Erin Kelly

Contact Info:
Tufts University
Department of Philosophy
Miner Hall, Room 02
Medford, MA 02155

Office: 617.627.2849
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Moral Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Law

Erin Kelly grew up in Rochester, Minnesota, seemingly destined for medical or law school, and riding horses or being kicked by them. She earned her undergraduate degree in philosophy from Stanford University; in further pursuit of philosophy, she then went to Columbia University for graduate study before moving to Harvard University, where she earned her PhD. Her research interests are in moral and political philosophy and the philosophy of law, with a focus on questions about justice, the nature of moral reasons, moral responsibility and desert, and theories of punishment. She has a non-academic interest in music, film, the outdoors, and two young children.

Ph.D., Harvard University
AB, Stanford University


  • The Limits of Blame: Rethinking Punishment and Responsibility. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018.
  • "The Practice of Liberty." What is Pluralism? The Question of Pluralism in Politics. Ed. Volker Kaul and Ingrid Salvatore. Routledge Press. Forthcoming.
  • "The Historical Injustice Problem for Political Liberalism." Ethics 128 (October 2017): 75-94.
  • "Law and Institutional Legitimacy in the Practice of Human Rights." Law and Philosophy 36 (April 2017): 155-68.
  • "Free Will and Criminal Law." Routledge Companion to Free Will. Eds. Kevin Timpe, Meghan Griffith, and Neil Levy. New York: Routledge, 2017: 577-89.
  • "Modeling Justice in Higher Education." The Aims of Higher Education: Problems of Morality and Justice. Ed. Harry Brighouse and Michael McPherson. University of Chicago Press. 2015.
  • "Inequality, Difference, and Prospects for Democracy." The Blackwell Companion to Rawls. Ed. David Reidy and Jon Mandle. Blackwell Press. 2015.
  • Response to Barbara Fried’s "The Triumph of Blame." Boston Review 38 (2013): 22.
  • "Publicity." International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Ed. Hugh LaFollette. Blackwell Press, 2013.
  • "What is an Excuse?" Blame: New Essays. Ed. Neil Tognazzini and Justin Coates, Oxford University Press. 2013.
  • "Desert and Fairness in Criminal Justice." Philosophical Topics 40 (2012): 63-77.
  • "Public Reason as a Collective Capability," Rutgers Law Journal 43 (2012): 295-316.
  • "Reparative Justice." Accountability for Collective Wrongdoing. Eds. Tracy Isaacs and Richard Vernon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
  • "Non-Egalitarian Global Fairness." (with Lionel McPherson). Pogge and his Critics. Ed. Alison M. Jaggar. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2010.
  • "The Naturalist Gap in Ethics." (with Lionel McPherson). Normativity and Nature. Ed. Mario De Caro and David Macarthur. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010.
  • "Equal Opportunity, Unequal Capability." Measuring Justice: Capabilities and Primary Goods. Ed.Harry Brighouse and Ingrid Robeyns. Cambridge University Press, 2010.
  • "Criminal Justice without Retribution." The Journal of Philosophy 106 (2009): 419-439.
  • "Prisoner's Mistrust." (with Lionel McPherson). Ratio 22 (2007): 57-70.
  • "Ethical Disagreement in Theory and Practice: Comments on Sterba." Journal of Social Philosophy 36 (2005): 382-387.
  • "Criminal-Justice Minded: Retribution, Punishment and Authority." Hip Hop and Philosophy: From Rhyme to Reason. Ed. Derrick Darby and Tommie Shelby. Chicago: Open Court, 2005.
  • "Stability and Justification in Hume's Moral Philosophy: A Response to Louis Loeb." Hume Studies 30 (2004): 329-338.
  • "Against Naturalism in Ethics." Naturalism in Question. Ed. Mario De Caro and David MacArthur. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004.
  • "Human Rights as Foreign Policy Imperatives." The Ethics of Assistance: Morality and the Distant Needy. Ed. Deen Chatterjee. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
  • "The Burdens of Collective Liability." Ethics and Foreign Intervention. Ed. Deen Chatterjee and Don Scheid. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
  • "Doing without Desert." Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 83 (2002): 180-205.
  • "Moral Agency and Free Choice: Clarke's Unlikely Success Against Hume." Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 84 (2002): 297-318.
  • "Justice, Community and Public Reason." Debates sobre la Justicia. Ed. Elisabetta Di Castro and Paulette Dieterlen. México: IIF, UNAM, 2002.
  • "Justice and Communitarian Identity Politics." The Journal of Value Inquiry 35 (2001): 71-93.
  • "On Tolerating the Unreasonable" (with Lionel McPherson). The Journal of Political Philosophy 9 (2001): 38-55. Reprinted in John Rawls: Critical Assessments of Leading Political Philosophers. Ed. Chandran Kukathas. New York: Routledge Press, 2002.
  • "Rawls Recente." Filosofia e Questioni Pubbliiche 6 (2001): 163-172.
  • "Habermas on Moral Justification." Social Theory and Practice 26 (2000): 223-249.
  • "Personal Concern." Canadian Journal of Philosophy 30 (2000): 115-136.
  • "La Responsabilita Internazionale per i Diritti Umani." Paradigmi 18 (2000): 43-57.
  • Editor. John Rawls. Justice as Fairness: A Restatement. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001.
  • Book review. Hans Oberdiek. Tolerance: Between Forbearance and Acceptance. The Philosophical Review 112 (2003): 266-269.
  • Book review. John Rawls. A Theory of Justice, Revised Edition. The Philosophical Review 110 (2001): 421-425.
  • Book review. Philip Pettit. Republicanism. The Philosophical Review 108 (1999): 90-93.
  • Book note. Jennifer Herdt. Religion and Faction in Hume's Moral Philosophy. Ethics 109 (1999): 696.