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Social and Political Philosophy

Social and political philosophy is a very broad area of research that includes examinations and evaluations of all aspects of social life, from the family, to the nation-state, to international relations.


  • Daniel Conway maintains active teaching and research interests in the history of European political philosophy. He is particularly interested in the challenges presented to liberal political philosophy by critics representing the early modern, modern, and post-modern epochs. Major figures of interest include Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Spinoza,  Hegel, Marx, Mill, Nietzsche, Rawls, Rorty, and Hardt & Negri.
  • Gregory Pappas: works within the American Pragmatist and Latin American traditions of social and political philosophy. He has written about democracy, the ethical grounds of political theory, social identity, value conflict among cultures, and prejudice.
  • Linda Radzik works within the analytic traditions of social and political philosophy. She has written about the demands of justice in the aftermath of war, atonement for historical injustice, the collective responsibility of social groups, alternative sanctions for criminal wrongdoing, and justice in the family.
  • Kristi Sweet‘s expertise in Social and Political Philosophy focuses on the work of Immanuel Kant. More broadly, she is interested in the history of political philosophy beginning in Plato’s writings in the Republic, the Statesman, and the Laws. She considers questions of what it is that constitutes a political community as political, and how it is we seek to ground such a community at all; she focuses these concerns on the relation between Ancient Greek conceptions to those of the Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment.


  • Cary Nederman‘s his research concentrates on the history of Western political thought during Greco-Roman antiquity, the Latin Middle Ages and early modern Europe. Among his recently published volumes are: Western Political Thought in Dialogue with Asia (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008); Princely Virtues in the Middle Ages, 1200-1500 (Brepols, 2007); John of Salisbury (Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 2005); Talking Democracy: Historical Approaches to Rhetoric and Democratic Theory (Penn State, 2004); and English Political Thought in Early Fourteenth-Century England (Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 2003).
  • Diego von Vacano is a political theorist. His main areas of interest are modern political thought (from Machiavelli to Nietzsche and also Latin American theory) as well as contemporary issues such as immigration and racial identity. His first book “The Art of Power: Machiavelli, Nietzsche and the Making of Aesthetic Political Theory” explores the use of aesthetic principles to understand modern politics. He is currently working on a book on racial identity in Latin American political thought.