Dr. Peter Fosl

Professor of Philosophy; Program Director of P.P.E.

Dr. Peter Fosl

“Teaching is to some extent creating lovers. The word philosophy means love of wisdom. So there’s a kind of love of learning and inquiry and reflection that I try to ignite in students.”

Peter S. Fosl is a past winner of the Acorn Award as Kentucky’s outstanding professor. As a teacher, he strives to make sure students are involved in the class.

“I’ve found that teaching is not just about conveying a body of information, but it’s cultivating certain passions and sentiments in the students, so that students find the material interesting, important, and something they can invest their own passions in,” he says. “One thing that is delightful and very satisfying to me is to see that passion for learning take root in students.”

Fosl’s two-year Bingham-Young Professorship on Liberty, Security, and Justice brought prominent guest speakers who focused the Transylvania community on heightened issues of liberty, security, and justice in the era following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

“I’ve devoted a great deal of my professional energy to coming to terms with the history of western philosophy,” Fosl says. “I think understanding where we’ve been, how we got where we are, and perhaps what we’ve mistakenly left behind is essential to a strong education and a life of reflection.”


Ph.D., Emory University, 1992
M.A., Emory University, 1990
B.A., Bucknell University, 1985
Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy
Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy
History of Early Modern Philosophy
The Ancient Polis
Environmental Ethics
Editor, The Big Lebowski and Philosophy: Keeping Your Mind Limber with Abiding Wisdom (Wiley, 2012)
Co-author with Julian Baggini, The Philosopher’s Toolkit, second edition (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010)
Co-editor with David E. Cooper, Philosophy: The Classic Readings (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009)
Co-author with Julian Baggini, The Ethics Toolkit (Wiley-Blackwell, 2007)
Co-editor of two volumes of The Dictionary of Literary Biography, including British Philosophers: 1500-1799 (Gale, 2002) and British Philosophers: 1800-2000 (Gale, 2002)
Contributing editor to The Philosophers’ Magazine, 2002–08
History of philosophy
Early modern philosophy
David Hume
Philosophy of religion
David Hume Fellowship, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, 2013–14
Acorn Award, Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education and the Governor’s Conference on Postsecondary Education Trusteeship for outstanding professor at a Kentucky public or independent college or university, 2006
Professor of the Year, Transylvania University, 2005
Monroe Moosnick Award for Service to Transylvania University, 2004
Bingham-Young Professorship for program on Liberty, Security, and Justice, Transylvania University, 2004–06
Bingham Award for Teaching Excellence, Transylvania University, 1998