Philosophy Research Topics

Philosophy Research Topics 1This list of more than 600 philosophy research topics has been constructed to assist students and researchers who wish to explore a number of ideas in a specific time period or in a distinct subfield of philosophy. Topics have, accordingly, been grouped under two general headings: “Historical Periods” and “Subfields of Philosophy.”

Some of the topics can be placed within Ancient Philosophy (such as Arete and Demiurge), Medieval Philosophy (such as Liber de Causis and Scotism) and Modern Philosophy (such as Atheismusstreit and Jansenism). Most philosophical topics, however, defy allocation to one time frame because they relate to questions that have engaged philosophers for many centuries.

The list of philosophical subfields into which topicshave been placed is not exhaustive. Indeed, there are many additional subfields that frequently bear the title “Philosophy of . . . ” such as Philosophy of Education, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of Sex, Philosophy of Technology, etc.

Historical Periods in Philosophy

Ancient Philosophy

1. Ancient Aesthetics
2. Ancient Skepticism
3. Arete/Agathon/Kakon
4. Aristotelianism
5. Aristotle
6. Arius and Arianism
7. Cicero,Marcus Tullius
8. Confucius
9. Cynics
10. Demiurge
11. Epicureanism and the Epicurean School
12. Galen
13. Greek Academy
14. Homer
15. Hypatia
16. Mani and Manichaeism
17. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
18. Neoplatonism
19. Origen
20. Plato
21. Pre-Socratic Philosophy
22. Pythagoras and Pythagoreanism
23. Seneca, Lucius Annaeus
24. Sextus Empiricus
25. Socrates
26. Stoicism
27. Tertullian, Quintus Septimius Florens
28. Thucydides
29. Xenophon
30. Zeno of Elea

Medieval Philosophy

31. Abelard, Peter
32. Albert the Great
33. Augustine, St.
34. Averroes
35. Avicenna
36. Bacon, Roger
37. Biel, Gabriel
38. Maimonides
39. Thomas Aquinas, St.
40. Wyclyf, John

Modern Philosophy

41. Bacon, Francis
42. Beccaria, Cesare Bonesana
43. Bentham, Jeremy
44. Boyle, Robert
45. Burke, Edmund
46. Calvin, John
47. Cavendish,Margaret
48. Copernicus, Nicolas
49. Descartes, Rene
50. Diderot, Denis
51. Franklin, Benjamin
52. Galileo Galilei
53. Gibbon, Edward
54. Goethe, Johann Wolfgang Von
55. Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich
56. Hobbes, Thomas
57. Hume, David
58. Kant, Immanuel
59. Kepler, Johannes
60. Lamarck, Chevalier de
61. Laplace, Pierre Simon de
62. La Rochefoucauld, Duc Francois de
63. Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm
64. Leonardo da Vinci
65. Locke, John
66. Luther, Martin
67. Machiavelli, Niccolo
68. Maxwell, James Clerk
69. Milton, John
70. Montaigne, Michel Eyquem De
71. Montesquieu, Baron de
72. More, Thomas
73. Newton, Isaac
74. Paine, Thomas
75. Paracelsus
76. Pascal, Blaise
77. Pope, Alexander
78. Rousseau, Jean-Jacques
79. Schiller, Friedrich
80. Skovoroda, Hryhorii Savych
81. Smith, Adam
82. Spinoza, Benedict (Baruch) de
83. Swift, Jonathan
84. Voltaire, Francois-Marie Arouet de
85. Wollstonecraft, Mary

19th Century Philosophy

86. Coleridge, Samuel Taylor
87. Comte, Auguste
88. Durkheim, Emile
89. Emerson, Ralph Waldo
90. Huxley, Thomas Henry
91. Mill, John Stuart
92. Nietzsche, Friedrich
93. Schopenhauer, Arthur
94. Sidgwick, Henry
95. Simmel, Georg

