Dr Stephen Puryear

Picture of Dr Stephen Puryear

Associate Professor

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


I am an 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.

Teaching and Research Interests

AOS: History of Modern Philosophy, Metaphysics, Ethics

My research interests include the German philosophical tradition, especially Leibniz, Kant, and Schopenhauer, as well as historical and contemporary work in metaphysics, ethics, and political philosophy. Most of my published work concerns the philosophy of Leibniz, but I have also written about Berkeley's idealism, Schopenhauer's moral philosophy, Frege's philosophy of language, 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. Along with logic, they form the backbone of the philosophy curriculum.

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 print this form, 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 in Schopenhauer's philosophy, especially his ethics; moral and political philosophy (obligation, consent, rights, normative theories, animal ethics, etc.); and such metaphysical topics as 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

  • "Schopenhauer on the Rights of Animals," European Journal of Philosophy 25/2 (2017), 250-69.
  • "Finitism, Divisibility, and the Beginning of the Universe: Replies to Loke and Dumsday," Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94/4 (2016), 808-13.
  • "Finitism and the Beginning of the Universe," Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92/4 (2014), 619-29.
  • "Frege on Vagueness and Ordinary Language," Philosophical Quarterly 63 (2013), 120-40.
  • "Leibniz on the Metaphysics of Color," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86/2 (2013), 319-46.
  • "Motion in Leibniz's Middle Years: A Compatibilist Approach," Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy 6 (2012), 135-70.
  • "Monadic Interaction," British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 18/5 (2010), 763-96.


  • 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