Philosophy Department, University of Oklahoma, USA

Philosophy Department, University of Oklahoma, USA


The Philosophy Department at the University of Oklahoma offers degrees at the B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. level. The department has a predominantly analytic and largely western orientation yet operates on a broad conception of philosophy that also embraces underrepresented areas of the discipline. The department has one scholar, Amy Olberding, working in early Chinese ethics. 

Professor Olberding’s work in Chinese philosophy focuses primarily on ethics in the early Confucian tradition, emphasizing the role of exemplars moral reasoning and education, as well as on the signal role played by li (ritual) in moral learning and competency. In addition to these foci, Professor Olberding also produces work addressing metaphilosophical issues as they bear on the philosophy discipline’s historically reluctant embrace of work outside a traditional western canon, examining, for example, modes of resistance to incorporating Chinese philosophy into wider philosophy discourses. 

In addition to Professor Olberding, OU’s department also includes a cluster of faculty working in virtue theory, both ethics and epistemology, broadly conceived to embrace not simply standard, traditional sources, but also underrepresented areas of philosophy.  These faculty include Linda Zagzebski (exemplarist virtue ethics, virtue epistemology), Nancy Snow (virtue ethics, virtue education), and Wayne Riggs (virtue epistemology and social epistemology). Sherri Irvin, specializing in aesthetics, also focuses on philosophy of race, and Zev Trachtenberg works on issues attached to contemporary environmental issues. The department enjoys close connections with other aspects of campus life that foster diversity and active inquiry. Many faculty are cross-appointed in Women’s and Gender Studies. The department also has strong links to OU’s Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing, a scholarly institute housed at OU and directed by Nancy Snow that promotes research into virtue, regularly offering post-docs and hosting visiting scholars. 

Finally, the department is home to a new web resource for diversity in philosophy:  The Deviant Philosopher ( The Deviant Philosopher is an ambitious online database that assembles teaching and research tools designed to assist those seeking to practice more inclusive teaching. The database features philosophy resources from traditionally underrepresented areas, including the major Asian philosophical traditions, as well as contemporary work in feminism and philosophy of race. We welcome the readers of Journal of World Philosophies to contact us with submissions and suggestions!


—Amy Olberding, University of Oklahoma, USA