Rodney Peffer, PhD

Rodney Peffer
Phone: (619) 260-4092
Office: Founders Hall 169C

Professor, Philosophy

  • Ph.D., University of Arizona, Philosophy (1983)
  • M.A., University of Arizona, Philosophy (1978)
  • B.A. with Distinction, Phi Beta Kappa, Iowa State University, Distributed Studies (Philosophy, Anthropology, and English Literature) (1975)
  • In 2007 Peffer received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Philosophy & Religious Studies Department of Iowa State University

Rodney G. Peffer, PhD, is a philosopher specializing in moral, social, and political philosophy as well as a published poet, an electronic percussionist (who plays with avant-garde jazz and “new music” musicians), and a life-long activist for progressive political causes. He has taught at USD since 1986.  He has lectured in most parts of North America and Europe as well as in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean – including Cuba.  He has prominently participated in the last four World Congresses of Philosophy, which occur only once every five years.

Scholarly Work

In 1990 Peffer published Marxism, Morality, and Social Justice with Princeton University Press (translated into Turkish and published in Turkey in 2000, and translated into Chinese and soon to be published by the Higher Education Press of China). In addition, he has published various articles in such journals as Philosophy & Public Affairs (“In Defense of Rights to Well-Being,” 1978), Pacific Philosophical Quarterly (“Towards a More Adequate Rawlsian Theory of Social Justice,” 1994), Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Social Philosophy, Radical Philosophy, International Journal of Politics and Ethics, and Economics & Philosophy, as well as in various anthologies. His essay “Security and Subsistence Rights as Free Standing, Universal Rights and the Problems we face at the Start of the 21st Century” was solicited by UNESCO and published on its website in 2004.  He is currently finishing his second major work:  Global Justice, Radical Rawlsianism, and the Natural Environment.

Areas of Interest

Peffer regularly teaches Political Philosophy, Environmental Ethics, Ethics of War and Peace, various topics courses in ethics and in social and political philosophy, and philosophy of art. He also teaches a course he designed titled “Morality, Justice, and Rights” as part of USD’s M.A. program in Peace and Justice Studies.  He has team taught Honors Courses and Social Issues Courses with USD colleagues from the departments of Philosophy, Sociology, and Theology and Religious Studies as well as Introduction to Philosophy, Ethics, Ethical Theory, Philosophy of Law, Biomedical Ethics, Philosophy of Religion, Ethics & Multiculturalism, and Global Peace and Justice.