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Stephen Puryear

Associate Head of Department and Associate Professor of Philosophy


Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies

Withers Hall 340B


I am Associate Professor of Philosophy and affiliate of the Classical Studies program at NC State. Before arriving in Raleigh in 2008, I earned my Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh (2006) and spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University.

At NC State I serve as the faculty advisor for three student clubs: The Philosophy Club at NC StateStudent Voices for Animals, and Democracy Matters!. (To join: click the link, sign in, and then click ‘Join’.)

I’m also currently the president of the North Carolina Philosophical Society (2019-2023). Previously, I served as secretary-treasurer of both the NCPS (2017-2019) and the Leibniz Society of North America (2012-2016).

I have won two teaching awards during my time at NC State: the Outstanding Lecturer Award from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences in 2012 and the university-level Outstanding Teacher Award in 2020. With the latter I was also inducted into the NC State Academy of Outstanding Teachers.

Professional Activities and Research

I work primarily in the areas of metaphysics, ethics, and political philosophy, often through engagement with the German philosophical tradition (especially Leibniz, Kant, and Schopenhauer).

My main project at present is a book on Leibniz’s idealism. Besides that, I continue to work on various topics:

  • Schopenhauer’s philosophy, especially his ethics. (I am currently working on two chapters for forthcoming collections on Schopenhauer, one on his rejection of the moral ought, the other on the ways in which his views anticipate and differ from those Anscombe puts forward in her important essay “Modern Moral Philosophy”.)
  • Moral and political philosophy: the nature of obligation, consent, and rights; normative theories; and animal ethics.
  • Metaphysics: infinity, continuity, space, time, idealism, conceptualism, and monism.

Research Publications

For the full list of my published writings, and links to online versions, please see my PhilPapers profile.

Selected Articles and Chapters


Ph.D. Philosophy University of Pittsburgh 2006

M.A. Philosophy University of Pittsburgh 2004

M.A. Philosophy Texas A&M University 2000

B.S. Mechanical Engineering North Carolina State University 1994

Area(s) of Expertise

History of Modern Philosophy, Metaphysics, Ethics, Political Philosophy