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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

Worldly Virtue:
Moral Ideals and Contemporary Life
Judith Andre, March 2015, Lexington Books

cover of book 

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.



Upcoming Events


Description for Assistant Professor/ Global Ethics and Feminist Philosophy position.

Description for Assistant Professor/Philosophy of Science position.

Kyle Powys Whyte received the 2015 Bunyan Bryant award from Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice.  Congratulations!

Marcus Wendel won the AAUP Centennial Committee's national undergraduate essay contest ($1K) with his "Concerning the Necessary:  Academic Freedom".

Willy Penn won the 2015 Zerby Prize for the best philosophy essay with his “The Functional PII".  Willy now joins the graduate program in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburg.

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.