Wesleyan portrait of Joseph T. Rouse

Joseph T. Rouse

Hedding Professor of Moral Science

Russell House, 202

Professor of Science and Technology Studies


Professor of Philosophy

Russell House, 202

Professor, Environmental Studies



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BA Oberlin College
MA Northwestern University
MAA Wesleyan University
PHD Northwestern University

Joseph T. Rouse

Rouse's primary research interests are in the philosophy of science, the history of 20th C. philosophy, interdisciplinary science studies, and the social theory of practices. Within these areas his primary foci include the philosophy of scientific practice; naturalism and anti-naturalism in 20th Century philosophy; the metaphysics of normativity; connections between “analytic” and “continental” philosophy; the relation of philosophy of science to philosophy of mind and language, and to metaphysics; cultural studies of science and feminist science studies. His most recent book, Social Practices as Biological Niche Construction, shows how and why to integrate our biological conception of human beings as animals and our sociocultural and psychological conceptions of human beings as persons and acculturated agents. His previous book, Articulating the World: Conceptual Understanding and the Scientific Image (Chicago 2015) shows how to situate human capacities for scientific understanding within a scientific conception of the world. This defense of a thoroughgoing philosophical naturalism re-conceives human conceptual capacities as having arisen through evolutionary niche construction, and reinterprets a scientific conception of the world as embedded in research practices rather than as a body of knowledge extracted from them. His earlier books include How Scientific Practices Matter (Chicago 2002), Engaging Science (Cornell 1996), Knowledge and Power (Cornell 1987), and the editing of philosopher John Haugeland's posthumous book Dasein Disclosed (Harvard 2013).

Rouse has taught in Wesleyan's Philosophy Department and Science in Society Program since 1981, having previously taught at the University of Maine at Orono from 1977-81, after receiving his Ph.D. in philosophy from Northwestern University, and his A.B. from Oberlin College. His two terms  as Chair of the Wesleyan Faculty were in 2001-2002 and 2008-2009. He is currently a nationally competitive epee fencer, and from 1974-2002 competed regularly at the US National Volleyball Championships before retiring from that sport.

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Fall 2023: Tu 3:30-4:30, Fri 10:50-11:500, or by email-scheduled appointment,  in Russell House 202.


Fall 2024
PHIL 383 - 01
Mind, Body, and World

STS 202 - 01
Philosophy of Science