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The School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies offers a newly redesigned PhD program that focuses on practical and applied philosophy. General areas of research include ethics, political philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of law, philosophy of science, philosophy of language, philosophy of religion and the history of philosophy. Members of the faculty are involved in interdisciplinary work in a variety of fields and enjoy close ties with the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics, the College of Law, and a number of other graduate programs at the university. The ASU philosophy faculty group sponsors an active colloquium series and regular philosophical conferences on diverse topics. The Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics also sponsors a wide range of activities, including large-scale conferences, distinguished visitors and support for graduate study.
The doctoral program in philosophy features a focus on practical and applied philosophy and an interdisciplinary coursework component related to the student's research topic. Practical philosophy includes the fields of ethics, philosophy of law, social and political philosophy, feminist ethics and political philosophy. Applied philosophy includes both the application of theories developed within any of the subdisciplines of philosophy to everyday problems or phenomena (for example, the application of the philosophy of language in relation to hate speech or the philosophy of mind in relation to computing and artificial intelligence). Applied philosophy also includes the application of research produced by methods used in other disciplines in order to understand and address philosophical questions (for example, the application of data-gathering instruments used in psychology to answer questions in experimental philosophy).
Students may design dissertation projects in any of the major subfields of philosophy. For their interdisciplinary coursework supporting the dissertation project, students might, for example, pursue a certificate in social transformation, gender studies, responsible innovation in sciences, or engineering and society, etc. The program is designed to prepare students for careers as philosophers, as teachers of philosophy, and in areas in which they may benefit from advanced training in philosophy, such as law, civil service and publishing.