Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies

Meaning, Justice, and Knowledge

The department seeks to initiate students into three distinctive human quests: the search for meaning, the search for justice, and the search for the foundations of knowledge. The process of initiation is intended not only to provide an introduction to outstanding literature in the field but also to assist the student in effecting a personal appropriation of the search and in developing the necessary skills for its pursuit. Active class participation is an essential part of this process.

Our Faculty

Learning happens across all aspects of our campus. Andover's faculty are subject matter experts, mentors, stewards of Knowledge & Goodness, and much more. Kiran Bhardwaj is the current Chair.

Aidan Spencer

Aidan Spencer

Kiran Bhardwja

Kiran Bhardwaj

Instructor and Chair, Philosophy and Religious Studies [email protected] view full profile

Bhardwaj is an instructor in Philosophy and Religious Studies, and a Tang Fellow working on the ethi{CS} project, a collaboration focusing on ethics in computer science work.

Elena Dugan Headshot

Elena Dugan

Instructor of Philosophy and Religious Studies [email protected] view full profile

“The most fascinating part of teaching religion and philosophy is that my students and I get to look directly at topics that humans have long marked as confusing or unknown--the afterlife, human nature, evil, love, justice--and jump right in to conversations that have been going for millenia.”


Religions of the Book | PHR310

This class will introduce students to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and the kaleidoscope of agreements and disagreements within and between these three religions. How does God communicate with humanity? How does one live a holy life (and why bother)? Is there life after death? What happened at the beginning of time? What will happen at the end? Students will explore the ways that Jews, Christians, and Muslims have asked and answered these questions—and many more—from their origins to today. By examining scriptures, memoirs, fiction, documentaries, graphic novels, and music, students will learn about the diversity and richness of these three traditions and their crucial role in the history, present, and future of the world.

headshot of Andrew Housiaux

Andrew Housiaux

Currie Family Director of the Tang Institute and Instructor, Philosophy and Religious Studies [email protected]

Mr. Housiaux is the Currie Family Director of the Tang Institute, an instructor in the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department, and a mindfulness scholar.

Joshua Kissel headshot

Joshua Kissel

Instructor in Philosophy and Religious Studies, Complement House Counselor, Instructional Squash Coach [email protected] view full profile

“I focus on facilitating the development of my students as critical thinkers who can effectively evaluate their own beliefs and values as well as those of their peers with both competence and charity because of my faith that good reasoning leads to moral goodness.”

Ryan Ravanpak

Ryan Ravanpak

Visiting Scholar in Ethics & Technology [email protected] view full profile

Ryan is out visiting Scholar in Ethics & Technology.

Sample Courses

Proof and Persuasion | PHR 360

This course offers a practical introduction to informal logic and to the philosophical study of language. It stresses the development of individual skill in argument and includes a critical examination of the patterns of thought one encounters in everyday life.

Law and Morality | PHR 521

For what reasons should an individual obey or disobey the laws of society? Which kinds of governments are legitimate? To what degree should society restrict the freedom of individuals through laws on matters like abortion, pornography, race, and sexual relations?

Baseball and Philosophy | PHR 541

This course explores topics in philosophy and applied ethics through the lens of America’s Pastime: baseball. Class topics may include parallels between sports fandom and religious belief and belonging; the proud but furtive history of “lying” and stealing signs in baseball; the Negro Leagues, “desegregation” of organized baseball, and diverse Black philosophies of resistance, and more.


students per class


500-level electives open to Uppers and Seniors

Related Student Clubs

Philosophy Club

Faculty Websites