Research Categories


Main Research Areas at NTU:

  • Chinese Philosophy
  • Ethics (Moral Philosophy)
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Social Philosophy and Political Philosophy


The word "philosophy" comes from the Greek φιλοσοφία (philosophia), which literally means "love of wisdom." As a discipline, philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, mind, reason, knowledge, truth, beauty, values, and the meaning of life. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of inquiry by its critical, generally systematic, approach and its reliance on rational argument. While other fields study particular kinds of things, philosophy asks how it all fits together and aims at developing a systematic worldview.

Chinese Philosophy studies philosophical traditions with Chinese roots, such as Confucianism, Daoism, Mohism, and Buddhism. These philosophies are concerned with fundamental issues related to human existence, such as virtue, freedom, reason, knowledge, love, harmony, and the good life. Investigations of these subjects are for both their historical and modern significance. In contemporary times, research in Chinese philosophy is often conducted in a comparative perspective with Western philosophy (“comparative philosophy”).

Ethics (Moral Philosophy) is the philosophical study of morality. Central questions in ethics include the following: What is morality? What considerations make an action morally right or wrong? What is a good life? Research in ethics spans three subfields: meta-ethics (the study of the meaning and justification of moral beliefs), moral psychology (the study of the psychological causes underlying moral thought and action), and normative ethics (the study of morally appropriate decision-making).

Philosophy of Science is concerned with the nature of scientific investigation and knowledge. It examines the foundations, assumptions, and methods of scientific practice as well as the consequences that scientific investigation has, or ought to have, for our beliefs about the world and our way of organizing society. Some of its areas of study include scientific explanation, scientific inference, confirmation of scientific theories, scientific realism and anti-realism, the distinction between science and non-science, the nature of observation, scientific reduction, causation, scientific laws, philosophy of physics, philosophy of biology, philosophy of cognitive science, philosophy of the social sciences, and science ethics.

Social Philosophy and Political Philosophy are closely related areas of philosophical inquiry. Social philosophy studies issues related to social justice. It asks question such as, What are the characteristics of a just society? What is social fairness? Is gender equality essential to a good society? Political philosophy focuses mainly on issues related to the role and legitimacy of government. Its topics include liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of legal code by authority.

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