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Fabienne Peter


I am a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick, specializing in political philosophy, moral philosophy, and social and political epistemology. I served as Head of Department from 2017 to 2020.

Before coming to Warwick in 2004, I taught at the University of Basel. Prior to that, I was a postdoc at the Harvard School of Public Health, where I worked with Sudhir Anand and Amartya Sen on a project on justice in health. In 1997, I was a Hoover Fellow at the Université Catholique de Louvain. I have also held visiting positions in the philosophy departments at Harvard and at the Research School of Social Sciences at ANU.

I am a past editor of Economics and Philosophy  and a past associate editor of the Journal of Applied Philosophy.


I have written extensively on political legitimacy. I am interested in the question of what, if anything, justifies democracy. I have published a book on Democratic Legitimacy and I am the author of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on “Political Legitimacy”.

One of my current research projects focuses on the normative foundations of conceptions of political legitimacy. I started this project when I held a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship in 2010/11. A key question this project explores is how expertise bears on the justification of political decisions. The project has led to papers on a range of topics in political epistemology (see my list of publications). I’m currently consolidating this line of research by writing a book on The Grounds of Political Legitimacy.

Relatedly, I’m also currently involved in an AHRC-funded collaborative research project on Norms for the New Public Sphere. The project explores the norms that can underpin the regulation of social media platforms in relation to their increasingly important role in political debate. The project covers both epistemic norms and participation norms for political debate.

Another cluster of research projects focuses on issues in meta-ethics and in social epistemology. This strand of my research focuses on reasons for action and for belief, and on questions such as the following. How much trust in our epistemic capacities and in our moral capacities is warranted? How should we respond to disagreements, including to political disagreements? What are the limits of reason-based justification for our actions?

Recent Publications (full list)

More comprehensive lists of publications are available here:


  • Introduction to Philosophy
  • Ethics
  • Contemporary Political Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Social Science
  • Philosophy and Economics (with Peter Hammond)
  • Topics in Moral and Political Philosophy (MA module)
  • Democratic Legitimacy and Justification (MA module, with Matthew Clayton)

Interviews, Blog Posts, and Podcasts

Further Links


Email: f.peter at warwick
Office: Department of Philosophy, Social Sciences Building, S2.57
Advice and feedback hours: by appointment