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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


Sunday 21 September, Ancient Philosophy Circle, Jeremy Kirby, Albion College, 1:30-3:30, "tba"

Sunday 19 October, Ancient Philosophy Circle, David Crane, Grand Valley State University, 1:30-3:30, "tba"

9-10 January 2015, Spinoza-Leibniz Workshop. 




Should We Teach Plato in Gym Class? The New York Times, August 17, 2014

Don't Dismiss these 3 PhilosophersThe New York Times, August 14, 2014

Timmy Matsamakis won the 2014 Zerby Prize for the best undergraduate essay in philosophy with his "Art as Philosophy in Plato's Symposium."

Olivia Jamrog won the 2014 Martin Benjamin-Bruce L. Miller Award to the most promising student at an early stage in the philosophy major.   

Jenny Carmichael presented "Spinoza and Anomalous Monism," written with a CAL Undergraduate Research Initiative grant, at the Texas A&M Early Modern Philosophy Initiative--a three-day, all-expenses-paid conference for prospective PhD students. 

More News.......

Faculty in the Spotlight

Little Traverse Bay Bands Education Department presents: Indigenous Scholars Lecture Series, Kyle Powys Whyte, " Native Perspectives on the Ethics of Environmental Stewardship Partnerships in the Great Lakes Region," Friday, May 16, 12:00-1:00pm, Harbor Springs, MI.

Kyle Powys Whyte is the featured faculty in the latest peace and justice studies newsletter. Read more.