Early 20th Century Philosophy

96. Benjamin, Walter
97. Berdyaev, Nikolai Aleksandrovich
98. Cantor, Georg
99. Dewey, John
100. Einstein, Albert
101. Freud, Sigmund
102. Gramsci, Antonio
103. Kautsky, Karl
104. Keynes, John Maynard
105. Kropotkin, Petr Alekseevich
106. Lenin, Vladimir Il’ich
107. Mead, George Herbert
108. Pareto, Vilfredo
109. Pavlov, Ivan Petrovich
110. Proust, Marcel
111. Reich, Wilhelm
112. Taylor, Alfred Edward
113. Veblen, Thorstein Bunde
114. Weber, Max
115. Wundt,Wilhelm

Mid and Late 20th Century Philosophy

116. Adorno, Theodore Wiesengrund
117. Arendt, Hannah
118. Baudrillard, Jean
119. Beauvoir, Simone de
120. Berlin, Isaiah
121. Bohm, David
122. Bohr, Niels
123. Camus, Albert
124. Chomsky, Noam
125. Derrida, Jacques
126. Eliot, Thomas Stearns
127. Foucault, Michel
128. Habermas, Jurgen
129. Heidegger, Martin
130. Jung, Carl Gustav
131. Kuhn, Thomas
132. Lacan, Jacques
133. Lewis, C. S. (Clive Staples)
134. Lyotard, Jean-Francois
135. Mannheim, Karl
136. Moore, George Edward
137. Nozick, Robert
138. Piaget, Jean
139. Popper, Karl Raimund
140. Rawls, John
141. Russell, Bertrand Arthur William
142. Sen, Amartya K.
143. Skinner, B. F.
144. Toynbee, Arnold Joseph
145. Wright, Georg Henrik von

Subfields of Philosophy

Epistemology

146. A Priori and A Posteriori
147. Belief
148. Common Sense
149. Critical Realism
150. Doubt
151. Error
152. Feminist Epistemology
153. Idealism
154. Illusions
155. Imagination
156. Intuition
157. Irrationalism
158. Knowledge and Belief
159. Knowledge and Modality
160. Knowledge and Truth, The Value of
161. Knowledge and Vagueness
162. Knowledge in Indian Philosophy
163. Moral Epistemology
164. Naturalized Epistemology
165. Perception
166. Pragmatist Epistemology
167. Rationalism
168. Realism
169. Reason
170. Self-Knowledge
171. Self-Prediction
172. Social Epistemology
173. Sociology of Knowledge
174. Thinking
175. Virtue Epistemology

Philosophy of Mind

176. Action
177. Agent Causation
178. Animal Mind
179. Artificial Intelligence
180. Behaviorism
181. Cognitive Science
182. Consciousness
183. Dreams
184. Dualism in the Philosophy of Mind
185. Emotion
186. Existential Psychoanalysis
187. Folk Psychology
188. Gestalt Theory
189. Innate Ideas
190. Intention
191. Knowledge Argument
192. Language of Thought
193. Memory
194. Mind-Body Problem
195. Parapsychology
196. Philosophy of Mind
197. Psychoanalysis
198. Self-Deception
199. Subjectivity
200. Thinking

Metaphysics

201. Appearance and Reality
202. Being
203. Chance
204. Constructivism and Conventionalism
205. Cosmology
206. Determinism and Freedom
207. Determinism in History
208. Dialectical Materialism
209. Essence and Existence
210. Eternal Return
211. Event Theory
212. Existence
213. Feminist Metaphysics
214. Fictionalism
215. Force
216. Idealism
217. Identity
218. Laws of Nature
219. Macrocosm and Microcosm
220. Materialism
221. Monad and Monadology
222. Monism and Pluralism
223. Naturalism
224. Ontology
225. Pantheism
226. Persistence
227. Personal Identity
228. Pessimism and Optimism
229. Possibility
230. Realism

