Several of the project investigators at the 2016 Public Philosophy Journal Writing Workshop

Gretel Van Wieren ( is an associate professor in Religious Studies and Philosophy at Michigan State University. Van Wieren’s courses and research focus on religion, ethics, and the environment.  She is author of the book, Restored to Earth: Christianity, Environmental Ethics, and Ecological Restoration (Georgetown University Press, 2013). Her current book projects include a) a monograph on religious responses to key issues in food ethics, b) an edited anthology (with Daniel Spencer and Eric Higgs) on the ethics of ecological restoration, and c) a collection of narrative essays on children’s experience of nature through hunting and fishing. Van Wieren is 2015 recipient of the spring Writers-in-Residency program at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest of Oregon State University. She grew up on west Michigan’s lakeshore.

Zachary Piso ( is the New Ethics of Food project coordinator and a recent doctoral graduate of MSU’s Philosophy Department. His current research investigates the use of social science in environmental science, management, and policy. In particular he is interested in the values implicit to social scientific explanations, values that inform and potentially legitimate, for instance, relying on particular social sciences (e.g. anthropology or institutional economics) rather than others. The upshot of these investigations is to articulate procedures for stakeholder engagement through which the language and practices of human dimensions research is criticized and legitimated. He has recently led empirical studies of sustainability values among farmers in Mid-Michigan, and co-organizes MSU’s Workshop on Food Justice. This research is inflected by broader interests in science and values, environmental philosophy, and pragmatism.

Robert M. Chiles is an ethics core faculty member in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education and the Department of Food Science. He received his PhD from the Department of Community & Environmental Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Broadly, his research and teaching interests involve examining how agricultural ethics and sustainability are interwoven with the everyday lives of ordinary people. He is currently exploring how the social acceptability of meat has been disrupted and re-negotiated in light of growing controversies over health, food safety, sustainability, and ethics. Chiles’ earlier work analyzed the ethics and cultural politics of in vitro meat (a nascent technology that attempts to produce meat from stem cells). His research has been published in Agriculture and Human Values, Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Controversies in Science and Technology: From Sustainability to Surveillance (Oxford, 2014), and Contexts.

Gregory E. Hitzhusen is an assistant professor of professional practice at the Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. His research explores the theory and practice of faith-community environmental education and ethics, religious influences on environmental attitudes and behavior, environmental ethics, eco-theology, relgion and ecology, and energy and climate change education and outreach trends in faith communities. His teaching emphasis writing-in-the-majors and sustainability across curricula.

Rick Livingston is interim director of the Humanities Institute and Senior Lecturer Lecturers in the Department of Comparative Studies at the Ohio State University. Rick has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Yale University (1990), and teaches regularly in the Department of Comparative Studies. Long-standing research interests include literary and cultural theory, postcolonial studies and 20th century literature; more recently, he has been working on the cultural dimensions of sustainability. He’s been part of the Advisory Group to  the President’s Council on Sustainability, serves as a Cultural Facilitator in OSU’s Excellence to Eminence Initiative, and is an active member of OSU’s Art of Hosting Conversations That Matter community of practice.

Christopher P. Long is Professor of Philosophy and Dean of the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University. His publications in Ancient Greek and Contemporary Continental Philosophy include three books: The Ethics of Ontology: Rethinking an Aristotelian Legacy (SUNY 2004), Aristotle On the Nature of Truth (Cambridge 2010), and an enhanced digital book entitled, Socratic and Platonic Political Philosophy: Practicing a Politics of Reading (Cambridge 2014). He is a founding editor of the Public Philosophy Journal, and he blogs at:

Steve Rachman is Director of the American Studies Program and Co-Director of the Digital Humanities Literary Cognition Laboratory at Michigan State University.
He is the editor of The Hasheesh Eater by Fitz-Hugh Ludlow (Rutgers University Press). He is a co-author of the award-winning Cholera, Chloroform, and the Science of Medicine: A Life of John Snow (Oxford University Press) and the co-editor of The American Face of Edgar Allan Poe (Johns Hopkins University Press). He has written numerous articles on Poe, literature and medicine, cities, popular culture, and an award-winning Web site on Sunday school books for the Library of Congress American Memory Project. He is a past president of the Poe Studies Association and currently completing a study of Poe entitled The Jingle Man: Edgar Allan Poe and the Problems of Culture.

