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Dr. David Lefkowitz
Associate Professor of Philosophy and Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Law (PPEL)
Dr. David Lefkowitz specializes in legal and political philosophy. Among the courses he teaches on a semi-regular basis are Philosophy of Law, Ethics and International Affairs, Philosophical Problems in Law and Society (with a focus on criminal law) and, for the PPEL Program, Theory and Public Policy (with a focus on climate change) and the PPEL Capstone (with a focus on normative theory and international law).
Dr. Lefkowitz’s research interests span three overlapping areas: (1) the morality of obedience and disobedience to law (e.g. the basis, if any, of a moral duty to obey the law, the moral justifiability of civil disobedience, the just treatment of conscientious objectors); (2) analytical and normative issues in international law (e.g. the nature of customary international law, the legitimacy of international law, the existence (or not) of an international rule of law and its implications); and (3) substantive moral questions in the conduct of international affairs (e.g. the morality of secession, the just conduct of war).
From Fall 2009 through Spring 2015 Dr. Lefkowitz served as the founding coordinator of the Program in Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law (PPEL), an interdisciplinary major with a focus on normative questions of law and public policy. During the 2016-2017 academic year Dr. Lefkowitz will be a visiting research fellow at the U.S. Naval Academy’s Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership and an Isaac Manasseh Meyer Visiting Fellow at the National University of Singapore.
Grants and Fellowships

National Endowment for the Humanities

With the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, I spent the summer and early fall of 2011 enhancing a course on the Philosophy of Crime and Punishment that I have taught for several years.  As I wrote in my application for an NEH Teaching Development Fellowship, the value of this course lies not only in its consideration of pressing moral questions regarding the justification of punishment and various features of the general part of the criminal law, but also in its use of concrete examples from the criminal law to introduce students to abstract philosophical questions concerning the nature of morally right action, responsibility, and causation.

Per the terms of the grant, I make available here a copy of the syllabus for the course along with all of the assignments I have created for it.  I welcome feedback on any or all of this material.  I thank the NEH for its support of this project; any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations contained in these materials do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Lefkowitz, David (2011) The Principle of Fairness and States' Duty to Obey International Law. Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 24:2.
Lefkowitz, David (2010) Legitimate Authority, Following Orders, and Wars of Questionable Justice. Journal of Political Philosophy 18:2.
Lefkowitz, David (2009) Partiality and Weighing Harm to Non-combatants. Journal of Moral Philosophy, 6:3.
Lefkowitz, David (2007) On a Moral Right to Civil DisobedienceEthics: An International Journal of Social, Political and Legal Philosophy 117:2.
Lefkowitz, David (2006) The Duty to Obey the Law. Philosophy Compass 1.
Lefkowitz, David (2010) The Sources of International Law: Some Philosophical Reflections. In Philosophy of International Law, eds. Samantha Besson and John Tasioulas (New York: Oxford University Press).
Lefkowitz, David (2009) Conscientious Objection. In The Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics, 2nd Edition (Oxford: Elsevier).
Lefkowitz, David (2008) Collateral Damage. In War: Essays in Political Philosophy, ed. Larry May (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
Ph.D., University of Maryland
M.A., University of Maryland
B.A., Washington University in St. Louis
Contact Information
203 North Court
(804) 287-6805
Areas of Expertise
Political Philosophy
Philosophy of Law
Ethical Theory
Applied Ethics