Dr Nat Rutherford

Personal profile




I teach our second year course, Contemporary Political Theory, which aims to show how abstract ideas have practical relevance, and conversely how current debates in politics are illuminated by thinking about them theoretically. In the first term we focus on the big political concepts: obligation, disobedience, democracy, equality, rights, and punishment. In the second term, we use those concepts to look at liberalism and its discontents. The course is organised around Rawls's A Theory of Justice, although nine of the ten weeks are dedicated to criticising Rawls from communitarian, libertarian, feminist, realist, agonist, and egalitarian perspectives.

I also teach on the first year course, Classic Readings in Politics and International Relations and on the postgraduate course, Advanced Topics in Philosophy



I’m interested in why we disagree about moral and political values and how theories of disagreement affect positive political theory. I also work on the methods of political theory and the relationship between moral philosophy and political philosophy. My current research explores the possibility of being both realistic about the limits of politics and critical of existing political orders by analysing concepts of political obligation and political legitimacy in relation to resistance.

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