Public Philosophy

My approach to public philosophy is informed by my commitment to praxis, combining philosophical theory and practice to work toward positive change in the world. Since 2000, I have participated in and/or founded several philosophy outreach programs (in the form of community-based research projects, philosophy classes, discussion groups, curricula for use by teachers, and related activities) for K-12 schools, retirement communities, prisons, and a variety of community groups. These programs include the Salisbury University ECI Program, Philosophical Horizons (Memphis, TN), the UNC-Chapel Hill Philosophy Outreach Program, Philosophical Ethics in Early Childhood (PA and CA, USA, and Verona, Italy), and Humanities Beyond Bars.

I currently serve as Vice President of the Public Philosophy Network, and, previously, as 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.

I host the ethics and public philosophy podcast The Ethicist’s Corner, featuring in-depth conversations with community leaders and people from diverse walks of life about the influences that shaped their careers, the role of ethics in their personal and professional lives, and their leadership experiences.

In addition, I am founding editor of Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice, a peer-reviewed, open-access journal for research on precollege and public-facing philosophy, and have published several public-focused articles and interviews on topics in ethics education, child development, and philosophy for children/pre-college philosophy:

“Supporting Public Philosophy: Two Lives and Three Strategies,” Public Philosophy Journal 3, no. 2 (2020).

“A Call to Action: The Bakersfield Police Department-Community Collaborative,” (with NaTesha Johnson, Mark Martinez, Traco Matthews, and Greg Terry), an op-ed in The Bakersfield Californian on establishing a police reform initiative for the City of Bakersfield.

“Reflecting on White Privilege and Taking Action,”an op-ed in The Bakersfield Californian on recognizing white privilege and taking constructive action. 

“Michael Burroughs on Children & Agency,” a discussion with Dr. Myisha Cherry on the UnMute Podcast.

“Debate on The Ralph Bailey Show,” a debate and response to critiques of Dr. Angela Davis’ April 2019 visit to the Kegley Institute of Ethics and California State University, Bakersfield.

“One on One: Dr. Michael D. Burroughs, director of the Kegley Institute of Ethics,” an interview with Robert Price, Senior Editor of the Bakersfield Californian, on ethics education, community engagement, and the Kegley Institute of Ethics.

“How to Survive a Crisis: Reclaiming Philosophy as a Public Practice,” Palgrave Communications 4, (Fall 2018): online.

“Toward Engaging a Broader Public: Children and Public Philosophy” (1st author, with Dr. Desiree Valentine), Public Philosophy Journal 1, no. 1 (Spring 2018): 1-14.

“Community Voices: Institute Prepares Teachers to Help Students,” (with Dr. Brittney Beck), an op-ed in The Bakersfield Californian regarding the SEEDE Institute, a research and outreach initiative to support social-emotional learning and ethics education in early childhood classrooms. 

“Humanities in Class: How to Think and Learn in the Humanities,” (with Allison Cohen), a chapter in this National Humanities Center open-access book on key practices and qualities of philosophy for a public audience.

“How to Think Like a Philosopher in the Digital Age” (with Allison Cohen), a podcast on philosophy and technology for the National Humanities Center. 

“Ethics and Childhood: Possibilities for Preschool Ethical Development,” an article on preschool ethics education for the Centre Daily Times, 2017.

“The Real Question Is, ‘Why Not Pre-College Philosophy?,’” a post on the value of pre-college philosophy for the Blog of the American Philosophical Association, 2017.

“Why Philosophy? Why Now?,” a White Paper on the value of philosophical education in pre-college classrooms, 2016.

Interview with Engaged Philosophy, a discussion on civically-engaged philosophy and the Philosophical Ethics in Early Childhood program.

“What is Ethics Education?,” an article on the aims and purpose of ethics education for Penn State News, 2015.