Philosophy Faculty Database
Philosophy
Arts & Sciences
Duke University

 HOME > Arts & Sciences > Philosophy > Faculty    Search Help Login pdf version printable version 
Allen E. Buchanan, James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy and Affiliate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society    editAllen E. Buchanan

RESEARCH AND TEACHING I’m teaching my usual two course load this Fall. One is a basic course on human rights, focusing on controversies about the nature of human rights, the justifications for claims about the existence of human rights, the reasons for and against having an international legal human rights system, and the legitimacy (or otherwise) of efforts to promote compliance with human rights norms. The other course is on Social Moral Epistemology, which is the systematic comparative evaluation of alternative institutions and social practices so far as they influence the sorts of beliefs that are typically important for moral judgment, moral reasoning, and moral sentiments. I continue to do research mainly in three areas: Bioethics (at present mainly on the ethics of enhancement and of synthetic biology), Philosophy of International Law, and Social Moral Epistemology. My most recent papers are as follows: (1) “Human Rights,” in The Oxford Handbook of Political Philosophy, David Estlund, ed., 2013; (2) "Why International Legal Human Rights?", forthcoming in FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS, edited by Matthew Liao and Massimo Renzo; (3) "Human Rights and Moral Progress," in HUMAN RIGHTS: THE HARD QUESTIONS, edited by Cindy Holder and David Reidy, 2013; and (4) "Social Moral Epistemology and Education," forthcoming in a volume on the Philosophy of Education resulting from a Spencer Foundation conference, edited by Harry Brighouse. 1) is a critical survey of current work by philosophers on human rights and argues that they have a seriously inadequate conception of what a philosophical theory of human rights should do. (2) addresses an embarrassingly neglected question: Even if there are moral human rights, why should we have a system of international legal human rights? (3) develops a theory of moral progress and shows how the modern conception of human rights incorporates progress in thinking about justice. My most recent book, THE HEART OF HUMAN RIGHTS (Oxford University Press) will be published in late September of 2013. I now have three academic positions. I am at Duke in the fall semester every year, as Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Law. Then I spend most of the spring semester every year in a research position at the University of Arizona Freedom Center as Visiting Professor. Then I spend May and June of every year in London at the King’s College Law School (the Dickson Poon School of Law) in a research position as Professor of the Philosophy of International Law.

Office Location: 203A West Duke Building, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone: (919) 383-0449
Fax:  +1 919-660-3060
Email Address: send me a message

Education:
Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1975
B.A., Columbia University, 1970
B.A., Magna cum laude, Columbia Uiversity, 1970

Specialties:
Political Philosophy
Philosophy of International Law
Social Moral Epistemology
Bioethics

Research Interests:
RESEARCH AND TEACHING I’m teaching my usual two course load this Fall. One is a basic course on human rights, focusing on controversies about the nature of human rights, the justifications for claims about the existence of human rights, the reasons for and against having an international legal human rights system, and the legitimacy (or otherwise) of efforts to promote compliance with human rights norms. The other course is on Social Moral Epistemology, which is the systematic comparative evaluation of alternative institutions and social practices so far as they influence the sorts of beliefs that are typically important for moral judgment, moral reasoning, and moral sentiments. I'm currently working in three main areas: Social Moral Epistemology, Philosophy of International Law, and, most recently, a project with Russell Powell on a naturalized theory of moral progress. My current work in progress includes a paper on institutional legitimacy that further develops the Metacoordination View of the practical function of legitimacy assessments set out in my recent book, THE HEART OF HUMAN RIGHT, and a paper called "Toward a Naturalized Theory of Moral Progress", co-authored with Russell Powell and currently under review. (2) "Why International Legal Human Rights?", forthcoming 2015 in FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS, edited by Matthew Liao and Massimo Renzo; (3) "Human Rights and Moral Progress," in HUMAN RIGHTS: THE HARD QUESTIONS, edited by Cindy Holder and David Reidy, 2013; and (4) "Social Moral Epistemology and Education," forthcoming in a volume on the Philosophy of Education resulting from a Spencer Foundation conference, edited by Harry Brighouse. 1) is a critical survey of current work by philosophers on human rights and argues that they have a seriously inadequate conception of what a philosophical theory of human rights should do. (2) addresses an embarrassingly neglected question: Even if there are moral human rights, why should we have a system of international legal human rights? (3) develops a theory of moral progress and shows how the modern conception of human rights incorporates progress in thinking about justice. My most recent book, THE HEART OF HUMAN RIGHTS (Oxford University Press) will be published in late September of 2013. I now have three academic positions. I am at Duke in the fall semester every year, as Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Law. Then I spend most of the spring semester every year in a research position at the University of Arizona Freedom Center as Visiting Professor. Then I spend May and June of every year in London at the King’s College Law School (the Dickson Poon School of Law) in a research position as Professor of the Philosophy of International Law.

Areas of Interest:
Political Philosophy, 
Philosophy of International Law,
Social Moral Epistemology
Bioethics

Recent Publications   (More Publications)
  • A Buchanan and JF Drane. "Concepts of Competence: Reinventing the Scale?." The Hastings Center Report 16.2 (January, 2015). [3563093], [doi]
  • A Buchanan. "The Fetishism of Democracy: A Reply to Professor Gould." The Journal of Philosophy 77.11 (January, 2015): 729-731. [2025989], [doi]
  • AE Buchanan. "Marx, Morality, and History: An Assessment of Recent Analytical Work on Marx." Ethics 98.1 (January, 2015): 104-136. [2381296], [doi]
  • A Buchanan. "Exploitation, Alienation, and Injustice." Canadian Journal of Philosophy 9.1 (January, 2015): 121-139. [40231084], [doi]
  • A Buchanan. "Judging the Past: The Case of the Human Radiation Experiments." The Hastings Center Report 26.3 (January, 2015): 25-30. [3527929], [doi]

Curriculum Vitae

Duke University * Arts & Sciences * Philosophy * Faculty * Staff * Grad * Reload * Login