Assistant Professor

Pick Hall 515
773 834 8616

Chiara Cordelli is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and the College at the University of Chicago. During 2017-18 she will be a faculty fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. Her main areas of research are political philosophy and applied ethics, with a particular focus on theories of justice, egalitarianism, normative defenses of the state, the public/private distinction in liberal theory, and the ethics of philanthropy and assistance. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Ethics, the Journal of Political PhilosophyJournal of PoliticsPolitical TheoryPolitical StudiesBritish Journal of Political Science, and Critical Review of Social and Political Philosophy, as well as in several edited volumes, including NOMOS. One of her articles, “Justice as Fairness and Relational Resources” was included in the 2016 Philosopher’s Annual. She is also the co-editor of Philanthropy in Democratic Societies (University of Chicago Press, 2017). 

At the moment she is working on a book, provisionally entitled Privatizing Justice. The book argues that privatization, as experienced in many contemporary democracies, constitutes a return (albeit partial) to the Kantian state of nature and, as such, poses a fundamental threat to political legitimacy. After providing a non-instrumental account of the ethical limits of privatization and of the way privatization has transformed the modern state, the book develops principles of justice and legitimacy for contexts where both the funding and the provision of justice-required goods are increasingly privatized. 

Cordelli earned her BA from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” and her PhD from University College London. Before joining Chicago, she was a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University and a lecturer (assistant professor) at the University of Exeter (UK). She held visiting positions at the Library of Congress in D.C., the Center for Human Values at Princeton, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford and the Center for Ethics at Harvard. 

Selected Publications:

  • “Prospective Duties and the Demands of Beneficence,” Ethics 128, no. 2 (January 2018): 373-401.
  • “Philanthropy in Democratic Societies” (co-edited with Rob Reich and Lucy Bernholz), the University of Chicago Press, 2016. (Reviewed in the Wall Street Journal)
  • “Democratizing Organized Religion,” Journal of Politics, forthcoming 2017.
  • “Cultural Proceduralism, Cultural Preservation, and Children’s Education,” Political Theory, forthcoming 2017 (essay for symposium on Alan Patten’s Equal Recognition).
  • “Neutrality of What?” Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, forthcoming 2017.
  • “Justice Below the State: Civil Society as a Site of Justice,” British Journal of Political Science, 2016.
  • “Justice as Fairness and Relational Resources,” Journal of Political Philosophy, 2015. (Selected by the Philosopher’s Annual as one of the ten best articles published in all philosophy in 2015).
  • “Distributive Justice and the Problem of Friendship,” Political Studies, 2015.
  • “The Institutional Division of Labor and the Egalitarian Obligations of Nonprofits,” Journal of Political Philosophy, 2012.
  • “Philanthropy and Intergenerational Justice” (with Rob Reich), in Axel Gosseries and Iñigo González-Ricoy (eds.), Institutions for Future Generations, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.
  • “Privatization Without Profit?” In Jack Knight and Melissa Schwartzberg (eds.), Nomos LVII: Privatization, New York University Press, 2017.
  • “Reparative Justice and the Moral Limits of Discretionary Philanthropy,” in Reich, Cordelli, and Bernholz (eds.), Philanthropy in Democratic Societies, (winner of the Midwest Political Science Association's 2017 Review of Politics Award).

Curriculum Vitae