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. Christine Ladd-Franklin, one of the first women to do graduate study in mathematics and logic in the US, studied with Peirce and wrote a thesis “On the Algebra of Logic,” for which she was belatedly awarded her PhD in 1926.

In 2018, investor William H. “Bill” Miller III committed $75 million to the Johns Hopkins University Department of Philosophy to broaden and intensify faculty research, graduate student support, and undergraduate study of philosophical thought. Miller attributes much of his business success to the analytical training he received as a Hopkins philosophy graduate student. The university recognized Miller’s generosity by renaming the department in his honor.

The last five years has been a period of rapid growth in the size of the faculty. The primary areas of focus in the department are philosophy of mind and language, the history of philosophy (in particular, the history of modern philosophy), philosophy of science, metaphysics, and epistemology. Ethics and political philosophy are also studied. For more information on faculty research areas, see Faculty Research Areas.