Philosophy of Science

231. Black Holes
232. Bohmian Mechanics
233. Chaos Theory
234. Common Cause Principle
235. Conservation Principle
236. Copenhagen Interpretation
237. Decision Theory
238. Evolutionary Theory
239. Feminist Philosophy of Science
240. Functionalism in Sociology
241. Game Theory
242. Human Genome Project
243. Information Theory
244. Logical Positivism
245. Philosophy of Biology
246. Philosophy of Economics
247. Philosophy of Physics
248. Philosophy of Social Sciences
249. Philosophy of Statistical Mechanics
250. Physics and the Direction of Time
251. Probability and Chance
252. Quantum Computing and Teleportation
253. Quantum Logic and Probability
254. Relativity Theory
255. Science and Pseudoscience
256. Science Policy
257. Science Studies
258. Scientific Method
259. Scientific Realism
260. Scientific Revolutions

Philosophy of Logic

261. Combinatory Logic
262. Computability Theory
263. Computing Machines
264. Fallacies
265. First-Order Logic
266. Induction
267. Infinity in Mathematics and Logic
268. Intuitionism and Intuitionistic Logic
269. Liar Paradox
270. Ancient Logic
271. Logic and Inference in Indian Philosophy
272. Chinese Logic
273. Logic in the Islamic World
274. Medieval (European) Logic
275. Modern Logic
276. Logical Knowledge
277. Logical Paradoxes
278. Logic Machines
279. Modal Logic
280. Second-Order Logic

Philosophy of Language

281. Artificial and Natural Languages
282. Compositionality
283. Conversational Implicature
284. Definition
285. Demonstratives
286. Events in Semantic Theory
287. Language
288. Language and Thought
289. Logical Form
290. Meaning
291. Metaphor
292. Modality and Language
293. Nouns, Mass and Count
294. Performative Theory of Truth
295. Performative Utterances
296. Philosophy of Language
297. Phonology
298. Plurals
299. Pragmatics
300. Presupposition
301. Private Language Problem
302. Proper Names and Descriptions
303. Quantifiers in Natural Language
304. Questions
305. Reference
306. Religious Language
307. Rule Following
308. Semantics
309. Subject and Predicate
310. Syntactical and Semantical Categories

Continental Philosophy

311. Alienation
312. Alterity
313. Bad Faith
314. Baudrillard, Jean
315. Camus, Albert
316. Consciousness in Phenomenology
317. Critical Theory
318. Deconstruction
319. Discourse Ethics
320. Existentialism
321. Habermas, Jurgen
322. Heidegger, Martin
323. Hermeneutics
324. Kierkegaard, Soren Aabye
325. Lacan, Jacques
326. Modernism and Postmodernism
327. Phenomenology
328. Philosophical Anthropology
329. Sartre, Jean-Paul
330. Structuralism and Post-structuralism

Feminist Philosophy

331. Analytic Feminism
332. Feminism and Pragmatism
333. Feminist Aesthetics and Criticism
334. Feminist Epistemology
335. Feminist Ethics
336. Feminist Legal Theory
337. Feminist Metaphysics
338. Feminist Philosophy of Science
339. Feminist Social and Political Philosophy
340. Women in the History of Philosophy

Ethics

341. Altruism
342. Asceticism
343. Categorical Imperative
344. Conscience
345. Consequentialism
346. Contractualism
347. Deontological Ethics
348. Duty
349. Egoism and Altruism
350. Environmental Ethics
351. Equality, Moral and Social
352. Error Theory of Ethics
353. Ethical Egoism
354. Ethical Naturalism
355. Ethical Relativism
356. Ethical Subjectivism
357. Ethics and Economics
358. Ethics and Morality
359. Evil
360. Evolutionary Ethics
361. Happiness
362. Hedonism
363. Human Nature
364. Intrinsic Value
365. Justice
366. Kantian Ethics
367. Love
368. Loyalty
369. Lying
370. Moral Dilemmas
371. Moral Rules and Principles
372. Objectivity in Ethics
373. Pleasure
374. Practical Reason
375. Projectivism
376. Promises
377. Punishment
378. Racism
379. Respect
380. Virtue and Vice

Applied Ethics

381. Abortion
382. Animal Rights and Welfare
383. Applied Ethics
384. Bioethics
385. Business Ethics
386. Computer Ethics
387. Engineering Ethics
388. Euthanasia
389. Genetics and Reproductive Technologies
390. Impartiality
391. Informed Consent
392. Informed Consent in the Practice of Law
393. Medical Ethics
394. Paternalism
395. Patriotism

