Peter Fosl

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

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.

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.

“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.”

Academic History

Ph.D., Emory University, 1992
M.A., Emory University, 1990
B.A., Bucknell University, 1985

Courses Taught at Transy

History of Early Modern Philosophy
Environmental Philosophy
Practical Logic
Just War Theory

Areas of Specialization

David Hume
Early modern philosophy


John William Miller Fellow, Williams College, 2017-18
Pushcart Creative Non-Fiction Prize finalist XXXVIII, 2014
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

Recent Publications

Hume’s Scepticism, Pyrrhonian and Academic (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2020)

The Philosopher’s Toolkit, third edition (Malden, Massachusetts: Wiley-Blackwell Ltd., 2020)

David Hume on God (Edinburgh: Luath Press, 2019)

The Critical Thinking Toolkit (Malden, Massachusetts:Wiley-Blackwell, 2017)

Commonplace Commitments: Thinking through the Legacy of Joseph P. Fell (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2016)

“American Despair in an Age of Hope” in Salmagundi 176 (2012)

Editor, The Big Lebowski and Philosophy: Keeping Your Mind Limber with Abiding Wisdom (Wiley, 2012)

Professional Memberships

American Philosophical Association
Hume Society
American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

More Information

Editor-in-Chief of Cogent Arts & Humanities academic journal