Center Leadership

The mission of the Institute for Law and Philosophy is to advance knowledge on legal topics of philosophical significance, particularly those implicating moral, political and religious philosophical issues.

 Executive Directors 

Lawrence Alexander

Professor Lawrence Alexander is the Warren Distinguished Professor of Law at the USD School of Law, where he teaches and writes in the areas of constitutional law, criminal law and jurisprudence. The author or co-author of more than 250 scholarly articles, Alexander is also the author or co-author of Reflections on Crime and Culpability: Problems and Puzzles (with Kimberly Ferzan ) (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2018) and Crime and Culpability: A Theory of Criminal Law (with Ferzan, and Morse) (Cambridge University Press, 2009). Alexander serves on the editorial boards of the journals Law & PhilosophyEthicsCriminal Law and Philosophy, and the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law. He is the co-editor of the international quarterly Legal Theory.

Steven D. Smith

Professor Steven D. Smith is a Warren Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of San Diego School of Law, where he teaches and writes in the areas of law and religion, constitutional law, and torts. Smith has published multiple books including Fictions, Lies, and the Authority of Law (Notre Dame Press 2021) and The Rise and Decline of American Religious Freedom (Harvard University Press 2014). 



David O. Brink

Dept. of Philosphy – UC San Diego

David O. Brink is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and his research interests are in ethical theory, the history of ethics, moral psychology, and jurisprudence. Within the history of ethics, he is especially interested in Greek ethics, including ancient conceptions of happiness, virtue, friendship, and democracy.

Richard J. Arneson

Dept. of Philosophy – UC San Diego

Professor Richard J. Arneson is the Valtz Family Chair in Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego where he has taught since 1973. He is a political philosopher with a special interest in theories of social justice. He also does work on normative ethics including applied ethics topics. 

Matt Zwolinski

Dept. of Philsophy – USD

Matt Zwolinski, PhD, specializes in Political Philosophy and Applied Ethics. He is the director of USD’S Center for Ethics, Economics, and Public Policy and the director of USD’s undergraduate minor in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. He is the editor of Arguing About Political Philosophy (Routledge, 2014).


Affiliated Scholars

Harriet Baber
Dept. of Philosophy - USD

Saba Bazargan
Assistant Professor of Philosophy - UC San Diego

Abraham Bell
Professor of Law - USD

Laurence Claus
Professor of Law - USD

Donald Dripps
Professor of Law - USD

Miranda Perry Fleischer
Professor of Law - USD




Dov Fox
Professor of Law - USD

Dana Kay Nelkin
Dept. of Philosophy - UC San Diego

Samuel C. Rickless
Dept. of Philosophy - UC San Diego 

Connie Rosati
Dept. of Philosophy - University of Texas

Manuel Vargas
Professor of Philosophy

Chris Wonnell
Professor of Law - USD