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Department of Philosophy

Welcome to Department of Philosophy graphic

two greeks philosophizingWhy Study Philosophy?

We are a small but vibrant department with engaged and inquisitive majors and minors. If you ask one of them why he or she has chosen to pursue a degree in philosophy, you’ll likely hear, “Because I love it!” Our faculty share this passion for inquiry into the most fundamental questions concerning the nature of reality and the place of human beings within it. Our relatively small size fosters a strong sense of community, and students enjoy extensive interaction with faculty members.

This site contains a good deal of information about our program, our faculty, and opportunities for students. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, give us a call or drop us an email. Be sure to find us on Facebook and on Twitter @PhilDept.

Advising Matters

Interested in advising information?

Philosophers in Action

Our very own Dave McKerracher is graduating!


Dr. Andrew Finstuen and Dave McKerracher

Dave attended the Honors College Winter Gathering and Graduation Ceremony on December 1st which recognizes Honors students who are graduating. Dave is graduating with of Distinguished Honors in Philosophy.

He will also be the marshal for the College of Arts and Sciences at the Winter Commencement on December 17th in the Taco Bell Arena.









Friday, November 11th, 3:30-5:15pm, Multipurpose Classroom Building (MPCB) – Room 106

Open to the public & the campus community-

Abstract: Adding Fuel to the Fire? Orthorexia and Gendered Eating

Orthorexia is an obsession with maintaining the perfect diet for optimal health. Whereas people with anorexia are obsessed with the quantity of the food they eat, people with orthorexia are fixated on the quality of the food they eat. In contrast to anorexia, which disproportionately affects young women, orthorexia appears to affect men and women at roughly equal rates. At the same time, gendered eating norms play into the manifestation of orthorexia. Ideals of health are different for men and women: health for men is linked to strength and endurance, while for women it is equated with attractiveness (i.e., thinness) and competence. These differences are important when asking why the quest for a healthy diet might turn destructive. I suggest that the root answer to this question lies in philosophical traditions that seek to transcend (rather than embrace) the body. In short, orthorexia is just the newest manifestation of body-loathing. This recognition gives us strong reason to resist cultural assignations of certain foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and to push hard against the force those terms acquire in the endless quest for ‘healthy living.’

Students and faculty of Philosophy and students in other interested disciplines — please join the Philosophy Department for a discussion:

Saturday, November 12th, 10:30-12:15pm, Interactive Learning Center (ILC) – Room 303

Abstract: God in Us- Emotion, Embodiment, and Medieval Mysticism

Mystical experiences are often seen as the highest form of religious experience, as they are taken to involve unmediated contact with the Divine. At the same time, as highly uncommon experiences with no means of external verification, mystical experiences are often viewed with suspicion. Together with other factors, this suspicion has produced a definition of ‘mystical experience’ in analytic philosophy of religion that explicitly excludes affective and embodied experiences. Appealing to the medieval affective tradition, I argue that we should believe the testimony of the vast number of contemplatives who report that they have had physical and sensory mystical experiences giving them a real connection to an incarnate God. I conclude by offering a proposal in analogy with the familiar Kübler-Ross model of the five stages of grief: the sort of union with God focused on in current discussions is just one of a number of valid mystical experiences that comprise the mystic’s life. Although this does not leave us with a technical definition of mystical experience, I suggest that the quest for such a definition might hinder understanding of the mystic’s life.


Neil Sinhabubu pic

August 26, 2016 – “The Value of Philosophy in the Age of Google”

Dr. Neil Sinhababu, Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore, will be offering a ‘The Value of Philosophy in the Age of Google’ to the general public and the campus community.

Friday, August 26th at 3:30pm  in MultiPurpose Building Room 106.

No reservation required.  Please join us.

Abstract:  Technology makes it easy to do complex calculations, store information, and transmit this information to the world. While technology reduces the need for human calculation and memorization, it increases the value of developing the conceptual foundations for new knowledge, which can then be more easily discovered and transmitted. Developing these conceptual foundations often requires combining premises from different domains in reasoning, developing and clarifying concepts, and expressing ideas clearly. These abilities are central to philosophy.

To learn more about Dr. Sinhababu here below are links to his CV, Homepage and Blog:

Curriculum Vita


Dr. Andrew Cortens and his Hankerin’ for Cowboy Philosophy

Andrew Cortens on horseback at the Metaphysics Workshop held at White Stallion Ranch, Tucson AZ in January 2016

Cortens contemplates cowpoking in January in Tucson, Arizona

Dr. Andrew Cortens attended the 2016 annual Ranch Metaphysics Workshop January 27-31 at the White Stallion Ranch in Tucson, Arizona.

Dr. Alex Jackson Talks About Civility

Alex Jackson at City Club of Boise speaking on Civility

Dr. Alex Jackson and Dr. Stephanie Witt lead a discussion on civility January 28, 2016 at the City Club of Boise.

Dr. Alex Jackson (Philosophy) and Dr. Stephanie Witt (Public Policy and Administration), and Dr. Steve Shaw (Political Science at NNU) lead the discussion on civility on Thursday, January 28th in Boise State University’s downtown space at the Collier Building for the City Club of Boise in January.

Listen to the discussion.

Philosophy Department, Dr. Reina Hayaki, Eric Torres Photos

Dr. Reina Hayaki of U. Nebraska-Lincoln, gives talk on Nov. 13th, “Is Sherlock Holmes Real?”

Dr. Reina Hayaki Gives Talk

Boise State students (Philosophy, English linguistics, etc.), faculty and community members attend Dr. Reina Hayaki’s presentation, “Is Sherlock Holmes Real?” on November 13th in the Multi Purpose building.

Dr. Hayaki’s areas in philosophy are metaphysics, philosophy of language and philosophical logic. To learn more visit Dr. Reina Hayaki, University of Nebraska-Lincoln at UNL.

Philosophers on the move! Picture of Nietzsche as Superman

Christopher Bower, former philosophy student (and former vice-president of the Philosophy Student Club) was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship  starting Fall 2015 in Tajikistan. We are so proud of him!

Dave McKerracher, philosophy student, spent three weeks in Thailand in June 2015 teaching disadvantaged students English and life skills. What a fabulous experience.

Jim Stockton, lecturer, presented a paper, Alasdair MacIntyre’s Participation in the Oxford University Socratic Club, to the 9th annual International Society for MacIntyrean Enquiry conference held at St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri  July 23-25, 2015.

Dr. Alex Jackson, philosophy assistant professor, delivered a peer reviewed paper at the Joint Sessions of the Aristotelian Society and Mind Association conference held at Warwick University, England July 10-13, 2015.