonore Stump, Michael Detlefsen, Timothy Williamson, Alan Code, Pamela Hieronymi, and D.H. Mellor.
In addition to the Philosophy Club lectures, the department organizes a series of more informal talks each semester under the rubric of the Philosophy Colloquium. Talks are given by students and faculty from the department as well as by faculty from neighboring universities. A full listing of colloquia talks is available under: `News and Events: Colloquium Calendar’. Any member of the department wishing to present a paper for discussion may arrange to do so by contacting the Colloquium Director. A third series of talks, Philosophy After Dark, is primarily for Students working on theses or dissertations or preparing articles for publication and they are especially encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to present some portion of their work. A number of informal reading groups in metaphysics, ancient philosophy, philosophy of science, and other areas meet on a regular basis. The Philosophy, Politics, and Law Colloqium series also regularly has talks from visiting philosophers.
The Department holds an annual weekend retreat to the University-owned Blandy Farm, near Winchester, Virginia. Lodging and meals at the farm are available at no expense to students. The retreat features the presentation of papers by students and faculty, communal meals, sports and relaxation in a peaceful, pastoral setting.
The Department maintains its own computer lab for graduate students. This lab contains PCs and a Macintosh computer as well as a printer, and is linked to the University-wide network. The department also falls within the range of the University wireless network coverage area.