American University of Beirut

Department of Philosophy

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Department of Philosophy at the American University of Beirut has a long tradition of introducing students to the study of philosophy by way of a wide range of topics and issues, as well as a considerable variety of authors and texts.

Courses offered cover all main areas of philosophy, from ethics to logic, and from aesthetics to epistemology. Texts and authors include the main Western and Middle Eastern traditions, from the pre-Socratics to Ibn Rushd, and from Descartes to Rawls.​​​


The Department of Philosophy deeply mourns​ renowned philosopher ​Daniel C​. Dennett
(April 19, 2024)


Daniel C​. Dennett at the Moral Psychology Conference Organized by 
the Department of Philosophy at AUB, May 2018

The Department of Philosophy deeply mourns the loss of Daniel C. Dennett, a philosopher, cognitive scientist and public intellectual. As the coverage from various international media outlets attests, Dennett’s influence on philosophy as well as other intellectual terrains is massive. He made profound contributions to a variety of different philosophical topics such as consciousness, free will, and evolutionary theory. His writings were aimed at a wide audience in addition to academics in various disciplines.

We leave the description of his relationship to AUB (from which he received a honorary doctorate in 2018), its students and our department to his own words. This is an excerpt from his most recent book that came out in October 2023, an autobiography entitled I’ve Been Thinking.

​“Years passe​d, Mother died, Charlotte had an adventurous career as a journalist in Beirut, and I paid a brief visit there to give a talk at AUB, during a trip to Istanbul. Would I like to spend a semester at AUB? Absolutely. All my life, I had wanted to teach there, where my father had taught and met my mother, and where I had gone to nursery school in the ’40s. (I amused my parents’ friends when they visited us and asked if I, aged four or five, went to school. “Oh yes,” I always replied. “I go to AUB.”) So in 2011 Susan and I returned to Beirut for a spring semester, and part of my preparation was to remind myself that it couldn’t be as grand an adventure as my parents’ years in the ’30s and ’40s, or even our own adventures in the ’60s. But it would still be fun. In fact the young faculty in the philosophy department and a few from other departments, mostly single and without children, adopted us immediately and took us on many adventures…​

The students at AUB were intrepid and intellectually curious, and it was a joy to see young men and women from all over the Arabic-speaking world (a few women heavily veiled but others in miniskirts) learning together, living together, preparing to take their places in critical roles in their home countries as generations have done since the founding of AUB in 1866 by an American educator and missionary, Daniel Bliss. It’s a beautiful campus overlooking the Mediterranean, and even in the most terrible times during the civil war of the 1980s, when one president of the university was kidnapped and another was murdered, it has kept going, and it continues to do so, with Lebanon in desperate financial shape following the large explosion and the continuing wars in the region, with refugee camps to maintain, and intermittent failures of the national infrastructure.

I went back to AUB for a philosophy conference in 2018 and returned in June of 2022 to accept an honorary doctorate and give the keynote speech. Lebanon, Beirut, and AUB are all bravely recovering from their recent catastrophes as they have always done in the past. Watching the hundreds of young doctors and engineers and economists—and yes, even philosophers—march proudly by me with their hard-won diplomas gives me hope for the future.”



Why Study Philosophy?​​​​


We are delighted to welcome two new faculty members joining our department in the Fall 2023-24​​

Dr Mousa Mohammadian 

Dr Mousa Mohammadian specializes in philosophy of science and its history, metaphysics, and Islamic philosophy, especially Ibn Sina. He received his Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science (Philosophy of Science Track) from the University of Notre Dame in 2018.  Read more

Dr Caner Turan 

Dr. Caner Turan earned his PhD from Tulane University in 2022 and his MA from King's College London. He specializes in metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics. Recently, he has been working on biomedical ethics. ​ Read more

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