Karen Detlefsen

Professor of Philosophy and Education


My research focuses on 17th and 18th century philosophy. I am particularly interested in the relationship between the life sciences and philosophy in these centuries, as well as in the philosophy produced by women during this period. I have received a grant from the National Science Foundation to pursue the former research project, and grants from the American Council of Learned Societies (with Professor Andrew Janiak of Duke University), The Australian Research Council (with Professor Jacqueline Broad of Monash University), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada (with Professors Lisa Shapiro of Simon Fraser University and Marguerite Delauriers of McGill University) to pursue research and network building for the latter research project. I have published work on Mary Astell, Margaret Cavendish, Anne Conway, René Descartes, Emilie Du Châtelet, Albrecht von Haller, Thomas Hobbes, Nicolas Malebranche, and Christian Wolff. I am currently thinking about methods and genres used over the course of the history of philosophy, and how our conception of philosophy has changed over the course of the past few centuries.


I also have interests in community engagement, bringing philosophy into high school and middle school classrooms in the Philadelphia Public School District. My goal over the course of the next few years is to develop philosophy curricula for children from kindergarten to grade 12.


Office Location: 
Cohen Hall 466
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