Chair's Welcome

Welcome to the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Northeastern University. Our department is filled with faculty and students who love to think, read and talk about “the big questions,” as well as about current events and contemporary issues involving ethics, religion, and political philosophy. We have an active research faculty and an award winning group of students whose plans range from heading off to graduate or law school to careers in public service, non-profit organizations, and business. Many of our students take advantage of our combined majors with other disciplines, such as computer science, international affairs, environmental studies, physics, history, english, economics, and media and screen studies.

The Department is home to  The Ethics Institute, which does research in applied ethics, religious ethics, descriptive ethics, and normative theory. Our Philosophy Club is an active group of undergraduates who gather weekly for dinner and discussions. Our Ethics Bowl team studies pressing social and ethical issues and competes in competitions around the region. We are fortunate to have a vibrant intellectual community that is committed to bringing philosophical and religious studies research and methods to bear on contemporary events and issues.

On this website you will find information about our majors and minors, about experiential liberal arts opportunities, and about our student and faculty community. You can also “Like” us on Facebook, where you can see upcoming events, recent photos of different activities, and see exciting opportunities for students.

If you have any questions about our programs or department, please feel free to contact me at or call us at 617.373.3636.

Ron Sandler
Department Chair

Department News

Prof. Williams discusses civil rights in the age of AI with President Aoun

Accountability and responsibility in the digital age were the central themes of a conversation in celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Thursday at Northeastern. In the discussion, hosted by Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern,  Patricia J. Williams, University Distinguished Professor of law and humanities, said the digital…
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The G7 wants to regulate artificial intelligence. Should the US get on board?

With the introduction of new export controls on artificial intelligence software last week, the White House appealed to lawmakers, businesses, and European allies to avoid overregulation of artificial intelligence. It also maintained its refusal to participate in a project proposed by the Group of Seven leading economies, which seeks to establish shared principles and regulations…
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Prof. Illingworth posts an article in Bill of Health

Targeting Health: How Anti-Immigrant Policies Threaten Our Health & Our Humanity By: Patricia Illingworth and Wendy E. Parmet On May 19th of last year, Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez died of the flu while being held in a cell by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in south Texas. He was just 16, a migrant from Guatemala. Hours before his…
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Call for Applications- PIKSI Logic 2020

PIKSI-Logic 2018 was a huge success, and we a thrilled to be running another installment this summer. Undergraduates from underrepresented groups are invited to study logic — five topics over five days, with ten top international instructors —  at Northeastern University for one week in the summer of 2020. ‌There is a competitive application process…
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Listen to Prof. Basl’s recent podcast on Ethics in the Age of Information and AI

Ethics in the Age of Information and AI with John Basl John Basl, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Northeastern University, tells us why we need to think of ethics as currency in all areas including business, technology, and machine learning. Guest Biography John received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2011….
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Prof. Illingworth publishes an article in “The Conversation”

“An ethicist explains why philanthropy is no license to do bad stuff” I teach a course on ethics and philanthropy and have written about how to donate to charities ethically. Recent news about people who make big charitable gifts acting badly is making me wonder whether philanthropy really does make the world better. Think about…
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Upcoming Events

03/13/2020 - 03/14/2020

2020 Global Structural Injustice and Minority Rights Conference

The concept of structural injustice is one that has been given a lot of attention by political philosophers in recent years. Iris Young defined structural injustice as a kind of moral wrong that is distinct from unjust, biased or malicious actions by individual actors or policies of states…
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03/19/2020 - 03/20/2020

Framing SNAP: Perspectives on the Nation’s Largest, Least-loved, and Most Enduring Food Assistance Program

Call for Abstracts! The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, is a means-tested entitlement authorized under the Food Stamp Act of 1964. However, the current system’s outlines go back to a 1939 USDA pilot program designed to use of surplus commodities. Today, SNAP is the nation’s largest food assistance…
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PPE Guest Speaker, Deva Woodly

More information to come.

04/03/2020 - 04/05/2020

Information Ethics Roundtable 2020 “Scientific Misinformation in the Digital Era”

The Information Ethics Roundtable is a yearly conference that brings together researchers from a variety of disciplines, including but not limited to, philosophy, computer and information science, ..
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04/03/2020 - 04/05/2020

National Bioethics Bowl 2020

The National Bioethics Bowl is an annual tournament which brings teams from colleges and universities around the country to discuss ethical challenges in biomedicine and technology…
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Student Reflections

William and Mary Conference

Isaac Shur
April 6-7, 2019

On the tail-end of my co-op in the department of philosophy and religion, I got to travel to the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia to present a (mostly) finalized version of my paper, ...

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