Professor Paul B. Thompson was the inaugural occupant of the W.K. Kellogg Chair in Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics at Michigan State University, which he held from 2003 to 2022. Thompson now serves as emeritus faculty in the departments of Philosophy, Community Sustainability and Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics. He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and has held posts at Texas A&M University and Purdue University. Thompson’s research and teaching has focused on ethical and philosophical topics in food and agriculture. He is the author or co-author of over two hundred articles in refereed journals or scholarly books. His book From Field to Fork: Food Ethics for Everyone was published by Oxford University Press in 2015. It won the “Book of the Year” award for 2015 from the North American Society for Social Philosophy. His book The Spirit of the Soil: Agriculture and Environmental Ethics was released in a revised and updated second edition in 2017.
Thompson has served on advisory boards at the U.S. National Research Council, the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, Genome Canada and for numerous academic journals, including Environmental Ethics and Agriculture and Human Values. His honors include fellowships from the Council on Foreign Relations, the Hastings Center and Yale University,
Professor Thompson is not currently accepting new graduate students, but he is available for readings courses.
Awards and Honors
European Society for Agriculture and Food Ethics
Awarded to one individual each for distinguished career contributions to the field of agriculture and food ethics. Thompson was the first non-European to win the award.
Andrew Light Award for Public Philosophy
International Society for Environmental Ethics
Awarded to an individual for career achievement in public environmental philosophy.
William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Award
Michigan State University
Book of the Year
North American Society for Social Philosophy
Awarded for From Field to Fork: Food Ethics for Everyone, Oxford University Press
The Don Ihde Prize
Department of Philosophy, Stony Brook University
Distinguished Alumni Award for Career Achievement
Richard P. Haynes Award for Distinguished Career Achievement in Research
Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society
Award for Professional Excellence in Communication
Agricultural and Applied Economics Association
Awarded for Sacred Cows and Hot Potatoes, Boulder, CO: Westview Press.