Erik Anderson

Department Chair, Philosophy

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Erik A. Anderson received his BA in philosophy from the University of Puget Sound, and his MA and PhD in philosophy from the University of Connecticut. He joined the Furman philosophy department in 2001 and now serves as the department chair. His teaching and research focus on ethics, sexual ethics, political philosophy, and philosophy of law. He attended the National Institute on Intergroup Dialogue at the University of Michigan and became the Director of Curricular Initiatives for Furman’s Intergroup Dialogue Program in 2018. He organized and co-led (with Stephanie Hesbacher) the first Intergroup Dialogue Facilitator Workshop in 2019. He is responsible for recruiting and training dialogue facilitators and regularly leads dialogues on gender and politics.

I am married to Lisa Colby, who works as the Director of Operations and Initiatives at the United Way of Greenville. We have two sons, Owen (b. 2001) and Luke (b. 2004), and a plucky Cairn Terrier named Ringo (b. 2010).


  • Ph.D., University of Connecticut
  • M.A., University of Connecticut
  • B.A., University of Puget Sound


It is hard to say anything original about one's teaching philosophy. As philosophers, we are all disciples of Socrates and teach in a conversational, non-authoritarian style designed to awaken the student's own capacity to develop reasonable answers to perennially important questions. It is probably not distinctive to me, but I strive to impress upon students that I too am actively engaged in trying to devise answers to the questions I raise, and that we should see ourselves as co-inquirers in a common pursuit.


  • “A Comment on Rahel Jaeggi’s Critique of Forms of Life,” Social Philosophy Today (2021)
  • “Deliberative Sincerity and the Opacity of the Self,” Journal of Social Philosophy, Volume 51, Issue 3 (2020): 422-440.
  • "A Defense of the 'Sterility Objection' to the New Natural Lawyers' Argument Against Same-Sex Marriage," Ethical Theory and Moral Practice (forthcoming 2013);
  • "Religiously Conservative Citizens and the Ideal of Conscientious Engagement: A Comment on Wolterstorff and Eberle," Philosophia (forthcoming 2013);
  • "The Paradox of Public Secularism: A Critical Assessment of Robert Audi's Religious Commitment and Secular Reason," Faith and Philosophy 23 (2), 2006: 137-155;
  • "Public Reason, State Neutrality, and the Recognition of Religious Differences under the Establishment Clause," in Civility and Its Discontents: Essays on Civic Virtue, Toleration, and Cultural Fragmentation, edited by Christine Sistare (University of Kansas Press, 2004);
  • "Group Rights, Autonomy, and the Free Exercise of Religion," in Groups, Rights, and Democracy, edited by Christine Sistare, Larry May, and Leslie Francis (University of Kansas Press, 2001);
  • "State Neutrality, Public Reason, and the Establishment Clause," The American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Philosophy and Law (Fall 2000);