Professor Paul Kelly

Photo of Paul kelly

Professor of Political Philosophy

Office: COL1.01, Columbia House
Tel:+44 (0)20 7955 7190


Paul Kelly joined the LSE in 1995 after teaching for five years at the University of Wales Swansea. Prior to that he held a visiting research fellowship at the University of Chicago Law School and at the Bentham Project, University College London. He graduated from York University with a First in Philosophy and an MA in Political Theory. His PhD is from the University of London, where he spent two years at LSE and a further year at UCL. He is currently editor of the Journal Utilitas.

Research Interests

  • British political theory from the Seventeenth century to the present, especially the political philosophies of John Locke, Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill
  • Liberal Political Philosophy, especially the work of Ronald Dworkin and Brian Barry
  • Multiculturalism
  • Group rights and national identity
  • Equality of outcomes and equality of opportunity
  • Theories of social justice

Featured Book

British Political TheoryBritish Political Theory in the Twentieth Century (Wiley/Blackwell 2010)

A selection of writings from great British political theorists of the twentieth century. These essays illustrate the variety and development of British Political Theory from Idealism to contemporary mulitculturalism and pluralism. They trace the development and transformation of political theory as it follows developments in British politics. The book begins with and interprepative essay that examiners the way in which political theory has been practised and explores the reasons for its transformation. The main body of the text comprises essays and selections from some of the greatest names of British political thought and political science including Bosanquet, Hobhouse, Laski, Cole, Oakeshott, Berlin, Hart and Barry to Carole Pateman, Anne Philips and David Miller among contemporaries. The selection and the interpretive essay show how the development of political theory follows the rise, transformation and challenge to the notion of the British state in the twentieth century.

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Intergenerational justice
Kelly, Paul (2015) Intergenerational justice. In: Wright, James D., (ed.) International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. Elsevier, London, UK, pp. 396-401. ISBN 9780080970875

Liberalism and nationalism
Kelly, Paul (2015) Liberalism and nationalism. In: Wall, Steven, (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Liberalism. Cambridge Companions to Philosophy. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 329-351. ISBN 9781107439412

Political philosophy and the attraction of realism
Kelly, Paul (2015) Political philosophy and the attraction of realism. Global Discourse: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Current Affairs and Applied Contemporary Thought, 5 (2). pp. 191-203. ISSN 2326-9995

Armitage on Locke on international theory: the two treatises of government and the right of intervention
Kelly, Paul (2014) Armitage on Locke on international theory: the two treatises of government and the right of intervention. History of European Ideas, 41 (1). pp. 49-61. ISSN 0191-6599

Multiculturalism in British political theory: a genealogy
Kelly, Paul (2013) Multiculturalism in British political theory: a genealogy. In: Kelly, Paul and Sato, Seishi, (eds.) Studies in Contemporary British Political Thought: Between Pluralism and Multiculturalism. Waseda University Press, Tokyo, Japan, pp. 259-297. ISBN 9784657130051

Go to LSE Research Online for full publications archive