BSc and BA (Bucharest); MA and PhD (Manchester); FHEA

I joined the Philosophy Programme in SPIRE in August 2007, after having studied, taught and researched for several years at the University of Bucharest (Philosophy Faculty) and Manchester University (in Philosophy and the Centre for Political Theory).

Currently I am completing a monograph on A Responsibility-enhancing Desert-sensitive Theory of Justice. The next big writing project will be a monograph on Kant's idea of perpetual peace. Apart from contemporary analytic moral and political philosophy and Kantian political thought, I continue to work on issues in metaphysics (in particular freedom and determinism, space and time, the nature of transcendental idealism), epistemology (the ethics of belief and the nature of justification) and history of philosophy (phenomenology and existentialism).

I am Director of the Keele-Oxford-St Andrews Kantian (KOSAK) Research Centre, Distinguished Research Fellow at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Oxford University, and Chair of the Steering Committee of the European Consortium for Political Research's Kantian Standing Group.

I held visiting positions at the University of Sheffield (Visiting Researcher: Fall 2019/10), University of Vienna (Senior Postdoctoral Researcher: 2013/14, and Non-stipendiary Guest Research Professor at the ERC "Distortions of Normativity" Advanced Grant: 2013/15), Oxford University - the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics (Non-stipendiary Academic Research Scholar: Summer 2014 and January-July 2018) and the University of Warwick (Visiting Professor: January-July 2018).

Research and scholarship

Main areas of research interest:

  • Kantian Philosophy (Kant's philosophy, all areas, and contemporary Kantians)
  • Normativity (in ethics, aesthetics, political philosophy and epistemology)
  • Metaphysics (especially personal identity, freedom and determinism, space and time, transcendental idealism)
  • Justice and Desert (debates between egalitarians, desert theorists, need theorists and supporters of other accounts of justice)
  • Phenomenology (history of phenomenology, particularly Sartre)

I welcome inquiries about potential supervision of postgraduate research in any of these areas. For information on topics I currently supervise, please click here.



Year 1: How to Think (Introduction to Logic); Philosophy and Film (NEW MODULE!)

Year 2: Philosophy of Religion

Year 3: Philosophy of Art

Masters: Philosophy of the Social Sciences, Metaphilosophy

Further information



"...teeming with intellectual originality and philosophical insights... it will doubtlessly stimulate the reader into looking into aspects of these authors' thought in a different light. (Christian Onof, book review in Kantian Review 18(2):323-28)

A “clear, forcefully argued work” of “considerable originality… the first study to attempt to show flaws in Sartre's understanding of Kant, which will be of great interest – and possibly controversy – among Sartre scholars". (Anonymous Reviewer from the Press)

The book was launched by the Forum for European Philosophy at the Faculty of Philosophy, the University of Oxford, in May 2012. Click here to listen to the event.

Two critical essays to which I am in the process of responding can be found here:

Essay by Christian Skirke
Essay by Sacha Golob

"Starting from an original comparative methodology this first book-length comparative study challenges the standard view of the relationship between Kant's and Sartre's ethical theories. While their works in moral philosophy are usually contrasted, this book makes a case for regarding Kant as one of Sartre's most important predecessors and for reading Sartre's ethical writings as offering a practical philosophy which is closer to Kant than more recent Kantian moral theories are. On the basis of the similarities between their practical philosophies, the author argues that several aspects of Kant's critical ethics, which have been overlooked or explicitly avoided by contemporary Kantians, can be retrieved and are essential for an appropriate approach to currently urgent normative problems, such as the problem of the justification of ethical and political norms in conditions of pluralism". (Palgrave Press Release)

Edited Collections

This edited volume examines concepts of sincerity in politics and international relations in order to discuss what we should expect of politicians, within what parameters they should work, and how their decisions and actions could be made consistent with morality.

The volume features an international cast of authors who specialize in the topic of sincerity in politics and international relations. Looking at how sincerity bears on political actions, practices, and institutions at national and international level, the introduction serves to place the chapters in the context of ongoing contemporary debates on sincerity in politics and international theory.  Each chapter focuses on a contemporary issue in politics and international relations, including corruption, public hypocrisy, cynicism, trust, security, policy formulation and decision-making, political apology, public reason, political dissimulation, denial and self-deception, and will argue against the background of a Kantian view of sincerity as unconditional.

Offering a significant comprehensive outlook on the practical limits of sincerity in political affairs, this work will be of great interest to both students and scholars.

Contributors: Esther Abin, Pamela Sue Anderson, Sorin Baiasu, Anders Berg-Sørensen, Zsolt Boda, Simone Cheli, Mark Evans, Enrico Zoffoli, Catherine Guisan, Marguerite La Caze, Sylvie Loriaux, Doron Navot and Glen Newey.


Comparing Kant and Sartre For a long time, commentators viewed Sartre simply as one of Kant's significant twentieth-century critics. Recent research of their philosophies has discovered that Sartre's relation to Kant's work manifests an 'anxiety of influence', which masks more profound similarities. This volume of newly written comparative essays is the first edited collection on the philosophies of Kant and Sartre. The volume focuses on issues in metaphysics, metaethics and metaphilosophy, and explores the similarities and differences between the two authors, as well as the complementarity of some of their views, particularly on autonomy, happiness, self-consciousness, evil, temporality, imagination and the nature of philosophy.

"...the collection provides an important resource for those interested in the connections between Kant and Sartre, and does an excellent job of showing the continuities in thought, and influences of Kant on Sartre." (Henry Somers-Hall, book review in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews)

"...Sartre’s metaphysical system inherits from Kant what we might call the problem of the subject [...]. Comparing Kant and Sartre’s most relevant contribution to Kant scholarship is therefore its compelling demonstration of how Kant’s commitment to the primacy of practical reason in self-constitution and objections levelled by critical philosophy against reifying and substantializing takes on subjectivity found new life in the work of Jean-Paul Sartre, whose existentialism pushed these Kantian themes in ever more concrete directions.

