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Department of Philosophy

Department of Philosophy, Cornell University Cornell University Cornell University Department of Philosophy

Sage School of Philosophy, Cornell University


Charles R. Lamb Design Sketch for Mosaic in Sage Chapel Honoring Arts and Sciences, 1900

Southeast Corner of Goldwin Smith Hall in Springtime

South Facade of Goldwin Smith Hall in Autumn


Goldwin Smith Hall on the Arts Quad, looking southeast, silver gelatin print circa 1909

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The Susan Linn Sage School of Philosophy

Cornell's Philosophy Department is home to a distinguished tradition of philosophical research and teaching. Founded at Cornell in 1891 with an endowment from Henry W. Sage, its courses, seminars, workshops, reading groups, and informal common-room discussions continue to be a vital part of intellectual life at Cornell. Students at every level and in every area of intellectual endeavor find opportunity to engage with great philosophical ideas and problems and develop the critical thinking and analytical skills necessary for advancing our understanding of them. philosophia sage chapel mosaic


 Special Feature:  History of the Sage School of Philosophy at Cornell

Why Study Philosophy? 

Yet another reason:

Liberal Arts Degree is Now the Tech Industry's "Hottest Ticket"

says Forbes Magazine, July 2015

Read more here

The Program on Ethics and Public Life

eplThe Program on Ethics and Public Life (EPL) promotes interdisciplinary inquiry into ethics and public policy.

EPL has many events and activities throughout the academic year.

The Law & Society Minor is one component of the Program on Ethics and Public Life.



Ethics of Eating Artwork

Want to learn more about eating ethically?   PHIL 1440X was featured as a MOOC (massive open online course) from EdX for the first time in the spring of 2015.  PHIL 1440 will be taught again on campus in the FALL of 2016, and also again as a MOOC.  Watch for announcements!

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Faculty and Sage School in the Media

Kate Manne weighs in on the Stanford rapist:  Huffington Post (6/9/2016), "Sympathy for the Rapist: What the Stanford Case Teaches".

Two of our outstanding 2016 undergraduate Philosophy majors are honored by the College of Arts & Sciences as "Extraordinary", Amin Nikbin and Han Zhu.

Kate Manne's current research is focusing on oppressive gender relations.   She's quoted (along with other Cornell scholars) in Humanists Explore Dimensions of Identity (5/10/16).

Cornell scholars examine the structures of inequality, including Professor Richard Miller of the Program on Ethics and Public Life (5/10/16).

"Understanding the Mind" features interviews with Derk Pereboom, Nico Silins, Will Starr, and Karen Bennett (3/8/16).

New book on ethical eating co-edited by Andrew Chignell "Philosophy Comes to Dinner" now available.

Kate Manne writes about "Non-existent thrills" in the London (UK) Times Literary Supplement (4/6/16).

Karen Bennett featured in the College of Arts & Sciences' first panel on Humanities "Big Ideas":  The Mind

Lecture series and courses on "Inequality", hosted by Ethics and Public Life, spring semester.   Cornell Chronicle (1/27/16):  "Lecture series exploring inequality"

Kate Manne quoted in the Huffington Post/Canada - (1/6/16):  "Trigger Warnings Added to Indigenous Affairs Page"

Kate Manne, co-author of article in the Chronicle of Higher Education (11/13/15):  "When Free Speech Becomes a Political Weapon"

An op-ed piece by Kate Manne, in the New York Times (9/20/15) on "Why I Use Trigger Warnings"

Julia Markovits and Kate Manne, Cornell Daily Sun article (11/3/15) "Cornell Community Debates Merits of Trigger Warnings"

"Hope and Optimism" Project awards approx $2M to 18 proposals

A grant from the John Templeton Foundation is funding a research project called "Hope and Optimism: Conceptual and Empirical Investigations",  co-directed by Cornell philosophy professor Andrew Chignell and Notre Dame philosopher Samuel Newlands.

The project has just awarded nearly $2 million of funding to 18 requests from five countries.  "We think we've found a fantastic group of interdisciplinary scholars and topics to explore," says Professor Chignell.

More information:
Hope and Optimism website
Cornell Chronicle article
University of Notre Dame article

to Sage School Assistant Professor Kate Manne for winning a 2015 American Philosophical Association op-ed prize for her New York Times article: “In Ferguson and Beyond: Punishing Humanity”.

Prize link here
New York Times op-ed

Where is China Headed? 
EPL Video Series Continues

Leading China scholars Bai Tongdong, Daniel Bell, Eli Friedman, Ching Kwan Lee, Justin Yifu Lin, Tony Saich, and Wang Shaoguang analyze, evaluate, document, and debate governance, growth, inequality, reform, and protest in China.

To access videos, visit
Where is China Headed?

Cornell's Warrior-Scholar Project and the Sage School

What does it take to read analytically and think critically about complex topics such as democracy, freedom, or equality?   Sage School Professor Andrew Chignell participated in Cornell's Warrior-Scholar Project during the summer of 2015.   The Project helps facilitate the transition of military veterans from combat to life in academia.   Read more.

Sage School of Philosophy leading $4.5 million study of hope and optimism with University of Notre Dame 

Website:  Hope and Optimism

     A grant from the John Templeton Foundation is funding a research project called "Hope and Optimism: Conceptual and Empirical Investigations",  co-directed by Cornell philosophy professor Andrew Chignell and Notre Dame philosopher Samuel Newlands.
     The three-year interdisciplinary effort will explore the theoretical, empirical and practical dimensions of hope, optimism, and related states by supporting new research in the social sciences, philosophy, and religion.
     "Grants of this size in the humanities are unusual," said Chignell, associate professor in Cornell's Susan Linn Sage School of Philosophy.  "Grants that range across the humanities and social sciences and are shared between two universities are extremely rare.  So this is an exciting project that offers new opportunities for everyone involved."



Read more here


  • Professor Andrew Chignell was honored with the Frederick Burkhardt Award for Recently Tenured Scholars, from the ACLS (American Council of Learned Societies).  He will spending a research year at Stanford's Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in 2015 - 2016.

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