Zofia Stemplowska

BA, MPhil, DPhil

Professor of Political Theory, DPIR
Asa Briggs Fellow, Worcester College
Political Theory Network
Worcester College
Office address
Worcester College, Oxford OX1 2HB

I joined Oxford in September 2012 from Warwick where I was Associate Professor of Political Theory. Before that I was Lecturer in Political Philosophy at Reading and at Manchester and a Barbara McCoy Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University. I studied PPE at New College and completed my MPhil and DPhil at Nuffield College. I grew up in Warsaw.

Professional Activities

Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy Subject co-Editor (Social and Political Philosophy)

Philosophy and Public Affairs Associate Editor


I am mostly interested in the problem of what people owe to each other as a matter of domestic, global and historical (post war) justice including commemoration and remembrance. I am also interested in the debate about ideal and nonideal theory: the problem of how to make theories of justice relevant to urgent, real world problems while avoiding ad hoc theorising and defeatism.

Research keywords: contemporary political philosophy, global justice, distributive justice, historical injustice, egalitarianism, responsibility and luck, collective responsibility, feasibility, migration, rights, jus post bellum, commemoration and remembrance.

View Zofia Stemplowska's personal website.


Undergraduate: tutorials in Political Theory (Prelims and the core Honours paper) and Advanced Paper in Theories of Justice.

Graduate: optional MPhil Mitigating Historical Injustice class; core MPhil/MSc Reasoning in Political Philosophy class; core MPhil/MSc Political Theory class.



Responsibility and Distributive Justice (edited with Carl Knight), Oxford University Press, 2011

Articles and chapters [other texts below]:

‘Citizens with Benefits’, the 96th Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume, forthcoming 2022.

‘Is humanity under duty to deliver socioeconomic human rights?’, Journal of Applied Philosophy, forthcoming.

The Rhodes Statue: Honour, Shame and Responsibility’, Political Quarterly 92 (2021): 629-637.

‘Substantive Responsibility and the Causal Thesis’ in M. Stepanians and M. Frauchiger (eds.), Proceedings from the Lauener Symposium on Analytical Philosophy (2021): 119–130.

‘“A Quite Similar Enterprise…Interpreted Quite Differently?” James Buchanan, John Rawls and the Politics of the Social Contract’, Modern Intellectual History 18 (2021): 1010-1033 (with Ben Jackson).

The Incentives Account of Feasibility’, Philosophical Studies 178 (2021): 2385-2401.

‘Duties to the Dead: Is Posthumous Mitigation of Injustice Possible?’, Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy 6 (2020): 32-58.

‘Coercing Compliers to Do More Than One’s Fair Share’, Zeitschrift für Ethik und Moralphilosophie 2 (2019): 147-160.

‘What is Wrong with Divinitia’ [part of a symposium on Laborde’s Liberalism’s Religion], Secular Studies 1 (2019): 104-113.

‘Remembering War’, Journal of Applied Philosophy 36 (2019): 382-390.

‘How Generous Should Egalitarians Be?’, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 22 (2019): 269-83.

‘Global Poverty’ in Catriona McKinnon, Robert Jubb, and Patrick Tomlin (eds), Issues in Political Theory, 4th edition, Oxford University Press, 2019.

‘Should Coercive Neurointerventions Target the Victims of Wrongdoing?’, in David Birks and Tom Douglas (eds.), Treatment for Crime, Oxford University Press, 2018.

‘Should I Be Proud of Liberalism with Excellence? On the Collective Grounds of Self-Respect’, American Journal of Jurisprudence 63 (2018): 81–91.

‘Dethroning Democratic Legitimacy’ (with Adam Swift), Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy 4 (2017): 3- 27.

'Feasibility: Individual and Collective', Social Philosophy & Policy 33 (2016): 273-291.

‘The Duty To Do More Than One’s Fair Share’, CRISPP, 19 (2016): 591-608.

‘Trapped in an Experience Machine with a Famous Violinist' (with Kimberley Brownlee), Adrian Blau (ed), Research Methods in Analytical Political Theory, Cambridge University Press, 2017.

‘Nonideal Theory’ in Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen, Kimberly Brownlee and David Coady (eds), A Companion to Applied Philosophy, Wiley-Blackwell, 2017.

‘Rarely Harsh and Always Fair: Luck Egalitarianism and Unhealthy Choices’ in S. Matthew Liao and Collin O’Neil (eds), Current Controversies in Bioethics, Routledge, 2017.

