Abraham I. Melden Chair in Moral Philosophy and Distinguished Professor, Philosophy
School of Humanities
Ph.D., Oxford University, 1978, Philosophy
B.Phil., Oxford University, 1967, Philosophy
B.A., Cambridge University, 1965, Philosophy
University of California, Irvine
94 Humanities Instructional Building
Mail Code: 4555
Irvine, CA 92697
Topics in social, political, and moral philosophy, epistemology, action theory, rights theory, and philosophy of law
--Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
--Recipient of the 2019 Lebowitz Prize of the American Philosophical Association for Philosophical Achievement and Contribution
My research has focused on social relations in the human world viewed from the perspective of the participants. I have argued that in many contexts people understand themselves to be jointly committed with others in particular ways. A joint commitment binds people together as one, and grounds rights and obligations in the participants such that they are in a position to demand of conformity of one another and rebuke one another for non-conformity. In addition to offering a new perspective on longstanding philosophical questions such as the nature of agreements and promises, and the possibility of natural rights, these ideas have been found fruitful by researchers in a variety of fields outside philosophy including the history of science, social and developmental psychology, and cultural anthropology.
BOOKS [sole author]
1. On Social Facts (1989) Routledge: New York (in the series International Library of Philosophy) (hardback); Princeton University Press: Princeton, 1992 (hardback and paperback).
2. Living Together: Rationality, Sociality, and Obligation (1996) Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham, MD (hardback and paperback).
3. Sociality and Responsibility: New Essays in Plural Subject Theory (2000) Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham, MD (hardback and paperback).
4. Marcher Ensemble: Essais sur les Fondements des Phenomenes Collectifs (in French) (2003), Presses Universitaires de France: Paris, France (paperback).
5. A Theory of Political Obligation: Membership, Commitment, and the Bonds of Society (2006), Oxford University Press: Oxford (hardback); (2008) paperback, with some revisions).
6. Joint Commitment: How We Make the Social World (2013), Oxford University Press: New York (hardback); (2015) paperback.
7. Il Noi Collettivo: Impegno Coniunto e Mondo Sociale (in Italian) (2015) Raffaele-Cortina (paperback).
8. Rights and Demands: A Foundational Inquiry (2018). Oxford University Press: Oxford.
American Philosophical Assciation---life member