The roots of the Department of Philosophy at Bilkent University can be found in the two ‘great books’ courses that emerged in the Departments of Political Science and International Relations in 1999. Many of the people who taught the great books course during those early years went on to join the department when it first started in 2003. The Department of Philosophy still offers these courses, which provide an introduction to key problems in social and political philosophy by way of a close study of classical texts in the history of social and political thought, to students in Political Science, International Relations, Economics, and Law.

The university was fortunate to welcome a number of renowned philosophers – Berent Enç, Donald Davidson, İlham Dilman, Ruth Barcan Marcus, Brian McGuinness, and Bernard Williams – during those early years. Their advice played an important role in determining the shape and approach of the philosophy department at Bilkent. Since that time we have we have continued to welcome leading philosophers from around the world as visiting speakers, including Timothy Williamson, Christopher Gauker, G.A. Cohen, Jo Wolff, Sarah Broadie, Keith Lehrer, Julia Driver, Tim Crane, Kimberlee Brownlee, Frederick Schauer, Paul Guyer, Barry Loewer, Katalin Balog, Alan Hájek, Amie Thomasson, Jessica Wilson, and David Chalmers.

The research profile of the department has continued to grow since it first began in 2003. Past and present members of the department have published in leading philosophy journals, including Ethics, Mind, Noûs, Philosophical Quarterly, and Philosophical Studies. In keeping with the interdisciplinary character of the department, members of the department have also published research articles in journals such as Behavioral and Brain Sciences, World Politics, The BMJ, and The Lancet. Members of the department have also published a number of books with international publishers, including Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, and Routledge.

The department’s philosophical orientation is analytical, broadly understood. Members of the department work and publish in all major areas of contemporary analytical philosophy as well as in the history of philosophy.

2016 marked the 10th anniversary since our first group of students graduated from the department. During that time eleven of our students have entered into graduate programs at places such as Oxford University, Syracuse University, London Film School, Indiana University, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of California at Irvine, Washington University in St Louis, University of Kansas, Simon Fraser University, University of Calgary, University of Western Ontario, Columbia University, Brown University, and Cambridge University.

Our students are active participants in the life of the department – helping to organize conferences, the annual PhilFest, the philosophical lexicon, and our undergraduate journal.

The Department of Philosophy at Bilkent has now expanding to the graduate level. In Fall of 2016 the department accepted its first group of students into the two-year master’s program in philosophy. In Spring of 2020 it accepted its first students into the newly formed doctoral program. The graduate program aims to produce young scholars of distinction and promote the international reputation of philosophy in Turkey.