‘Dignified Morality’ (with Matthew Clayton), Jurisprudence 6 (2015): 309-326.

'On Frank Knight's "Freedom as Fact and Criterion"' (with Ben Jackson), Ethics 125 (2015): 552-554 [one of the short anniversary pieces].

'The Asymmetry Objection Rides Again: On the Nature and Significance of Justificatory Disagreement' (with Timothy Fowler), Journal of Applied Philosophy 32 (2015): 133-146.

‘Can Moral Desert Qualify or Justify Human Rights?’, Rowan Cruft, S. Matthew Liao and Massimo Renzo (eds), Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights, Oxford University Press, 2015, 166-176.

‘Financial Inclusion, Education and Human Rights’ (with Kimberley Brownlee), Tom Sorell and Luis Cabrera (eds), Microfinance, Rights and Global Justice Cambridge University Press, 2015, 47-62.

'Sen's Modest Justice', Jurisprudence 5 (2014): 376-384.

‘Rawls on Ideal and Nonideal Theory’ (with Adam Swift), Jon Mandle and David Reidy (eds), The Blackwell Companion to Rawls, Wiley-Blackwell, 2014, 112-127.

'Rescuing Luck Egalitarianism from History', Journal of Social Philosophy 44 (2013): 402-419.

'Harmful Choices: Scanlon and Voorhoeve on Substantive Responsibility', Journal of Moral Philosophy 10 (2013): 488-507.

‘Luck Egalitarianism’, Gerald Gaus and Fred D'Agostino (eds),The Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy, Routledge, 2012, 389-400.

'Theory, Ideal Theory and the Theory of Ideals' (with Alan Hamlin), Political Studies Review 10 (2012): 48-62.

‘Ideal and Nonideal Theory’ (with Adam Swift), David Estlund (ed), The Oxford Handbook of Political Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 2012, 373-89.

‘Responsibility and Distributive Justice’ (with Carl Knight), Responsibility and Distributive Justice, Oxford University Press, 2011, 1-23.

‘Responsibility and Respect’, Responsibility and Distributive Justice, Oxford University Press, 2011, 115-35 [but I wish I had called it 'Three Models of Responsibility Sensitive Egalitarianism'].

‘On the Real World Duties Imposed on Us by Human Rights’, Journal of Social Philosophy 40 (2009): 466-87.

‘Making Justice Sensitive to Responsibility’, Political Studies 57 (2009): 237-59.

‘What’s Ideal About Ideal Theory?’,Social Theory and Practice 34 (2008): 319-40. Re-printed in Tom D. Campbell and Alejandra Mancilla (eds), Theories of Justice, Ashgate, 2012.

‘Worth the Paper It's Written On: A Comment on Carole Pateman and Charles W. Mills's Contract and Domination’, Journal of Political Ideologies 13 (2008): 228-33.

'Holding People Responsible for What They Do Not Control', Politics, Philosophy & Economics 7 (2008): 355-77.

Some other items:

‘Among School Children’, LRB Blog, 5 May 2022

NATO Enlargement is not to Blame for Russia’s War in Ukraine’, LSE Blog, 27 April 2022

‘Are Severe Sanctions on Russia Morally Justified?’ (with Avia Pasternak), New Statesman, Agora, 19 April 2022

‘On Admitting Refugees’, Public Ethics Blog, 6 April 2022

‘A Little Town in Poland: on The Crime and The Silence by Anna Bikont', Times Literary Supplement, 15 April 2016

'Polin: A Wish to Be Remembered', Times Literary Supplement, 21 November 2014

'Dressing for History: on Warsaw Boy by Andrew Borowiec', Times Literary Supplement, 14 November 2014

'Introduction' (with Miriam Ronzoni), Symposium on G. A. Cohen's Socialism, Politics, Philosophy and Economics 13 (2014): 117-118

‘What Did the Poles Do? Jan T. Gross and the Understanding of a Nation’, Times Literary Supplement, 11 June 2012

‘Introduction’ (with Kimberley Brownlee), Symposium on Joseph Raz on Value, Reasons, and Respect, Ethics 120 (2010): 209-211

‘Ronald Dworkin’, in D. Brack and E. Randall (eds), Dictionary of Liberal Thought, Politico’s Publishing, 2007, 97-99