Paul B. Thompson
(517) 432-8345


W.K. Kellogg Chair in Ethics

Agricultural Ethics; Environmental Philosophy; Philosophy of Technology; Continental Philosophy

Curriculum Vitae


Professor Paul B. Thompson holds the W.K. Kellogg Chair in Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics at Michigan State University, where he serves on the 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, and he is a two-time winner of the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association’s Award for Professional Excellence in Communication. He was a founding member and second President of the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society, which honored him with its award for Distinguished Career Contribution in Research in 2013. In 2017, Thompson was the recipient of the William J. Beal Award for Outstanding Faculty from Michigan State University, and the Don Ihde Prize for distinguished achievement by a philosophy Ph.D. graduate of the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Professor Thompson is not currently accepting new graduate students. 

University News

2017 Faculty Awards
Published February 7, 2017 in College of Arts & Letters
photo of the beaumont tower with winter scenery and snow
Michigan State University faculty members will be honored for their outstanding contributions to education and research at the annual MSU Awards Convocation on Feb. 7. Five College of Arts…Read now »
Student’s Studies Combine Philosophy & Sustainability
Published June 18, 2016 in College of Arts & Letters
portrait of a woman with brown hair and green eyes
After practicing as an interdisciplinary environmental scholar and teacher for 10 years, Bethany Laursen switched fields to study theories of interdisciplinarity itself, which led her to…Read now »
MSU Receives $160,000 in HWW Global Midwest Grants
Published February 10, 2016 in College of Arts & Letters
buildfing surrounded ith trees with yellow and green leaves
Three project teams that include MSU College of Arts & Letters faculty and students were among the 10 teams receiving funding in the 2016 Humanities Without Walls (HWW) Global Midwest Grants. In…Read now »