Associate Professor of Philosophy


Ph.D., City University of New York, Graduate Center

Field of Specialty

Philosophy of mind. Philosophy of psychology and cognitive science. History of philosophy.

Contact Information

Rabb Graduate Center 305

Jerry Samet

I have always been interested in how our minds work. I started out, as many philosophers in the 1970's and 1980's did, by studying how language works. This brought me to linguistics and the philosophical issues raised by linguistics (my dissertation topic), and eventually to work in Artificial Intelligence, in which I had a post-doctoral fellowship at Yale. Out of these interests I came to focus on the issue of innateness--the nature/nurture controversy--and a number of my publications explore philosophical issues surrounding this topic. I continue to be interested in innateness and this interest has two aspect: [1] I am working on a book on innateness in the history of philosophy (especially in the work of Plato, Locke, and Leibniz), and [2] I continue to explore developments in the cognitive sciences--especially in developmental psychology. This second aspect is explored a bit in a recent article in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (on-line).

I continue to have my original broad interests in how the mind works, and I teach courses on the philosophy of mind, philosophy of perception, the nature of consciousness, as well as a course that keeps tabs on developments in the empirical science(s) of the mind and strives to understand the philosophical ramifications of such findings.


Samet, Jerry. "The Historical Controversies Surrounding Innateness (updated 2019)." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2019.

Samet, Jerry & Zaitchik, Deborah. "Innateness and Contemporary Theories of Cognition." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (on-line). 2012.

Samet, Jerry/Yaakov Stern. "Cognitive Reserve: Neuroethical Implications." Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics. Ed. Judy Illes and Barbara Sahakian. Oxfor University Press, 2011

Samet, Jerry. "Being Benedict Spinoza." Rev. of Conversation with Spinoza, by Goce Smilevski. JBOOKS Summer 2006

Samet, Jerry. "Let Us Now Praise Clueless Men: Peter and Philosophy." Family Guy and Philosophy. Ed. J. Jeremy Wisnewski. Blackwell Press, 2007

Courses Taught

PHIL 6a Introduction to Symbolic Logic
PHIL 131a Philosophy of Mind
PHIL 137a Nature or Nurture? The Innateness Controversy
PHIL 141b Topics in Philosophy and Cognitive Science
PHIL 231a Graduate Seminar in the Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science