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Anthony R. Reeves

Chair and Associate Professor



Reeves works primarily on topics in philosophy of law, political philosophy and ethical theory. Much of his work has centered on questions of authority and the proper shape of legal reasoning. Part of his interest is in what official responsibility looks like in non-ideal, partially unjust legal systems, but he is also guided by a sense that what drives intractable debates about legal interpretation are different sensibilities about the legitimizing role of the rule of law. Reeves has also tried to articulate a general account of practical authority relevant to legal environments: Authoritative directives are normally semantic routes to what we are duty-bound to pursue (they need not, as Raz held, involve exclusionary reasons). His work in international criminal law tries to help us understand jurisdictional questions (and universal jurisdiction, in particular), and what is important about prosecuting grave international crimes.

In addition to the above, he has active interests in questions regarding human rights, risk, contractualism, due process and public justification. Part of what unifies his interest is a nexus of issues about what the normative (moral, social, legal) environment must look like to enable an agential, evaluatively-engaged, dignified stance towards one’s ends. Facing certain risks undermines the justification of hope. Being denied due process vitiates one’s sense of claimancy, which further threatens one’s sense of evaluative authority. Living in a social environment expressively indifferent to a serious wrong one is victim of enervates. These sorts of matters are a large part of his current focus.

Selected publications

  • “Human Rights as Protections Against Rational Despair,” Journal of Social Philosophy 54:2 (2023): 169-182.
  • “Impunity and Hope,” Ratio Juris 32:4 (2019): 415-438.
  • “Liability to International Prosecution: The Nature of Universal Jurisdiction,” European Journal of International Law 28:4 (2017): 1047-1067.
  • “Responsibility Allocation and Human Rights,” Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20:3 (2017): 627-642
  • “Practical Reason and Legality: Instrumental Authority without Exclusion,” Law and Philosophy 34:3 (2015): 257-298.


  • BA, University of Portland
  • PhD, Boston University

Research Interests

  • Philosophy of law
  • Social and political philosophy
  • Ethics

More Info

Anthony Reeves personal site