Social and Political Philosophy

396. Affirmative Action
397. Anarchism
398. Authority
399. Censorship
400. Civil Disobedience
401. Communism
402. Conservatism
403. Cosmopolitanism
404. Democracy
405. Dialectical Materialism
406. Fascism
407. Freedom
408. Historical Materialism
409. Just War Theory
410. Justice
411. Liberalism
412. Liberty
413. Marxist Philosophy
414. Nationalism
415. Natural Law
416. Pacifism
417. Patriotism
418. Peace, War, and Philosophy
419. Pluralism
420. Power
421. Property
422. Punishment
423. Racism
424. Reflective Equilibrium
425. Republicanism
426. Rights
427. Social Contract
428. Socialism
429. Society
430. Sovereignty
431. State
432. Terrorism
433. Toleration
434. Utopias and Utopianism
435. Violence

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

436. Aesthetic Experience
437. Aesthetic Judgment
438. Aesthetic Qualities
439. Ancient Aesthetics
440. Authenticity in Art
441. Beauty
442. Creativity
443. Definitions of Art
444. Environmental Aesthetics
445. Expression in Art
446. Feminist Aesthetics and Criticism
447. Formalism in Art
448. Humor
449. Imagination
450. Interpretation of Art
451. Ontology of Art
452. Performance in Art
453. Philosophy of Film
454. Philosophy of Music
455. Representation in Art
456. Style and Genre in Art
457. Tragedy
458. Truth in Art
459. Ugliness
460. Value in Art

Philosophy of Religion

461. Agnosticism
462. Analogy in Theology
463. Atheism
464. Common Consent Arguments for the Existence of God
465. Concepts of God
466. Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God
467. Death
468. Deism
469. Divine Command Theories of Ethics
470. Doctrines of Heaven and Hell
471. Eschatology
472. Eternity
473. Hiddenness of God
474. Immortality
475. Infinity in Theology and Metaphysics
476. Liberation Theology
477. Meaning and Value of Life
478. Miracles
479. Moral Arguments for the Existence of God
480. Myth
481. Nihilism
482. Popular Arguments for the Existence of God
483. Providence
484. Reincarnation
485. Religious Doctrine of Creation and Conservation
486. Religious Experience
487. Religious Language
488. Religious Pluralism
489. Revelation
490. The Problem of Evil

Buddhist Philosophy

491. Buddhism
492. Buddhism—Schools: Chan and Zen
493. Buddhism—Schools: Dge-lugs
494. Buddhism—Schools: Hua yan
495. Buddhism—Schools: Madhyamaka
496. Buddhism—Schools: Yogacara
497. Buddhist Epistemology
498. Chinese Philosophy: Buddhism
499. Dogen
500. Jinul
501. Mind and Mental States in Buddhist Philosophy
502. Nagarjuna
503. Nirvana
504. Shinran
505. Vasubandhu

Chinese Philosophy

506. Chinese Philosophy Overview
507. Chinese Philosophy: Buddhism
508. Chinese Philosophy: Confucianism
509. Chinese Philosophy: Contemporary
510. Chinese Philosophy: Daoism
511. Chinese Philosophy: Ethics
512. Chinese Philosophy: Language and Logic
513. Chinese Philosophy: Metaphysics and Epistemology
514. Chinese Philosophy: Religion
515. Chinese Philosophy: Social and Political Thought

Indian Philosophy

516. Atomic Theory in Indian Philosophy
517. Brahman
518. Causation in Indian Philosophy
519. God/Isvara in Indian Philosophy
520. Indian Philosophy
521. Karma
522. Knowledge in Indian Philosophy
523. Liberation in Indian Philosophy
524. Meditation in Indian Philosophy
525. Negation in Indian Philosophy
526. Philosophy of Language in India
527. Reincarnation
528. Self in Indian Philosophy
529. Truth and Falsity in Indian Philosophy
530. Universal Properties in Indian Philosophical Traditions