Jesse Steinberg is an associate professor in Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research primarily focuses on philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and philosophy of science. He is especially interested in the nature of dispositions and dispositional accounts of various kinds (e.g., of mental states, causation, and free will). He also works on moral philosophy and has lately been spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about environmental issues having to do with food.

Robert K. Streiffer is an associate professor in Philosophy and Medical History & Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research encompasses both medical and agricultural bioethics, with a focus on ethical and policy issues arising from modern biotechnology. Recent publications include ”The Confinement of Animals Used in Laboratory Research: Conceptual and Ethical Issues,” in The Ethics of Captivity, ed. Lori Gruen (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), “Ethical Issues in the Application of Biotechnology to Animals in Agriculture,” with John Basl, in The Oxford Handbook of Animal Ethics (2011), and “Chimeras, Moral Status, and Public Policy: Implications of the Abortion Debate for Public Policy on Human/Nonhuman Chimera Research,” The Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics (2010).

Paul B. Thompson, a professor in Philosophy, Community Sustainability, and Agriculture, Food, and Resource Economics, holds the W.K. Kellogg Chair in Agricultural Food, and Community Ethics at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. He has formerly held positions in philosophy at Texas A&M University and Purdue University. His research has centered on ethical and philosophical questions associated with agriculture and food, and especially concerning the guidance and development of agricultural techno-science. Thompson’s 2010 book The Agrarian Vision: Sustainability and Environmental Ethics proposed a new framework for addressing questions of sustainability. Two competing paradigms influence current thinking: “sustainable development” had been crafted in response to growing fears of resource scarcity owing to economic expansion and population growth, An older approach to sustainable agriculture had stressed the integrity of agro-ecosystems and local institutions, providing a connected biological and social orientation to sustainability. This paradigm is now being promoted by researchers who stress “resilience”. Continuing work on the theory of sustainability examines the scientific underpinnings of both approaches.

Laurie Thorp is director of the Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment (RISE).  Thorp holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Education from Texas A&M University.  Her doctoral research took her to the Lansing School District where she studied the cultural and educational implications of a schoolyard garden.  This study is the topic of her 2005 book, The Pull of the Earth by Altamira Press.  She is a faculty member in the Department of Community Sustainability. She is one of the founders of the MSU Student Organic Farm (SOF) and serves on the SOF steering team. For the past four years she has been collaborating with colleagues in the departments of Animal Science, Philosophy, and Sociology to study sustainable pork production and student ethical development. Thorp’s work has been published in Qualitative Inquiry, Agriculture and Human Values, Journal of Experiential Education, The International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Resources, Conservation and Recycling, and The Journal of Ethnographic and Qualitative Research.  Her greatest joy and passion is mentoring undergraduates in their journey of self-discovery to identify their life work.

Nancy Tuana is the DuPont/Class of 1949 Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies. Dr. Tuana is a philosopher of science who specializes in issues of ethics and science. She was the founding director of the Penn State Rock Ethics Institute.  She is part of an interdisciplinary research team at Penn State that has developed a more robust model of research ethics to more adequately reflect the impacts of ethical issues in scientific practice.  Building on this work, she is examining coupled ethical-epistemic issues in the field of climate science.  She is doing this work as part of an NSF sponsored research network for Sustainable Climate Risk Management.

Helen Zoe Veit is an associate professor of history at Michigan State University. Her first book was Modern Food, Moral Food: Self-Control, Science, and the Rise of Modern American Eating in the Early Twentieth Century(UNC Press 2013). Veit directs the What America Ate project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and she is editor of the award-winning American Food in History book series with Michigan State University Press. She is now writing a book called Small Appetites: A History of Children’s Food, which examines the dramatic changes in American children’s eating during the last two hundred years.

Kyle Powys Whyte holds the Timnick Chair in the Humanities at Michigan State University. He is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Community Sustainability, a faculty member of the Environmental Philosophy & Ethics graduate concentration, and a faculty affiliate of the American Indian Studies and Environmental Science & Policy programs. His primary research addresses moral and political issues concerning climate policy and Indigenous peoples and the ethics of cooperative relationships between Indigenous peoples and climate science organizations. He is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. His articles have appeared in journals such as Climatic ChangeSustainability Science, Environmental JusticeHypatiaEcological ProcessesSyntheseHuman EcologyJournal of Global EthicsAmerican Journal of BioethicsJournal of Agricultural & Environmental EthicsEthics, Policy & Environment, and Ethics & the Environment.