Philip Pettit

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Philip Noel Pettit
Born 1945
Ballygar, County Galway, Ireland
Nationality Dual Irish and Australian
Alma mater Queen's University, Belfast
Main interests
Political philosophy, Republicanism

Philip Noel Pettit (born 1945) is an Irish philosopher and political theorist. He is Laurence Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values at Princeton University and also Professor of Philosophy at the Australian National University.[1] He was a Guggenheim Fellow.[2]


He was educated at Garbally College, the National University of Ireland, Maynooth and Queen's University, Belfast. He was a lecturer at University College, Dublin, a Research Fellow at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and professor at the University of Bradford.[3] He was for many years Professorial Fellow in Social and Political Theory at the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University. He is the recipient of numerous honours, including an honorary doctorate from the National University of Ireland. He was keynote speaker at Graduate Conference, University of Toronto.[4]

Pettit defends a version of republicanism in political philosophy. His book Republicanism: A Theory of Freedom and Government provided the underlying justification for political reforms in Spain under José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.[5] Pettit detailed his relationship with Zapatero in his A Political Philosophy in Public Life: Civic Republicanism in Zapatero's Spain, co-authored with José Luis Martí.[6]

Pettit holds that the lessons learned when thinking about problems in one area of philosophy often constitute ready-made solutions to problems faced in completely different areas. Views he defends in philosophy of mind give rise to the solutions he offers to problems in metaphysics about the nature of free will, and to problems in the philosophy of the social sciences, and these in turn give rise to the solutions he provides to problems in moral philosophy and political philosophy. His corpus as a whole was the subject of a series of critical essays published in Common Minds: Themes from the Philosophy of Philip Pettit (Oxford University Press, 2007).[7]

Affiliations and honors

  • Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2009)[8]
  • Honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy (2010)[9]
  • Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy (2013)[10]
  • Fellow of the Australian academies in Humanities and Social Science
  • Member of the scientific committee of the Fundacion IDEAS[11]

Selected bibliography


  • The Concept of Structuralism: a Critical Analysis (1975)
  • Judging justice: an introduction to contemporary political philosophy (1980)
  • Rawls: 'A Theory of Justice' and its critics (1990) with Chandran Kukathas
  • The Common Mind; an essay on psychology, society and politics (1993)
  • Not Just Deserts. A Republican Theory of Criminal Justice (ISBN 978-0-19-824056-3) with John Braithwaite[12]
  • Republicanism: a theory of freedom and government (1997)
  • Three Methods of Ethics: a debate (1997) with Marcia Baron and Michael Slote
  • A Theory of Freedom: from psychology to the politics of agency (2001)
  • Rules, Reasons and Norms: selected essays (2002)
  • The Economy of Esteem: an essay on civil and political society (2004) with Geoffrey Brennan
  • Mind, Morality, and Explanation: Selected Collaborations (with Frank Jackson and Michael Smith) (Oxford University Press, 2004)
  • Made with Words: Hobbes on Language, Mind, and Politics (2007)
  • "Joining the Dots" in Common Minds: Themes from the Philosophy of Philip Pettit (2007) edited by Geoffrey Brennan, Robert E. Goodin, Frank Jackson and Michael Smith
  • A Political Philosophy in Public Life: Civic Republicanism in Zapatero's Spain (2010) with José Luis Martí
  • Group Agency: The Possibility, Design, and Status of Corporate Agents. (2011) with Christian List
  • On The People's Terms: A Republican Theory and Model of Democracy. (2012)
  • The Robust Demands of the Good: Ethics with Attachment, Virtue, and Respect. (2015)

Chapters in books

  • Pettit, Philip (2004), "The common good", in Dowding, Keith; Pateman, Carole; Goodin, Robert E., Justice and democracy: essays for Brian Barry, Cambridge New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 25–39, ISBN 9780521836951.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Pettit, Philip (2009), "Freedom in the spirit of Sen", in Morris, Christopher, Amartya Sen, Cambridge New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 91–114, ISBN 9780521618069<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  1. "Philip Pettit: Homepage". Retrieved 2015-03-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Philip Pettit - John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation". Retrieved 2015-03-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Philip Pettit". Retrieved 2015-03-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. [1][dead link]
  5. "El maestro Pettit examina al alumno Zapatero" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-03-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "The reading list" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-03-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Common Minds - Geoffrey Brennan; Robert Goodin; Frank Jackson; Michael Smith - Oxford University Press". 2007-07-19. Retrieved 2015-03-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Fundacion IDEAS website,; accessed 13 March 2015. (Spanish)
  12. See "Republican Criminology and Victim Advocacy: Comment" for an article concerning the book in Law and Society Review, Vol. 28, No. 4 (1994), pp. 765–776.

Further reading

  • Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2012), "Republicanism, philosophy of freedom, and the history of ideas: an interview with Philip Pettit.", in Browning, Gary; Dimova-Cookson, Maria; Prokhovnik, Raia, Dialogues with contemporary political theorists, Houndsmill, Basingstoke, Hampshire New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 155–169, ISBN 9780230303058<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links