Philosophy has been taught at the University of Pennsylvania since 1755, when the bachelor of arts degree was first offered. The first teacher of philosophy was William Smith, Provost of the newly founded Academy of Philadelphia. At that time, logic, metaphysics, moral philosophy, and natural philosophy formed the core of the College curriculum.
Today the department has 12 standing faculty, 12 associated faculty from other departments, as well as many other visitors, postdoctoral researchers, and instructors. The department has particular research strengths in moral and political philosophy, philosophy of the life and social sciences, formal philosophical methods, and the history of philosophy. Our students come from around the world and have gone on to careers in law, medicine, natural and formal sciences, consulting, and, of course, philosophy.