Elizabeth is a philosopher. She is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and John Dewey Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy and Women's Studies at the University of Michigan. Elizabeth's research covers topics in social philosophy, political philosophy and ethics, including: democratic theory, equality in political philosophy and American law, racial integration, the ethical limits of markets, theories of value and rational choice, the philosophies of John Stuart Mill and John Dewey, and feminist epistemology and philosophy of science.
Elizabeth was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008 and has received a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship to support her work. Anderson was named a Progress Medal Laureate in February 2018 by the Society for Progress for her book "Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don't Talk about It)". In 2019, she received a "Genius Grant" from the MacArthur Fellows Program. Elizabeth was also listed in the 2020 Prospect list of the top 50 thinkers for the COVID-19 era. Elizabeth's book "The Imperative of Integration" won the American Philosophical Association's 2011 Joseph B. Gittler Award. She also wrote the book "Value in Ethics and Economics".
Elizabeth has a naturalistic worldview and grants moral consideration to “beings capable experiencing joy or suffering” per her recent appearance on Sean Carroll's MindScape podcast and her chapter, "Animal Rights and the Values of NonHuman Life" in Nussbaum and Sunstein's 2004 book "Animal Rights - Current Debates and New Directions". She starts the chapter with "I believe that animals have intrinsic value".