Charles R. Magel

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Charles Russell Magel (June 3, 1920 – March 22, 2014) was an American philosopher, animal rights activist and bibliographer. He was professor emeritus of Philosophy and Ethics at Moorhead State University.

Life and career[edit]

Magel was born June 3, 1920 and grew up in Burlington, Iowa,[1] he lived on a 150-acre farm with eight siblings. He studied electrical engineering at Iowa State College, going on to study at Northwestern University for three years. He worked as a night clerk at a hotel after graduation and served for five years in the US Naval reserve during the Second World War. In 1950, inspired by Albert Schweitzer's autobiography Out of My Life and Thought, Magel enrolled in graduate school at the University of Minnesota to study philosophy. He submitted his dissertation, An Analysis of Kierkegaard's Philosophic Categories in 1960.[2] In 1962, he initiated a philosophy program at Moorhead State University. After reading Peter Singer's Animal Liberation and Tom Regan's "The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism" in 1975, Magel became a vegetarian and introduced an animal rights course onto the philosophy curriculum; making it one of the first university courses completely focused on the topic.[3]

In 1981, Magel published A Bibliography on Animal Rights and Related Matters lists over 3,200 works.[4] He retired from teaching in 1985.[3] In 1989, Magel authored Keyguide to Information Sources in Animal Rights a bibliography of works dealing with animal rights. It was positively reviewed as an "outstanding resource that many academic libraries will want to acquire."[5] Another review described it as a "carefully crafted and scholarly overview to the literature and philosophy of the animal rights movement."[6] In 1992, a new edition of J. Howard Moore's The Universal Kinship was published, edited by Magel and including a biographical essay of the author.[7] In 1997, Magel published an edited edition of Lewis Gompertz's Moral Inquires on the Situation of Man and of Brutes.[8]

Magel was an outspoken advocate against animal testing, stating:[9]

Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is: 'Because the animals are like us.' Ask the experimenters why it is morally OK to experiment on animals, and the answer is: 'Because the animals are not like us.' Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction.

Magel died on March 22, 2014,[1] he left Moorhead State University $800,000 to establish the Charles R. Magel Endowment Fund.[10]

Selected publications[edit]


  • Magel, Charles R. (1981). A Bibliography on Animal Rights and Related Matters. Latham, MD: University Press of America. ISBN 978-0819114884.
  • Magel, Charles R. (1989). Keyguide to Information Sources in Animal Rights. London, England: Mansell. ISBN 978-0720119848.
  • Moore, J. Howard (1992). Magel, Charles (ed.). The Universal Kinship. Fontwell: Centaur Press. ISBN 978-0900001345.
  • Gompertz, Lewis (1997). Magel, Charles (ed.). Moral Inquiries on the Situation of Man and of Brutes. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press. ISBN 978-0773487222.



  1. ^ a b monson. "Recent death: Charles Magel". News. Retrieved 2019-10-15.
  2. ^ Magel, Charles R. (1960). An Analysis of Kierkegaard's Philosophic Categories (PhD thesis). Dissertation.
  3. ^ a b Magel, Charles (1988-10-01). "Journey From Iowa Farm Boy to Animal Rights Bibliographer". Between the Species. 4 (4). doi:10.15368/bts.1988v4n4.14.
  4. ^ Nash, Roderick Frazier. (1989). The Rights of Nature: A History of Environmental Ethics. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 273. ISBN 0-299-11840-1
  5. ^ Nyberg, Cheryl Rae. (1990). Reviewed Work: Keyguide to Information Sources in Animal Rights by Charles R. Magel. Reference and User Services Quarterly 29 (3): 444-446.
  6. ^ Watstein, Sarah Barbara. (1991). Outstanding Reference Sources: A 1991 Selection of Recent Titles. American Libraries 22 (5): 393-439.
  7. ^ Helstosky, Carol (2014-10-03). The Routledge History of Food. Routledge. ISBN 9781317621133.
  8. ^ Gompertz, Lewis (1997). Moral Inquiries on the Situation of Man and of Brutes. Mellen animal rights library series; v. 2. Lewiston: E. Mellen Press. ISBN 9780773487222.
  9. ^ "Is it morally Acceptable to Experiment Mainly on Non-Human Primates, Instead of Other Animals? – Young Scientists Journal". Retrieved 2019-10-15.
  10. ^ "Philosophy professor emeritus Charles Magel donates $800,000 to MSUM". Minnesota State University Moorhead.