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Philip Noel Pettit AC (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 Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy at the Australian National University.[1] He was a Guggenheim Fellow.[2]

Philip Pettit

Philip Noel Pettit

1945 (age 73–74)
Ballygar, Ireland
  • Irish
  • Australian
Alma materMaynooth College
Queen's University, Belfast
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolCivic republicanism
InstitutionsAustralian National University
Princeton University
Main interests
Political philosophy



He was educated at Garbally College, the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (BA, LPh, MA) and Queen's University, Belfast (PhD). 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 civic 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 honoursEdit

  • 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 Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (1987)[11]
  • Member of the scientific committee of the Fundacion IDEAS[12]
  • Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in the 2017 Queen's Birthday Honours (Australia)[13]

Selected bibliographyEdit


  • 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[14]
  • 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)
  • Just Freedom: A Moral Compass for a Complex World. (2015)
  • The Robust Demands of the Good: Ethics with Attachment, Virtue, and Respect. (2015)

Chapters in booksEdit

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


  1. ^ "Philip Pettit: Homepage". Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  2. ^ "Philip Pettit - John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation". Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  3. ^ "Philip Pettit". Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  4. ^ [1] Archived 20 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "El maestro Pettit examina al alumno Zapatero" (PDF). Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  6. ^ "The reading list" (PDF). Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  7. ^ "Common Minds - Geoffrey Brennan; Robert Goodin; Frank Jackson; Michael Smith - Oxford University Press". 19 July 2007. Archived from the original on 19 October 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  8. ^ "Five named to American Academy of Arts and Sciences".
  9. ^[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 February 2015. Retrieved 1 August 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Fellos List - ASSA". Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  12. ^ Fundacion IDEAS website Archived 15 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 13 March 2015. (in Spanish)
  13. ^ "PETTIT, Philip Noel". Australian Honours Search Facility, Dept of Prime Minister & Cabinet. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  14. ^ 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 readingEdit

  • 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 (eds.), Dialogues with contemporary political theorists, Houndsmill, Basingstoke, Hampshire New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 155–169, ISBN 9780230303058

External linksEdit