Dr Stephen Puryear

Associate Professor

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


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.

At NC State I serve as the faculty advisor for two student clubs: The Philosophy Club at NC State and Student Voices for Animals. (To join: click the link, sign in, and then click 'Join'.)

I'm also currently the president of the North Carolina Philosophical Society (2019-2021). Previously, I served as secretary-treasurer of both the NCPS (2017-2019) and the Leibniz Society of North America (2012-2016).

Teaching and Research Interests

AOS: History of Modern Philosophy, Metaphysics, Ethics

I work primarily in the areas of metaphysics, ethics, and political philosophy, often through engagement with the German philosophical tradition (especially Leibniz, Kant, and Schopenhauer). Most of my published work to date concerns the philosophy of Leibniz, but I have also written about Berkeley's idealism, Schopenhauer's moral philosophy, Frege's philosophy of language, the nature of political authority, 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.

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 pick up the PHI 49x form from the department office (340 Withers Hall), 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:

  • Schopenhauer's philosophy, especially his ethics
  • Moral and political philosophy: the nature of obligation, consent, and rights; normative theories; and animal ethics
  • Metaphysics: 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


  • 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