MacArthur Fellows Program

Thomas M. Scanlon

Philosopher | Class of 1993

Cambridge, Massachusetts
53 at time of award
Area of Focus
Published July 1, 1993

About Thomas' Work

Thomas Scanlon, a scholar in the areas of moral and political philosophy, has made significant contributions to general legal theory and American constitutional law.

Scanlon examines the moral and political intersection of such values as freedom and free speech, equality and distribution according to need, free will and moral responsibility, and the significance of choice.  He has published papers on conceptions of welfare and theories of justice, in addition to foundational questions in moral theory.  He is a founding editor of Philosophy and Public Affairs, and his numerous articles on moral and political philosophy have appeared in many publications, including Philosophy and Phenomenological Research and the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society.  He is the author of the book, What We Owe to Each Other (1998), and of The Difficulty of Tolerance (2003), a collection of papers on political theory.


Scanlon is the Alford Professor of Natural Religion, Moral Philosophy, and Civil Polity at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1984.  Previously, he taught at Princeton University (1966-84).

Scanlon received an A.B. (1962) from Princeton University, studied at Brasenose College, the University of Oxford (1962-63), and received a Ph.D. (1968) from Harvard University.

Last updated January 1, 2005

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