Philip Pettit


Philip Pettit is L.S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values at Princeton University, where he has taught political theory and philosophy since 2002,  and for a period that began in 2012-13 holds a joint position as Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy at the Australian National University, Canberra. Born and raised in Ireland, he was a lecturer in University College, Dublin, a Research Fellow at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Bradford, before moving in 1983 to the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University; there he held a professorial position jointly in Social and Political Theory and Philosophy until 2002. He was elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009, honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2010 and Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy in 2013; he has long been a fellow of the Australian academies in Humanities and Social Sciences. He holds honorary professorships in Philosophy at Sydney University and Queen’s University, Belfast and has been awarded honorary degrees by the National University of Ireland (Dublin), the University of Crete, Lund University, Universite de Montreal, Queen’s University, Belfast and the University of Athens. Common Minds: Themes from the Philosophy of Philip Pettit appeared from OUP in 2007, edited by Geoffrey Brennan, R.E.Goodin, Frank Jackson and Michael Smith.

He works in moral and political theory and on background issues in the philosophy of mind and metaphysics. His recent single-authored books include The Common Mind (OUP 1996), Republicanism (OUP 1997), A Theory of Freedom (OUP 2001), Rules, Reasons and Norms (OUP 2002), Penser en Societe (PUF, Paris 2004), Examen a Zapatero (Temas de Hoy, Madrid 2008), Made with Words: Hobbes on Mind, Society and Politics (PUP 2008); On the People’s Terms: A Republican Theory and Model of Democracy (CUP 2012);  Just Freedom: A Moral Compass for a Complex World (W.W.Norton 2014) and The Robust Demands of the Good: Ethics with Attachment, Virtue and Respect (OUP 2015). His recent co-authored books include The Economy of Esteem (OUP 2004), with Geoffrey Brennan; Mind, Morality and Explanation (OUP 2004), a selection of papers with Frank Jackson and Michael Smith; A Political Philosophy in Public Life: Civic Republicanism in Zapatero’s Spain (PUP 2010), with Jose Marti; and Group Agency: The Possibility, Design and Status of Corporate Agents (OUP 2011), with Christian List. He gave the Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Berkeley in April 2015 under the title The Birth of Ethics, which he is currently preparing for publication as a book. He is presenting the Locke lectures in Philosophy at Oxford University in Spring 2019.

For a ‘road trip’ with Just Freedom see the dropbox link.

Harry Kreisler interview with Philip Pettit, Berkeley 2015

Podcast ‘A Brief History of Liberty and its Lessons’;
Televised version 

For interviews see Philip Pettit on Group Agency and Philip Pettit on Consequentialism and Philip Pettit on Republicanism.

For a piece on protests about the financial crises go to see Republican Reflections on the 15-M movement.

For a piece on the market and politics click here.

For a recent interview about the book ‘On the People’s Terms’.

Back to people

Philip Pettit


Free speech and non-human speakers: Public Event

Free speech and non-human speakers. A public event chaired by David Runciman. Date: 18 September 2017 Venue: Trinity Hall Lecture Theatre in September 2017. We share our world with powerful and vocal non-human agents, such as corporations and, increasingly, AI-based systems of various kinds. Should such agents have a ‘right’ to free expression, analogous to […]