I was initially trained in philosophy at Selwyn College, Cambridge and in politics at Balliol College, Oxford, and after spells teaching at the Universities of Lancaster and East Anglia, I was appointed to an Official Fellowship at Nuffield College in 1979. I am affiliated to the University’s Department of Politics and International Relations, and to the Faculty of Philosophy, and between 2012-2014 I was on partial secondment to the Blavatnik School of Government to co-ordinate the Foundations component of the Master of Public Policy course.
What is perhaps most distinctive about my work is its use of evidence from the social sciences to inform debates in political philosophy. My longest standing interest is in the idea of justice, originally social justice but now also global justice. I have published three books about this: Social Justice (Clarendon Press, 1976), Principles of Social Justice (Harvard University Press, 1999) and most recently a collection of essays, Justice for Earthlings (Cambridge University Press, 2013). During the 1980s I worked on the idea of market socialism and published a book defending that system, Market, State, and Community (Clarendon Press, 1989). This led me to ask questions about the kind of political community within which policies of social justice could be pursued, leading to a sustained engagement with ideas of nationality and citizenship, including On Nationality (Clarendon Press, 1995) and Citizenship and National Identity (Polity Press, 2000). In the 2000s I have combined work on national issues with work on global issues. My work on global justice was published as National Responsibility and Global Justice (2007). More recently I have worked on issues connected to immigration, publishing Strangers in Our Midst: the political philosophy of immigration in 2016, and an edited collection with Christine Straehle on The Political Philosophy of Refuge in 2020. I have also continued to write about national identity, territory and self-determination: for a full listing of my book and article publications, please click on my c.v. link to the right.
I live in Oxford close to the college, and have three young adult children, plus two small grandsons. Apart from these, my greatest loves are classical music, walking in mountains or by the sea, and watching England win at rugby football.