Richard W. Miller


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I am a Professor in the Philosophy Department at Cornell University and Director of the Program on Ethics and Public Life. My main interest is social and political philosophy. My writing and teaching on social justice concern the moral significance of economic inequality, the nature and implications of democratic values and the proper political role of evaluations of ways of life. I address these issues in a book that I am writing, The Ethics of Social Democracy, arguing that political choice should be based on impartial concern for people's wellbeing and not on precepts of fairness that have become the standard moral foundations among philosophical social democrats. My writing and teaching on international justice concern such topics as duties to help the global poor, the moral status of patriotism and of special duties toward compatriots, moral problems of globalization and global climate change, the ethics of war, and the moral implications of American power. My emphasis is on how transnational relationships of power shape political responsibilities, the theme of my book, Globalizing Justice: The Ethics of Poverty and Power (2010). The rise of China has also influenced my work, including the construction of a set of videos, "Where Is China Headed?", and a book published in Chinese in Beijing, Equality, Democracy and National Sovereignty: Reconciling East and West (2016).





平等,民主,与国家主权:东西方的和解  [Equality, Democracy and National Sovereignty: Reconciling East and West] (Beijing: People's Publishing House, 2016).

Globalizing Justice: The Ethics of Poverty and Power (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010). (table of contents and introduction)


Moral Differences: Truth, Justice and Conscience in a World of Conflict (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992.)

Fact and Method: Explanation, Confirmation and Reality in the Natural and the Social Sciences (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987.)

Analyzing Marx: Morality, Power and History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984.)


"Michael Blake's Border Controls," Ethics & International Affairs 29 (2015): 289-99.

"Civilian Deaths and American Power" in Matthew Evangelista and Henry Shue, eds., The American Way of Bombing: Changing Ethical and Legal Norms, from Flying Fortresses to Drones (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2014), pp.158-71.

"政治平等如何重要" (Chinese translation of "How Does Political Equality Matter?"), Marxism & Reality (Beijing), 24 (2014): 157-65.

"From Rationality to Equality: Three Stages of Doubt," Journal of Ethics 18 (2014): 253-64.

“The Cosmopolitanism Controversy Needs a Mid-Life Crisis,” in Gillian Brock, ed., Cosmopolitanism versus Non-Cosmopolitanism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 272-93.

"Global Poverty and Global Inequality" in Jon Mandle and David Reidy, eds., A Companion to Rawls (Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), pp. 361-77.

“Global Needs and Special Relationships” in David Grusky and Tamar Kricheli-Katz, eds., The New Gilded Age (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012), pp. 39-60.

“Rawls and Global Justice: A Dispute over a Kantian Legacy,” Philosophical Forum 43 (2012): 297-309.

“The Ethics of America’s Afghan War,” Ethics & International Affairs 25 (2011): 103-131. (pdf)

“Rawls and Global Justice: A Dispute over a Legacy,” The Monist 94 (2011): 466-88. (pdf)

“Might Still Distorts Right: Perils of the Rule of Law Project” in James Fleming, ed.,  Getting to the Rule of Law, Nomos L  (New York: New York University Press, 2011). (pdf)

“How Global Inequality Matters,” Journal of Social Philosophy 42 (2011): 88-98

“Relationships of Equality: A Camping Trip Revisited,” Journal of Ethics 14 (2010).  (pdf)

 “The Interest of the Governed and the Interests of Humanity: The Moral Importance of Borders,” Boston University Law Review 90 (2010): 1785-1804.

Contribution to forum, “Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan,” Boston Review January/February (2010). (pdf)

"Global Power and Economic Justice" in Charles Beitz and Robert Goodin, eds. Global Basic Rights (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).

"Unlearning American Patriotism," Theory and Research in Education 5 (2007): 7-21. (pdf)

"Global Institutional Reform and Global Social Movements: From False Promise to Realistic Hope," Cornell International Law Journal 39 (2006): 501-14. (pdf)

"The Critique of Globalization" in Matthias Fritsch and Michel Seymour, eds., Reason and Emancipation: Essays on the Philosophy of Kai Nielsen (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2006), pp. 330-9.

"Terrorism and Legitimacy," Journal of Social Philosophy 36 (2005): 194-201.

"Beneficence, Duty and Distance," Philosophy & Public Affairs 32 (2004): 357-83. (pdf)

"Cosmopolitanism and Its Limits," Theoria (South Africa), 104 (2004): 38-53.

"Moral Closeness and World Community" in Deen Chatterjee, ed., The Ethics of Assistance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.), pp. 101-22.

"Terrorism, War and Empire" in James Sterba, ed., Terrorism and International Justice (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.), pp. 186-205.

"Respectable Oppressors, Hypocritical Liberators," in Deen Chatterjee and Donald Scheid, eds., Ethics and Foreign Intervention, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 215-50.

"Marxism and Capitalism" in R.G. Frey and Christopher Wellman, eds., Blackwell Companion to Applied Ethics (Oxford: Blackwell, 2003), pp. 62-74.

"Too Much Inequality," Social Philosophy and Policy, 19 (2002): 275-313. This issue was also published as Ellen Paul, ed., Should Differences in Income and Wealth Matter? (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.)

"Marx's Legacy" in Robert Simon, ed., Blackwell Companion to Political Philosophy (Oxford: Blackwell, 2001), pp. 131-53.

"Moral Contractualism and Moral Sensitivity," Social Theory and Practice, 28 (2002): 193-220.

"International Justice" in Neil Smelser and Paul Baltes, eds., International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2001), pp. 7780-86.

"Nationalist Morality and Crimes Against Humanity" in Aleksandar Jokic, ed., War Crimes and Collective Wrongdoing (Oxford: Blackwell, 2001), pp. 143-62.

"Cosmopolitan Respect and Patriotic Concern," Philosophy & Public Affairs 27 (1998): 202-24. Subsequently anthologized.

See CV for older articles


"Where Is China Headed?" (Website)

Some Recent Courses

Philosophy 3460, Modern Political Philosophy (regularly taught): an intermediate level course on theories of justice. (Syllabus)


Philosophy 4470/6430, Social and Political Philosophy (Spring 2016), a seminar on inequalities (Syllabus)


Philosophy 1930, Equality, Liberty and Democracy (Spring 2015), an introductory course combining philosophy and social science (Syllabus)


Dept. of Philosophy
Goldwin Smith Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
office: 329 Goldwin Smith Hall

rwm5 at