Skip to Main Content

The University of Tennessee

University of Tennessee Department of Classics

Frequently Used Tools:



Welcome! » People » David Reidy


David Reidy

See Also: Complete CV

My Ph.D. is from the University of Kansas, my J.D. from Indiana University, and I joined the department in 2000. I am currently Professor of Philosophy and Adjunct Professor of Political Science. I am also Head of the Department of Philosophy and a Distinguished Humanities Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Research Interests

My work has come in recent years to fall under three main headings. First, I work on issues—exegetical and interpretive as well as critical and substantive—arising out of John Rawls’s moral and political philosophy. Second, I work on philosophical issues raised by the theory, law and practice of human rights. Third, I work on various normative and conceptual issues in applied political and legal philosophy—for example, over the last few years I have worked on hate crimes laws, state neutrality and compulsory education, and reparations for historical injustice. I continue also to maintain a general interest in the philosophy of law, especially analytic jurisprudence and punishment theory.

Recent, representative publications

  • Books
    • Human Rights: The Hard Questions. Cambridge University Press, 2013.  Collection of original essays co-edited and introduced with Cindy Holder.
    • The Blackwell Companion to Rawls. Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, 2014.  Collection of original essays co-edited and introduced with Jon Mandle.
    • The Rawls Lexicon. Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.   A comprehensive reference for Rawls scholars co-edited with Jon Mandle.
    • Coercion and the State. Springer Publishing, 2008.  Collection of original essays co-edited with Walter Riker. 
    • Rawls. Ashgate Publishing, 2008.  Edited and introduced collection.
    • On the Philosophy of Law. Wadsworth Publishing, 2006.  Monograph in the Philosophical Topics series. 
    • Rawls's Law of Peoples: A Realistic Utopia? Blackwell Publishing, 2006.  Collection of original essays co-edited with Rex Martin.
    • Universal Human Rights: Moral Order in a Divided World. Rowman and Littlefield Publishing, 2005.  Collection of original essays co-edited with Mortimer Sellers.

  • Articles & Chapters
    • “Postcards: From Philosophical Theology to Ethics as Science to Democratic Theory.”  The Blackwell Companion to Rawls, Jon Mandle & David Reidy, eds., Blackwell Publishing, pp. 7-31, 2014.
    • “Social Justice, the University and the Temptation to Mission Creep.” Social Justice and the University, Harry Dahms, Jon Shefner et al., eds., Palgrave Publishing, forthcoming (in press), 2014.
    • “Cosmopolitanism and Human Rights.” Routledge Companion to Political and Social Philosophy, Jerry Gaus et al., eds., Routledge Publishing, pgs. 494-504, 2012
    • “On the Human Right to Democracy: Searching for Sense without Stilts.” Journal of Social Philosophy, v. 43, n. 2, pgs. 177-203, 2012.
    • "Cosmopolitanism: Liberal and Otherwise." In Cosmopolitanism vs. Non-Cosmopolitanism: Critiques, Defenses and Reconceptualizations, Gillian Brock, ed., Oxford University Press, 2013, pgs. 175-198.
    • “The Right and the Good.” A Companion to Political Philosophy: Methods, Topics and Tools, Antonella Besussi, ed., Ashgate Publishing, pgs. 111-122, 2012.
    • “Philosophical Perspectives on Human Rights.” Contemporary Perspectives on Human Rights, Claudio Coradetti, ed., Springer Publishing, pgs. 23-49, 2012.
    • “Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights.” International Human Rights Law, Daniel Moeckli, et al., eds., Oxford University Press, 2010, pgs. 39-63. Co-authored with Jim Nickel.
    • "Rawls's Religion and Justice as Fairness," History of Political Thought, v. XXXI, No. 2., pgs. 309-343, 2010.
    • "Human Rights and Liberal Toleration," Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, v. 23. n. 2, pgs. 287-317, 2010.
    • When Good Alone Isn’t Good Enough: Examining Griffin’s On Human Rights.” Social Theory and Practice, 2009, v. 35, n. 4, pgs. 623-647, 2009.
    • “Human Rights: Institutions and Agendas.” Public Affairs Quarterly,
      v. 22.4, pgs. 409-433, 2008.
    • "John Rawls." IVR Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Jurisprudence, Legal Theory and Philosophy of Law, 2008, at http://www.ivr-enc.info/en/topics.php?what=listAll
    • “A Just Global Economy: In Defense of Rawls.” The Journal of Ethics, v. 11.2, pgs. 193-236, 2007.
    • “Reciprocity and Reasonable Disagreement: From Liberal to Democratic Legitimacy.” Philosophical Studies, v. 132, pgs. 243-291, 2007.
    • “Relativism, Self-Determination and Human Rights,” Democracy in a Global World: Human Rights and Political Participation in the 21st Century, Deen Chatterjee, ed., Rowman and Littlefield. 2007. With James Nickel, co-author.
    • "Three Human Rights Agendas."  Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, v. 19, n.2, pgs. 237-255, 2006.
    • "The Structural Variety of Historical Injustices." Journal of Social Philosophy, v. 37, n. 3, pgs. 360-376, 2006.  With Jeppe von Platz, co-author.
      * Awarded Berger Prize, American Philosophical Association, Committee on Law and Philosophy, 2009.
    • "An Internationalist Conception of Human Rights." The Philosophical Forum, v. 36, pgs. 367-397, 2005.
    • “Hate Crimes Laws: Progressive Politics or Balkanization?” Civility and its Discontents: Civic Virtue, Toleration and Social Fragmentation, Chris Sistare, ed., Univ. Press of Kansas, 2004.
    • “Rawls on International Justice: A Defense.” Political Theory, v. 32, pgs. 291-319, 2004.
    • “Hate Crimes, Oppression and Legal Theory.” Public Affairs Quarterly , v. 16, pgs. 259-285, 2002. * Awarded Berger Prize, American Philosophical Association, Committee on Law and Philosophy, 2005.
    • “Justice and the Tutelary State.” Southern Journal of Philosophy, v.40, pgs. 97-122, 2002.
    • “Pluralism, Liberal Democracy and Compulsory Education.” Journal of Social Philosophy, v. 32, pgs. 585-609, 2001.
    • "Rawls's Wide View of Public Reason: Not Wide Enough." Res Publica v.6, pgs. 49-72, 2000.

