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Philosophy Department faculty, August 26, 2016. Not pictured: David Agler, Kathryn Gines, and Paul Taylor.

Michael D. Burroughs

Michael  D. Burroughs

Senior Lecturer in Philosophy

Associate Director, Rock Ethics Institute

129A Sparks


Office Phone: (814) 867-0471


  1. BA in Philosophy from Salisbury University
  2. MA in Philosophy from the University of Memphis
  3. Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Memphis

Michael is associate director of the Rock Ethics Institute, senior lecturer of philosophy, and an affiliate faculty member in the College of Education. Michael is also the vice president of the Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization (PLATO), a national non-profit organization that supports the introduction of philosophy and dialogical education in K-12 classrooms. 

As associate director of the Rock, Michael has focused on expanding ethics education at and beyond Penn State while also managing the operations of the Institute. To this end, he has led an Ethics and Education Interest Group with Penn State faculty members, several ethics education workshops for faculty, students, and community organizations, and has given and organized numerous lectures on ethics education and moral development. In addition, Michael leads weekly philosophy and ethics sessions with local pre-kindergarten classes as part of the Philosophical Ethics in Early Childhood (PEECh) project. Through PEECh, Michael is collaborating with local children and teachers in order to better understand forms of philosophical and ethics education that promote moral development in early childhood. Michael’s understanding of ethics education and the significance of ethics in daily life is summarized in his recent TEDxPSU talk.

Michael recently published a co-authored book (with Jana Mohr Lone) entitled Philosophy in Education: Questioning and Dialogue in Schools (Rowman and Littlefield, 2016). This book focuses on the theory and practice of doing philosophical and ethical work with young children and will serve as a vital resource for educators and philosophers working in K-12 classrooms. Michael has also published several articles and book chapters in the areas of community engaged philosophy, philosophy with children, ethics, education, critical philosophy of race, and social epistemology.

Research Interests

  • Ethics Education
  • Moral Literacy
  • Ethics

Recent Publications

  • “A Different Education: Philosophy and High School.” In Philosophy in Schools: An Introduction for Philosophers and Teachers. Eds. Sara Goering, Nicholas Shudak and Thomas Wartenberg. Routledge Press, 2012.
  •  “Doing Moral Philosophy with Youth in Urban Programs: Strategies from the Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility Model and the Philosophy for Children Movement.” Co-authored with Dr. Paul Wright and Dr. Deb Tollefsen. In Ethics in Youth Sport: Policy and Pedagogical Applications. Eds. Richard Light and Stephen Harvey. Routledge Press, 2012.
  • “Reconsidering the Examined Life: Philosophy and Children.” Negotiating Childhoods. Eds. Lucy Hopkins, Mark MacLeod, Wendy C. Turgeon. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2010.
  • Review of Resisting Reality: Social Construction and Social Critique (Sally Haslanger). Forthcoming in Social Theory and Practice (Fall 2013).
  • Review of The Philosophy Shop: Ideas, activities and questions to get people, young and old, thinking philosophically  (Peter Worley, ed.). Forthcoming in Journal of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association.