The Department of Philosophy retains a distinctive character, giving students a broad but analytically rigorous philosophical education. At Johns Hopkins, the study of philosophy can be pursued in a number of ways on both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition, two undergraduate minors are available in philosophy and bioethics.

The primary areas of focus in the department are metaphysics and epistemology, philosophy of science, and the history of philosophy (in particular, the history of modern philosophy). Ethics and political philosophy are also studied.

When Johns Hopkins University was founded in 1876, it was the first university in the United States designed as a center for research and doctoral education. Among its earliest graduates were well-known philosophers Josiah Royce and John Dewey. Charles Saunders Peirce, American philosopher and scientist known as the “father of pragmatism,” was an early faculty member in the department.