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Philosopher Raffaella De Rosa

Dr. Raffaella De Rosa is a philosopher who investigates the workings of the human mind at the intersection of philosophy, its history, and the cognitive sciences.

Philosophers seek to understand fundamental truths about themselves, human nature, the world they live in and their relationship to the world and each other. But philosophy’s method of inquiry differs from science -- it relies mainly on thought as opposed to observation and experiments. It consists in a critical inquiry of life’s most basic questions, such as: What is real?  What is the source and nature of our moral obligations?

All too often, philosophy is misunderstood as a discipline with little applicability to everyday life, real world issues and real science.  But nothing could be further from the truth, explains De Rosa. Philosophy not only investigates questions that arise from science, the arts, religion, and politics but also contributes to them, by developing the powers of analysis, expression, and imagination and sharpening the analytic and quantitative skills of future scientists, artists, writers, lawyers, politicians and professionals in general.  For example, philosophical debates about defining morality have ethical implications for public policy-making, medicine, business, and more.  

De Rosa describes her research as the “intersection between early modern and contemporary theories of mind,” since it spans from early modern theories of cognition, mental representation and concept acquisition to contemporary theories of mind and concepts. De Rosa is the author of several articles on Locke’s and Descartes’ theories of mind and ideas in philosophy journals such as Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, The Philosophical Quarterly, The British Journal for the History of Philosophy, Synthese, and the Pacific Philosophical Quarterly. She is also the author of a 2010 book on Descartes’ account of sensory representation, Descartes and the Puzzle of Sensory Representation (Oxford University Press).  

De Rosa is currently working on the psychological question of the origin of knowledge. Her two new articles, “Locke’s critique of nativism” (forthcoming in The Blackwell Companion to Locke) and “Descartes on innateness: the curious case of sensations” (to be presented at the March 2013 meeting of the American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division, ) provide the groundwork for this new project.

De Rosa received her PhD from Rutgers University in 2002 after earning a degree in philosophy from the University of Pisa in Italy and completing a year of postgraduate work at Oxford University in England.

She has previously taught at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC; Princeton University; and St. Petersburg State University, New York Institute, Russia (summer 2009).  She came to Rutgers University, Newark, in 2004.

Her research languages include Italian, French, Latin and Ancient Greek.

De Rosa is associate professor and chair, Department of Philosophy, Rutgers University, Newark; graduate faculty, Department of Philosophy, Rutgers University, New Brunswick. 

For more information: http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~gabri/index.html