Contributors: Justin Alam, Richard Aquila, Sorin Baiasu, Jochen Bojanovschy, Michelle Darnell, Thomas Flynn, Jonathan Head, Daniel Herbert,  Katherine Morris, Christian Onof, Peter Poellner, Leslie Stevenson, Anna Tomaszewska and Alberto Vanzo.


This volume of new essays provides a comprehensive and structured examination of Kantian accounts of practical justification. This examination serves as a starting point for a focused investigation of the Kantian approach to justification in practical disciplines (ethics, legal and political philosophy or philosophy of religion).

The recent growth of literature on this subject is not surprising given that Kant's approach seems so promising: he claims to be able to justify unconditional normative claims without recourse to assumptions, views or doctrines, which are not in their turn justifiable. Within the context of modern pluralism, this is exactly what the field needs: an approach which can demonstrably show why certain normative claims are valid, and why the grounds of these claims are valid in their turn, and why the freedom to question them should not be stifled.

Although this has been a growth area in philosophy, no systematic and sustained study of the topic of practical justification in Kantian philosophy has been undertaken so far. With fourteen original chapters and an introduction from leading researchers in the field, this volume addresses this neglected topic. The starting point is the still-dominant view that a successful account of justification of normative claims has to be non-metaphysical. The essays engage with this dominant view and pursue further implications in ethics, legal and political philosophy, as well as philosophy of religion.

Throughout the essays, the contributors bring into contact with contemporary debates key interpretive questions about Kant's views on practical justification. (OUP Presentation)


"This excellent volume is a welcome and quite distinctive addition to political philosophy generally as well as to our understanding of Kant and Kantian approaches to political problems. The book's thirteen essays, including a substantive editors' introduction, collectively serve to probe the importance of metaphysics for grounding political principles and applying those principles to concrete political and moral issues in the contemporary context of pluralism and diversity". (Mark Timmons, University of Arizona)

 "The past three decades have witnessed the emergence, at the forefront of political thought, of several Kantian theories. Both the critical reaction to consequentialism inspired by Rawlsian constructivism and the universalism of more recent theories informed by Habermasian discourse ethics trace their main sources of inspiration back to Kant's writings. Yet much of what is Kantian in contemporary theory is formulated with more or less strict caveats concerning Kant's metaphysics. These range from radical claims that theories of justice must be political, not metaphysical, to more cautious calls for replacing Kant's metaphysics with a more modest ontology, for instance, one informed by the relatively recent linguistic turn in philosophy. The volume will consist of thirteen state-of-the-art essays which explore the relationship between politics and metaphysics in Kant and Kantian political philosophy. All essays will be published for the first time in this volume and will be preceded by an Introduction from the editors. Given the current legitimation crisis of modern liberal democracies, the purpose of the collection as a whole is to revisit the question concerning the role of metaphysics in moral and political philosophy and to suggest new perspectives on the question of legitimation." (UW Press Release)

Conference Participation

For an almost complete list, see my presentations.


PhD Supervision

Current (as lead supervisor):

  • PhD:
    • John Wootton: Virtue Ethics and Process Philosophy: Facing the Current Environmental Crisis
    • Amy Kings: An Alternative Conception of the Kantian Sublime (AHRC Studentship)
    • Joanne Moore: Spiritual Philosophy, Practices and Transcendent Experience in Ancient Greece and India: Attaining Liberation
    • Helen O'Neill-Adkins: Self and Authenticity: Individual, Societal and Religious Implications
    • Gabriel Skordilis: The Ethical Implications of Aristotle's Cosmology (partly funded by the KOSAK Research Centre)
    • Aaran Burns: De Jure Objections (AHRC Studentship - co-supervision with Manchester University)
    • Sebastian Orlander: The Concept of World in Kant and Post-Kantian Philosophy (APRA Foundation & Faculty Studentship)
    • Christopher Murphy: The Normativity of Emotions (AHRC Studentship - co-supervision with Manchester University)
  • MPhil:

    • Christopher Wilton: Pragmatic Normative Decision-making in Politicised Public Debates
    • Anne-Elizabeth de Merode: Commitment in Sartre's Theory of Literature
    • Marsejl Dhima: Nietzsche's Existential Social Engineering and Popper's Open Society
    • Richard Burnham: Critical Examination of Popper's Account of Scientific Theory

Completed (as lead supervisor):

  • PhD:
    • Jonathan Head: The Religious Framework of Kant's Philosophy: Practical Knowledge, Evil and Religious Faith
  • MPhil:
    • Phil Matthews: The Moral Argument for the Existence of God
    • Aaran Burns: The Appearance of God:A Defence of the Argument from Religious Experience
    • Christopher Murphy: Max Scheler's Ethics and the Problem of Normativity
  • MRes:
    • Arran Goodfellow: Metaphysical Assumptions of Natural Law

Further information is available about studying in SPIRE, including funding available for pursuing a doctoral research degree.

Selected Research Grants

  • 2013-2015: Marie Curie Intraeuropean Fellowship: "A Kantian Approach to Current Tensions Between Modern Law and Religious Commitments" (as Scientist in Charge)
  • 2013-2014: ERC Advanced Grant "Distortions of Normativity" (as Senior Visiting Researcher and Honorary professor)
  • 2015-2019: British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship: "Dealing Ethically with Conflicts between Deep Commitments: A Dual Critical-Hermeneutic Account" (as Co-holder)

School of Social Sciences
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Keele University
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Tel: +44 (0) 1782 734346

Undergraduate and postgraduate enquiries
Tel: +44 (0) 1782 734346