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Department of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy


We offer traditional areas of philosophy along with research and teaching in the more directly practical areas of bioethics, environmental philosophy and ethics, and social and political thought.

Faculty are producing important scholarship in traditional philosophical sub-disciplines. At the same time, we have established areas of concentration focusing on more immediate and practical concerns. In conjunction with scholars in MSU's medical schools and environmental and agricultural science programs, the department has achieved national distinction in ethical and theoretical debates about issues pertaining to health care, food and the environment. These efforts overlap with research and teaching on race and gender issues, democratic theory, ethics and development, and critical social theory. With our commitment to this combination of problems, we are a distinctive program with a purposeful and diverse graduate student body.

The graduate program supports interdisciplinary work in such programs as Environmental Science and Policy; Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change; African American and African Studies; Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior; Cognitive Science; and Women, Gender, and Social Justice. The global dimension of the department is illustrated by its Ethics and Development graduate specialization. The faculty has been ranked among the most productive in the nation and our graduate students hail from around the world.



The Art of Gerhard Richter:

Hermeneutics, Images, Meaning

Christian Lotz, October, 2015, Bloomsbury Press.



 From Field to Fork:

Food Ethics for Everyone

Paul B. Thompson, June, 2015, Oxford University Press



Worldly Virtue:

Moral Ideals and Contemporary Life

Judith Andre, March, 2015, Lexington Books



Naturalism and Realism in Kant's Ethics 

Frederick Rauscher, November, 2015, Cambridge University Press



Christian Lotz zu Karl Marx:

Das Maschinenfragment

Christian Lotz, December, 2014, Laika Verlag



The Capitalist Schema:

Time, Money, and the Culture of Abstraction.

Christian Lotz, September, 2014, Lexington Books


Holding and Letting Go:
The Social Practice of Personal Identities

Hilde Lindemann, January, 2014, Oxford University Press



Emily Katz, "An Absurd Accumulation: Metaphysics M.2 1076b11-36," in the summer 2014 issue of Phronesis.



News and Events

Congratulations to Paul Howatt for Winning the Benjamin-Miller Prize

The Martin Benjamin and Bruce L. Miller Award is awarded to the most promising student at an early stage in philosophy. 

Congratulations to Joshua Schroeder for Winning the Zerby Prize

The Lewis K. Zerby Prize is awarded for the best philosophy essay written by an undergraduate student at MSU. The winner receives $250. 

Bethany Laursen on Combining Interdisciplinary Studies and Community Sustainability

Bethany Laursen.jpeg

Congratulations to Youjin Kong for Winning the Joseph J. Blau Prize from the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy (SAAP)

The Joseph L. Blau Prize is awarded annually to the author of the paper that makes the most significant contribution to the history of American Philosophy from colonial times to the recent present. The prize is given for Kong's paper "Feminism and Historicist Universalism: A Critical Analysis of Richard Rorty's Anti-Universalism."


Dr. Gretel Van Wieren Explores Using Religion and Ethics to Restore ‘This Old Earth’


Kyle Powys Whyte Named the Inaugural Timnick Chair in the Humanities at Michigan State University.  



Congratulations to Sean Valles for Receiving the 2016 Teacher-Scholar Award!


The 2016 Teacher-Scholar Award is given to to faculty who early in their careers have earned the respect of students and colleagues for their devotion to and skill in teaching, and whose instruction is linked to and informed by their research and creative activities. Supported by the Office of University Development.  


Sophia Pavlos Named a 2016 HWW Pre-Doctoral Workshop Fellow


MSU College of Arts and Letters (CAL) graduate students Jennifer Gohlke, German Studies, and Sophia Pavlos, Philosophy, have been named Humanities Without Walls (HWW) 2016 Pre-Doctoral Workshop Fellows, and will join a cohort of 30 graduate students from varied disciplines. The HWW consortium links the humanities centers at 15 research universities, including Michigan State University, throughout the Midwest and beyond.

Improving Collaboration Between Native Americans and Climate Scientists 


Hoping to improve Native American tribes’ access to climate science tools, a Michigan State University researcher will use a four-year $450,000 National Science Foundation grant to foster better relations between tribes and scientific organizations when dealing with climate change. Read more here