Islamic Philosophy

531. Averroes
532. Avicenna
533. Causation in Islamic Philosophy
534. Corbin, Henry
535. Dialectic in Islamic and Jewish Philosophy
536. Enlightenment, Islamic
537. Illuminationism
538. Iqbal,Muhammad
539. Islamic Philosophy
540. Mulla Sadra
541. Nasir al-Din al-Tusi
542. Nasr, Seyyed Hossein
543. School of Qom, The
544. Shariati, Ali
545. Sufism

Japanese Philosophy

546. Hayashi Razan
547. Ito Jinsai
548. Japanese Philosophy
549. Kaibara Ekken
550. Kumazawa Banzan
551. Miki Kiyoshi
552. Minagawa Kien
553. Miura Baien
554. Muro Kyuso
555. Nakae Toju
556. Nishi Amane
557. Nishida, Kitaro
558. Ogyu Sorai
559. Yamaga Soko
560. Yamazaki Ansai

Jewish Philosophy

561. Albo, Joseph
562. Dialectic in Islamic and Jewish Philosophy
563. Enlightenment, Jewish
564. Gersonides
565. Halevi, Yehuda
566. Ibn Gabirol, Solomon ben Judah
567. Ibn Zaddik, Joseph ben Jacob
568. Israeli, Isaac ben Solomon
569. Jewish Averroism
570. Kabbalah
571. Maimonides
572. Menasseh (Manasseh) ben Israel
573. Philo Judaeus
574. Rosenzweig, Franz
575. Saadya

Philosophical Movements

576. Empiricism
577. Enlightenment
578. Florentine Academy
579. Geisteswissenschaften
580. Gnosticism
581. Greek Academy
582. Hegelianism
583. Hellenistic Thought
584. Hermeticism
585. Historicism
586. Humanism
587. Jansenism
588. Logical Positivism
589. Mani and Manichaeism
590. Modernism and Postmodernism
591. Multiculturalism
592. Neo-Kantianism
593. Neoplatonism
594. New England Transcendentalism
595. New Realism
596. Nihilism
597. Ockhamism
598. Pantheism
599. Personalism
600. Pessimism and Optimism
601. Phenomenalism
602. Phenomenology
603. Platonism
604. Stoicism
605. Thomism

Special Topics in Philosophy

606. African Philosophy
607. Evolutionary Psychology
608. History and Historiography of Philosophy
609. Korean Philosophy
610. Latin American Philosophy
611. Philosophy
612. Philosophy of Education, Epistemological Issues In
613. Philosophy of Education, Ethical and Political Issues In
614. Philosophy of Education, History of
615. Philosophy of History
616. Philosophy of Medicine
617. Philosophy of Sex
618. Philosophy of Technology
619. Social Constructionism
620. Speciesism

Philosophy Research Topics 2Because most biographical topics describe scholars who make contributions in more than one subfield of philosophy (such as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Bertrand Russell, and Hilary Putnam to mention only a few), it would be overly cumbersome to list each of them in all the subfields in which they worked. Some persons, however, can be reasonably associated with one particular subfield, such as Monroe Beardsley with Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art, Georg Cantor with Philosophy of Logic, Confucius and Mencius with Chinese Philosophy, and Mohammed Arkoun and Seyyed Hossein Nasr with Islamic Philosophy. Such scholars are listed not only in one of the five historical periods but also within their distinctive subfields.

Philosophy begins with wonder, and the West has no monopoly on wonder. Human beings from diverse cultures have wondered about such things as truth, knowledge, logic, morality, and the nature of the human and also the transcendent. While the way questions are posed and answers are given may vary significantly from culture to culture, the topics of philosophy are truly multicultural. Dividing human development into distinct periods has an element of unavoidable arbitrariness. The point to be emphasized by utilizing such divisions, however, is that philosophical thinking is a growing concern and that stages of growth are usually recognizable. The topics covering diverse philosophical traditions will, it is hoped, display that growth and also the commonality of human wonder.