Recent, representative presentations

  • "Participatory Politics, Progressive Policy and the Right to Health
    Care."  Human Rights Program, University of Chicago, 2014.

  • "Picture and Frame:  Looking for Rawls's Vision."  Center for British Studies, University of California-Berkeley, 2014.

  • "On the Alleged Human Right to Democracy: Searching for Sense without Stilts." Society for Philosophy and Public Affairs, Washington, DC, 2011.

  • "Rawls and the Essentially Religious Perspective."  6th Annual Religion and Philosophy Conference, Baylor University, 2011.

  • "How (Not) to Think About Human Rights." University of Kansas, Dept. of Philosophy, 2009.

  • "Good without God? A Conversation about Rights and Justice." A Veritas Conversation with Nick Wolterstorff. University of Tennessee, 2009.

  • "Nickel and Rawls on Human Rights and Toleration." American Philosophical Association, Central Division, Chicago, 2009.

  • "The Structural Variety of Historical Injustices." American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division, Vancouver, 2009. With Jeppe von Platz, co-presenter.

  • "Method and Content in Rawls's Law of Peoples." Society for Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vancouver, 2009.

  • "Human Rights and Foreign Intervention." Oregon State University, Dept. of Philosophy, 2009. A symposium with Michael Blake.

  • "Toleration, Rights and Religious Freedom: Comments for William Sweet." Baker Center for Public Policy, U. of Tennessee, Religious Freedom Workshop, 2009.

  • "Human Rights, International Law, and Global Politics." Vanderbilt School of Law, 2008.

  • "Human Rights:  Matching Agendas and Institutions." Society for Philosophy and Public Policy, APA Pacific Division Meeting, San Francisco, 2007

  • “Political Authority, Minimal Legitimacy and Human Rights in Talbott’s Which Rights Should be Universal?” American Philosophical Association, Author Meets Critics Session, Pacific Division, Portland, 2006.

  • “Corrective Justice, Reparations and Rawls’s The Law of Peoples.” Part of two day symposium on reparations and international/global justice. World Congress of Social Philosophy and Philosophy of Law (IVR), Spain, 2005.

  • “Reciprocity Confronts Reasonable Disagreement.” American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division, Pasadena, 2004.

  • “Justice and the Global Economy in Rawls’s The Law of Peoples.” Global Justice Conference (With APA Pacific Division Meeting), Pasadena, 2004. American Philosophical Association, Central Division, Chicago, 2004.

  • “Religious Conviction and Democratic Politics: Is Reconciliation Possible?” Marshall Steele Center for Religion and Philosophy, Hendrix College, Arkansas, 2004.

Teaching Interests

Social and political philosophy, philosophy of law, and ethics.

Recent, representative courses

Introductory courses include ethical theory, social and political philosophy, philosophy of law. Advanced courses include contemporary theories of justice, human rights/global justice, Rawls, history of political philosophy, history of ethics, philosophical foundations of democracy, and topics in philosophy of law.

Professional/Community Interests

I am active in various professional associations and serve on several editorial boards for professional journals.

I am an active organizer of various symposia and speakers series. I have co-organized international symposia on Rawls’s ‘The Law of Peoples’ and on reparations issues in the international setting. I have organized or co-organized local symposia or speakers series on the philosophical issues in educational policy, on philosophical issues raised by developments in the biological sciences, on Jeffrey Stout’s ‘Democracy and Tradition’, on democratization as a foreign policy aim, on global justice, and most recently on putting John Rawls's work in historical context.

I speak at local churches and civic organizations on a range of topics, including faith and citizenship, economic justice, and the virtue of integrity in public and political life.

David Reidy

Contact Information

David Reidy
Professor and Head of Department
801 McClung Tower
Knoxville, TN 37996-0480

Phone: 865-974-7210
Fax: 865-974-3509

Email: dreidy@utk.edu