NMU's Department of Philosophy began in earnest with the University's expansion in the 1960s. Until the installment of A. Craig in 1966 as the department's first full-time faculty member, philosophy courses at the University were offered only occasionally by a member of history or social sciences. In 1968, Francis Lee joined Dr. Craig. Dean David Dickson supervised the small department until Eugene Whitehouse took over his position, serving from 1967 through 1981.
Lee went on to take a new position, and between the years of 1969 and 1971, the department grew. It added three new faculty members to its ranks: Donald Dreisbach, James Greene and David Cooper, all of whom held Ph.D.s and taught in the department as full-ranking professors. Associate Dean Whitehouse led the department until becoming its permanent head in 1981, a position he held until July 1, 1994 when Barry L. Knight, head of the History Department, took over until his retirement at which time he was replaced by Russell Magnaghi as Chair of History and Philosophy.
In 1993, Dr. Sarah Jones joined the department. She taught as an adjunct instructor until 2003 and then as an assistant professor (both part and full-time) until 2011. She received tenure and promotion to associate professor in 2012. With the retirements of Dr. Dreisbach, Dr. Green, and Dr. Cooper, the department needed to refill the ranks. Thus, Dr. Zac Cogley and Dr. Antony Aumann both joined as full-time members in 2010. Dr. Cogley received tenure and promotion in 2014, and Dr. Aumann received the same in 2015. In 2011, Dr. Chet Defonso took over from Dr. Magnaghi as Chair of History and Philosophy; he was succeeded by Dr. Keith Kendall in 2014.