In addition to introductory and historical courses, the Department of Philosophy offers courses in traditional areas of philosophy such as metaphysics, ethics, and epistemology, as well as in such non-traditional areas as philosophy of biology, decision theory, and Asian philosophy. The philosophical education we provide is nourished by the outstanding research of our nationally and internationally renowned faculty. The Department of Philosophy is strongly committed to fostering intellectual skills that will serve students well outside philosophy.

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  • Defending states and protecting individuals : a critical examination of the principle of nonintervention 

    Nelson, Dustin, 1982- (University of Missouri--Columbia, 2016)
    It is widely accepted that individuals have rights. It is also widely accepted (though less so) that states have rights, including a right against intervention. Yet, sometimes the rights of individuals become threatened ...
  • Explanation for the cognitively bounded : psychology and the pragmatics of explanation 

    Lauer, Richard (University of Missouri--Columbia, 2016)
    People consume, construct, and desire explanations. When our cars break down, hear strange noises in our homes, or a machine won't work, we want to know why those events happened. Moreover, formulating explanations is ...
  • Amoralists, inverted commas, and the puzzle of moral internalism : an essay in experimental metaethics 

    Shields, Kenneth Wesley, 1982- (University of Missouri--Columbia, 2016)
    The central question addressed in this dissertation is whether one must have some degree of motivation to comply with their moral evaluation in order to count as genuinely making a sincere moral judgment. Those that view ...
  • Three questions concerning Reid's moral epistemology 

    Zema, Phillip Matthew, 1985- (University of Missouri--Columbia, 2016)
    In my dissertation, I argue for a novel interpretation of Reid's moral epistemology. Accordingly, I attempt to show that Reid is committed to the view that we obtain moral knowledge by way of moral intuition and moral ...
  • If matter matters: navigating the moral implications of panpsychism 

    Howe, E. Alexander (University of Missouri--Columbia, 2015)
    When you gaze at a sunset or taste a peach, there is a subjective feel to be had. This subjective "feel" is referred to as the qualitative character of experience. My goal is to argue that a certain ontological theory of ...
  • Niche construction and the role of environment: towards a new logic of natural selection explanations 

    Chiu, Lynn (Chien-Hui Chiu) (University of Missouri--Columbia, 2015)
    I argue that natural selection explanations are not necessarily externalist, i.e. they don't always cite features of the environment as explanans. In the first chapter, I argue against the Propensity Interpretation of ...
  • Epistemic democracy and political legitimacy 

    Zhang, Sheng (University of Missouri--Columbia, 2015)
  • Niche construction and the role of environment: towards a new logic of natural selection explanations 

    Chiu, Lynn (University of Missouri--Columbia, 2015)
    Biological systems may move in, feed on, socialize with, and change the world around it. How should we explain how these systems develop, act, think, and evolve? Internalists and externalists urge us to look past the ...
  • Toward a virtue account of science 

    Wright, Jacob Warren (University of Missouri--Columbia, 2014)
    This dissertation argues for a virtue account of science in which foundational scientific goals are achieved by scientists' employment of virtuous tools and practices. Chapter 1 discusses contemporary literature on the ...
  • Epistemic Virtue and Knowledge Attribution 

    Harris, Keith Raymond (University of Missouri--Columbia, 2015)
    What factors influence whether we may rightly attribute knowledge to a subject? It is uncontroversial that factors like whether a subject has a given belief, whether that belief is true, what evidence the subject has for ...
  • The Metaphysics of Content : Towards a Minimalist Account of Propositions 

    Frank, Devin (University of Missouri--Columbia, 2015)
    Propositions appear to be needed as the objects of belief and other propositional attitudes, the primary bearers of truth and falsity, and the semantic contents of sentences, but there remains significant debate over their ...
  • A Salience Account of Explanatory Power 

    Shorey, Katy (University of Missouri--Columbia, 2015)
    When we ask questions like "why won't my car engine start?" or "why is John late?" we are searching for explanations. We search for explanations in a variety of contexts and for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we want a ...
  • Compensation as the Moral Foundation of Jus Post Bellum 

    Koszela, Adam (University of Missouri--Columbia, 2015)
    Given how much harm can be done after the fighting part of wars end, and given recent failures to secure lasting peace after conflicts (e.g. in Afghanistan and Iraq), developing an account of the conditions of a just peace, ...
  • A solution to skeptical puzzles 

    Lee, Kok Yong ([University of Missouri--Columbia], 2014)
    In this dissertation, I aim at resolving the skeptical puzzle. An instance of this puzzle is as follows: (1) I know that I have hands. (2) I don't know that I am not a brain in a vat (being stimulated to experience having ...
  • Epistemic duties and blameworthiness for belief 

    Gadsden, Christopher Todd ([University of Missouri--Columbia], 2014)
    People sometimes believe things they shouldn't. Tommy believes in Santa Claus, Rev. Jones believes that the world is ending, and Adolf believes that some ethnic groups are superior to others. But are they somehow at fault ...
  • Moral wrongness and reactive attitudes 

    Fan, Wenwen, 1984- ([University of Missouri--Columbia], 2014)
    In my dissertation, I examine the relationship between moral wrongness and negative reactive attitudes. In particular, I inquire (1) whether moral wrongness is conceptually connected to the empirical disposition to hold ...
  • Pragmatism in John Henry Cardinal Newman 

    Mitchell, Cyprus Richard (University of Missouri, 1913)
    The purpose of this essay is to discuss the pragmatic implications of Newman's Philosophy. We propose to deal first with the point of antagonism found for Newman and the Pragmatists in 'Rationalism'; second, to analyze the ...
  • The idealism of Kant 

    Natchev, Chris Nichols (University of Missouri, 1912)
    The philosophy of Kant is undoubtedly one of the most stubborn and daring attempts of the mundane mind to furnish a true account of its own knowledge. This philosophy, both on account of its teachings and through its ...
  • Rethinking the evolution of human intelligence 

    Rohwer, Yasha (University of Missouri--Columbia, 2012)
    Humans have very large, complex brains for their size. Why are humans so intelligent and why did we become intelligent so quickly? My dissertation addresses the question of how to model the evolution of human intelligence. ...

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