Laurence Thomas

Professor, Political Science and Philosophy

Laurence Thomas

Contact Information

508 Eggers Hall


Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 1976


Political theory, foundations of moral character


American Slavery and the Holocaust
Political Theory

Area: Political Theory, Social Philosophy 


“Upside-Down Equality: A Response to Kantian Thought,” Michael Levine and Tamas Pataki (eds.), Racism, Philosophy and Mind: Philosophical Explanations of Racism and Its Implications (Cornell University Press, 2003)

“Forgivng the Unforgivable, Eve Garrard & Geoffrey Scare (eds.),” MORAL PHILOSOPHY AND THE HOLOCAUST (Ashgate Press, 2002): ms. 50 pp.

The Moral Self in the Face of Injustice, James Sterba (ed.) Liberal Thought (Routledge, 2001)

“Autonomie,” Dictionnaire d’Ethique et de Philosophie Morale, 3rd édition (Presses Universitaires de France, 2000): 121-124.

“Trusting Under Pressure,” Mt. Sinai Journal of Medicine (1999): 223-228.

Research Interests

In the area of political philosophy, primary research interests includes (a) conceptualizing the motivational structure of moral and political behavior and (b) identifying the ways in which the self-identify of individuals is formed and maintained. Models are often applied to particular instances of egregious behavior such as American Slavery or the Holocaust.

Research Projects

Book on family and political philosophy, to be published by Cambridge University Press. Noting that the desire to have children transcends all human social categories, the book aims to show that having children speaks to a very deep altruistic impulse among human beings – an impulse which is ignored by much of political philosophy which for theoretical elegance insists upon characterizing human beings as relentlessly self-interested.

Editing an anthology in social philosophy for Blackwell Publishers. This collection will discuss some of the central social issues of the time, and will include some of the most distinguished thinkers in the area. G. A. Cohen of Oxford will contribute an essay on Freedom and Carl Cohen of the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor will contribute an essay on affirmative action. Anne Fagot Largeault of the Collège de France will contribution an essay on abortion. There will be 20 contributers in all, including the editor.