Department News

Joshua Cohen to join the faculty

Joshua Cohen will be joining Berkeley as a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the School of Law, the Department of Philosophy, and the Department of Political Science in the College of Letters and Science, commencing on July 1, 2015. Cohen is on the faculty at Apple University. He was previously Marta Sutton Weeks Professor of Ethics in Society and Professor of Philosophy and of Law at Stanford University, and Leon and Anne Goldberg Professor of the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy and Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Cohen will spend one day a week at Berkeley, running a workshop that will bring in outside speakers to present works-in-progress in legal, moral and political philosophy. The workshop will alternate between the School of Law’s Kadish Center and the Social Sciences Matrix in the College of Letters and Science. In addition, Cohen will be able to serve as a member of dissertation committees in all three units with which he is associated.

Cohen is one of the leading political theorists in the Anglophone world, with a breadth that ranges from regulating sweatshop labor to the proper interpretation of Rousseau’s political philosophy. He has written extensively on issues of democratic theory, particularly deliberative democracy and its implications for personal liberty, freedom of expression, religious freedom, and political equality. He has also written on issues of global justice, including the foundations of human rights, distributive fairness, supranational democratic governance, and labor standards in supply chains.

Cohen’s recent books include Philosophy, Politics, Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2009); Rousseau: A Free Community of Equals (Oxford University Press, 2010); and The Arc of the Moral Universe and Other Essays (Harvard University Press, 2011). He is co-editor of The Norton Introduction to Philosophy (forthcoming 2015). And he has co-authored four books with Joel Rogers: On Democracy (Penguin Books, 1983), Inequity and Intervention: The Federal Budget and Central America (South End Press, 1986), Rules of the Game (South End Press, 1986), and Associations and Democracy (Verso, 1995).

Since 1991, Cohen has also served as Editor-in-Chief and later Co-Editor-in-Chief of Boston Review, a bimonthly magazine of political, cultural, and literary ideas. In this capacity, he has invited academic scholars from a wide range of disciplines to contribute essays addressing some of the most pressing social, political, and legal issues of our day.

Cohen has given numerous named lectures, including the 1996 Wesson Lectures at Stanford, the 1999 Carlyle classes at Oxford, the 2002 Romanell-Phi Beta Kappa Lectures at MIT, the 2007 Tanner Lectures at Berkeley, the 2011 Dewey Lecture at the University of Chicago Law School, and the 2012 Comte Lectures at the London School of Economics.

Cohen’s appointment has been a community-building moment for Berkeley across disciplines, and has generated enormous excitement. I wish to thank the many colleagues who have worked hard to persuade Cohen to join our intellectual community. Please join me in welcoming him when he arrives on campus next summer.

January 05, 2015