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.

NameResearch Interests
Asst Prof Andres Carlos LucoMy research interests fall mainly into meta-ethics, moral psychology, and social & political philosophy. I am interested in such topics as the rationality of moral action; the psychology of moral motivation; the evolution of morality; social norms; theories of well-being; distributive justice; and human rights.
Asst Prof Andrew T. ForcehimesMetaethics Normative Ethics Political Philosophy
Prof Chan Kam Leung AlanChinese Philosophy and Religion; Hermeneutics and Critical Theory; Comparative Philosophy and Religion
Dr Chiang Hui Ling MichelleModernism Madness in Literature Literature and the Philosophy of Mind Literature and the Philosophy of Time Samuel Beckett Henri Bergson Gao Xingjian
Asst Prof Christopher HolmanMy current research interests are in the history of political thought (particularly early-modern and modern), contemporary political theory, critical theory, democratic theory, political anthropology, and psychoanalysis and politics.
Asst Prof Christopher Peter TriggThe American Puritans The Radical Enlightenment Transcendentalism Political Theology Religion in American Literature
Asst Prof Chuang ChristinaEthics, History of Ethics, Moral Psychology, Indian Philosophy
Assoc Prof Daniel Keith JerniganModern and Contemporary British Literature; Modern and Postmodern Drama; Narrative Theory; Playwriting
Assoc Prof Franklin Thomas Perkins JrClassical Chinese Philosophy, Early Modern European Philosophy, Comparative Philosophy
Assoc Prof Hallam StevensMy research focuses on the intersection between information technology and biotechnology. My first book is an historical and ethnographic account of the changes wrought to biological practice and biological knowledge by the introduction of the computer. Especially in highly computerized fields such as genomics, the computer has changed how biologists work, how biologists collaborate, and how biologists make knowledge. I am currently pursuing two ongoing research projects. The first is an attempt to develop new methods of studying scientific practice by deploying tools from performance studies. In collaboration with a performance studies scholar, I am examining spaces of biomedical work in East Asia in an effort to deepen our understanding of how such spaces fit into the economic, social, and political context of the cities in which they sit. Sites under examination include Biopolis in Singapore and BGI in Shenzhen. The second project examines the emergence of "big data." This apparently new field is quite suddenly having an immense impact on politics, the economy, and many aspects of our social world. What is really new about big data? What kinds of changes may it bring? Who will benefit? Historians of technology, in particular, are well equipped to ask and answer such important questions about this emerging phenomenon. In addition to these projects, I have just completed a general audience book that examines that provides a broad overview of the social, political, and economic effects of biotechnology. The book will be published under the title "Biotechnology & Society" in 2016 (University of Chicago Press). I am interested in supervising PhD students on topics related to the history of the life sciences, the history of information technology, and science and technology studies.