Frank Lovett

Professor of Political Science
Professor of Philosophy, by courtesy
Director of Undergraduate Studies in Political Science
Director of Legal Studies
PHD, Columbia University
MA/MPhil, Columbia University
BA, Princeton University
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    contact info:

    office hours:

    • Tuesday and Wednesday
    • 1:00 - 2:00 PM

    mailing address:

    • Washington University
    • MSC 1063-228-207
    • One Brookings Drive
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    Professor Lovett's primary research concerns the role of freedom and domination in developing theories of justice, equality, and the rule of law.

    Frank Lovett is an associate professor of political science and director of Legal Studies. He received his PhD in Political Science from Columbia University in 2004, and prior to coming to Washington University he held a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Clinical Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health. From 2008-2009 he was Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Fellow, University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. His primary research concerns the role of freedom and domination in developing theories of justice, equality, and the rule of law. Among the core political theory faculty, he teaches courses in normative political theory and the history of political thought.


      • APSA Foundations Best First Book Prize in Political Theory (2011), for A General Theory of Domination and Justice.
      • Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Fellowship, Princeton University Center for Human Values (2008-2009)
      The Well-Ordered Republic

      The Well-Ordered Republic

      Classical and contemporary republicans offer a compelling political vision built on a commitment to promoting freedom from domination, establishing popular control over public officials, and securing the empire of law. The Well-Ordered Republic provides the most rigorous, comprehensive, and up-to-date account of republican political theory presently available, while also showing how that theory can be extended to address new issues of economic justice, workplace democracy, identity politics, emergency powers, education, migration, and foreign policy. Frank Lovett argues that our shared freedom from domination is constituted by republican institutions such as democracy, the rule of law, and the public provision of an unconditional basic income. As a public good whose continued supply depends on robust civic engagement, republican freedom is a valuable but ongoing collective achievement: all citizens must remain dedicated to shared republican institutions for their freedom to endure.

      A General Theory of Domination and Justice

      A General Theory of Domination and Justice

      In all societies, past and present, many persons and groups have been subject to domination. Properly understood, domination is a great evil, the suffering of which ought to be minimized so far as possible. Surprisingly, however, political and social theorists have failed to provide a detailed analysis of the concept of domination in general. This study aims to redress this lacuna. It argues first, that domination should be understood as a condition experienced by persons or groups to the extent that they are dependent on a social relationship in which some other person or group wields arbitrary power over them; this is termed the 'arbitrary power conception' of domination. It argues second, that we should regard it as wrong to perpetrate or permit unnecessary domination and, thus, that as a matter of justice the political and social institutions and practices of any society should be organized so as to minimize avoidable domination; this is termed 'justice as minimizing domination', a conception of social justice that connects with more familiar civic republican accounts of freedom as non-domination. In developing these arguments, this study employs a variety of methodological techniques--including conceptual analysis, formal modelling, social theory, and moral philosophy; existing accounts of dependency, power, social convention, and so on are clarified, expanded, or revised along the way. While of special interest to contemporary civic republicans, this study should appeal to a broad audience with diverse methodological and substantive interests.

      Rawls's 'A Theory of Justice': A Reader's Guide

      Rawls's 'A Theory of Justice': A Reader's Guide

      John Rawls's A Theory of Justice, first published in 1971, is arguably the most important work of moral and political philosophy of the twentieth century. A staple on undergraduate courses in political theory, it is a classic text in which Rawls makes an astonishing contribution to political and moral thought