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College of Arts and Letters | Michigan State University

Engaged in the Contemporary World

We offer a distinctive balance of work in the traditional areas of philosophy 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.

Faculty books and other publications

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," forthcoming in the summer 2014 issue of Phronesis.



Upcoming Events

Philosophy Club spring 2015, 7 p.m. Tuesdays in SKH 135. Free and open to all!

2 April, McCracken Distinguished Lecture: Wittgenstein Symposium. Danielle Moyal-Sharrock, University of Hertfordshire, "The Impact of Wittgenstein's Certainty," with responses by Ronald Suter and Martin Benjamin, 7 p.m. Lake Superior Room, MSU Union

10-11 April, 5th Annual Undergraduate Conference with keynote Ian Gold, Canada Research Chair in Philosophy & Psychiatry, McGill University, "Strange Beliefs," Friday, 3 p.m., SKH 107

17 April, John Grey, MSU, "'That Exceptional Order of Things': Anne Conway's Objection to Cartesian Ontology," 3 p.m., SKH 530 

23 April, Anna Gotlib, Brooklyn College, "Nostalgia as Moral Practice," 3 p.m., 530 SKH

24 April, Richard T. Peterson, MSU, "Islam, Violence, and Politics: A Philosophical Problem, 3 p.m., SKH 530 

27 April, Graduate Student Online Course Showcase (lunch provided), 11 a.m., SKH 530

15-16 May, Third Annual Workshop on Food Justice: Bringing Theory and Practice Together, Flyer



Willy Penn won the 2015 Zerby Prize for the best undergraduate essay in philosophy with his " “The Functional PII."

In recognition of Paul Thompson’s academic excellence, sincerity of commitment, and spirit of collegiality, The Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Science (IHS) at National Taiwan University has designated Paul as a Corresponding Scholar of the Institute for the entire year of 2015.

Zack Piso won the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy's 2015 Douglas Greenlee Award for the best paper by a graduate student or professional within five years of receiving the Ph.D.  His paper, "Integration, Values, and Well-Ordered Disciplinary Science," will be published in the Fall 2015 issue of The Pluralist.

Prratek Ramchandani won the 2015 Martin Benjamin-Bruce L. Miller Award to the most promising student at an early stage in the philosophy major.   

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