Professor Philip Pettit

Distinguished Professor of Philosophy
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: +1 6092584759

Areas of expertise

  • Social Philosophy 220319
  • Political Theory And Political Philosophy 160609
  • Philosophy Of Mind (Excl. Cognition) 220314
  • Public Policy 160510
  • Ethical Theory 220305
  • History Of Philosophy 220210
  • Cognitive Sciences 1702

Research interests

Political ontology: the nature of norms, law, group agency, the state, law etc

Political values: the demands of respect, freedom, justice, etc (domestically and internationally).

Moral philosophy: the natural origin of ethical ideas, the robust demands of various values, the connection of the good and the right (consequentialism)

Philosophy of mind: mental causation, corporate minds, human mentality and language

Philosophy of social science: explanation, hierarchy of levels, progam model.


PHILIP PETTIT jointly holds a position as Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Australian National University and L.S. Rockefeller University Professor of Human Values at Princeton University, where he has taught political theory and philosophy since 2002. He has been at the ANU under this joint appointment since 2013.

Born and raised in Ireland, he was a lecturer in University College, Dublin, a Research Fellow at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Bradford, before moving in 1983 to the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University; there he held a professorial position jointly in Social and Political Theory and Philosophy until 2002.

He was elected fellow of Academy of Social Sciences in Australia in 1987 and the Australian Academy of Humanities in 1988. He was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009, as an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2010 and as a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy in 2013. He holds honorary professorships in Philosophy at Sydney University and Queen's University, Belfast and has been awarded honorary degrees by the National University of Ireland (Dublin), the University of Crete, Lund University, Universite de Montreal, Queen's University, Belfast and the University of Athens. Common Minds: Themes from the Philosophy of Philip Pettit appeared from OUP in 2007, edited by Geoffrey Brennan, R.E.Goodin, Frank Jackson and Michael Smith. 

He works in moral and political theory and on background issues in the philosophy of mind and metaphysics. He gave the Uehiro Lectures in Ethics at Oxford University in 2011, which appeared as The Robust Demands of the Good in 2015 and the Tanner Lectures in Berkeley in 2015, which appears in 2018 as The Birth of Ethics. He is to give the Locke Lectures in Philosophy in April-June 2019.

He was made. a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in June 2017.



Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  13 June 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers