Karen Warren received her B.A. in philosophy from the University of Minnesota (1970) and her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 1978.Before her long tenure at Macalester College, which began in 1985, Warren was Professor of Philosophy at St. Olaf College in the early 1980s. Warren was the Ecofeminist-Scholar-in-Residence at Murdoch University in Australia . In 2003, she served as an Oxford University Round Table Scholar and as Women's Chair in Humanistic Studies at Marquette University in 2004. She has spoken widely on environmental issues, feminism, critical thinking skills and peace studies in many international locations including Buenos Aires, Gothenburg, Helsinki, Oslo, Manitoba, Melbourne, Moscow, Perth, the U.N. Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro (1972), and San Jose.
Warren is a believer in allowing public access into the academic field of philosophy and describes herself as a "street philosopher". "I believe philosophy is relevant to people of all ages, in all cultural, geographical, and socioeconomic contexts," she said. Warren has taught philosophy in the Berkshire County House of Correction (MA), The Wilderness Society, Eco-Education, Pheasants Forever, Minnesota Naturalists Association and other organizations. As part of her commitment to public philosophy she has spoken for lay audiences and served as critical thinking consultant to the Science Museum of Minnesota and facilitator of a Women's Issues Book Group at Barnes & Noble Booksellers .
Warren has written extensively in the fields of critical thinking, environmental ethics and ecofeminism. She has written more than 40 articles and edited or co-edited five anthologies, authored Ecofeminist Philosophy: A Western Perspective on What It Is and Why It Matters (2000). She is the author of a groundbreaking anthology, An Unconventional History of Western Philosophy: Conversations Between Men and Women Philosophers (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009). The anthology explores 2600 of Western philosophy, juxtaposing leading men and women philosophers' writing on ethics, metaphysics and other topics.Her work has been translated into Spanish, Mandarin, French, Japanese and Persian.