Dr Stephen Puryear

Associate Professor

  • Email: smpuryear@ncsu.edu
  • Address:
    Withers Hall 345, Box 8103
    NCSU Campus
    Raleigh, NC 27695
Picture of Dr Stephen Puryear


I am Associate Professor of Philosophy and affiliate of the Classical Studies program at NC State. Before arriving in Raleigh in 2008, I earned my Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh (2006) and spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University.

At NC State I serve as the faculty advisor for three student clubs: The Philosophy Club at NC StateStudent Voices for Animals, and Democracy Matters!. (To join: click the link, sign in, then click 'Join'.)

I'm also currently the president of the North Carolina Philosophical Society (2019-2021). Previously, I served as secretary-treasurer of both the NCPS (2017-2019) and the Leibniz Society of North America (2012-2016).

I have won two teaching awards during my time at NC State: the Outstanding Lecturer Award from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences in 2012 and the university-level Outstanding Teacher Award in 2020. With the latter I was also inducted into the NC State Academy of Outstanding Teachers.

Teaching and Research Interests

AOS: History of Modern Philosophy, Metaphysics, Ethics

I work primarily in the areas of metaphysics, ethics, and political philosophy, often through engagement with the German philosophical tradition (especially Leibniz, Kant, and Schopenhauer). Most of my published work to date concerns the philosophy of Leibniz, but I have also written about Berkeley's idealism, Schopenhauer's moral philosophy, Frege's philosophy of language, the nature of political authority, and the metaphysics of space and time.

I often teach two of the department's offerings in the history of philosophy: Ancient Philosophy (PHI 300) and Early Modern Philosophy (PHI 301).  These courses cover the two greatest periods in the history of philosophy and provide the background necessary for understanding much of the work being done in philosophy today.

I also supervise a number of projects for our writing course in the history of philosophy (PHI 495). If you are a philosophy major enrolled in PHI 300 or PHI 301 and you would like me to supervise your PHI 495 project, please contact me toward the beginning of the semester. You will need to pick up the PHI 49x form from the department office (340 Withers Hall), fill it out, and bring it to me for my signature.


My main project at present is a book on Leibniz's idealism. Besides that, I continue to work on various topics:

  • Schopenhauer's philosophy, especially his ethics. (I am currently working on two chapters for forthcoming collections on Schopenhauer, one on his rejection of the moral ought, the other on the ways in which his views anticipate and differ from those Anscombe puts forward in her important essay "Modern Moral Philosophy".)
  • Moral and political philosophy: the nature of obligation, consent, and rights; normative theories; and animal ethics.
  • Metaphysics: infinity, continuity, space, time, idealism, conceptualism, and monism.


[For the full list of my published writings, and links to online versions, please see my PhilPapers profile.]

Selected Articles and Chapters


  • Ph.D. in Philosophy from University of Pittsburgh, 2006
  • M.A. in Philosophy from University of Pittsburgh, 2004
  • M.A. in Philosophy from Texas A&M University, 2000
  • B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University, 1994