Samuel Freeman PhotoDepartment of Philosophy, 433 Cohen Hall, sfreeman [at] sas [dot] upenn [dot] edu (email)

Samuel Freeman works in social and political philosophy, ethics, and philosophy of law. He has written books on Liberalism and Distributive Justice (2018), Justice and the Social Contract (Oxford 2007), and on the political philosophy of John Rawls (Rawls, Routledge, 2007). He edited the Cambridge Companion to Rawls (2003), as well as John Rawls’s Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy (2007) and his Collected Papers (1999). He co-edited Reasons and Recognition: Essays on the Philosophy of T.M. Scanlon (2012). He is currently working on a manuscript on liberalism and economic justice.

Professor Freeman has taught at the University of Pennsylvania since 1985, the year he received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. John Rawls was his dissertation supervisor. Prior to graduate study, Freeman was a lawyer for two years, clerking on the U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit, and the North Carolina Supreme Court. He received both his A.B. and J.D. degrees from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Freeman regularly taught undergraduate courses at Penn until 2021, on Justice, History of Modern Political Philosophy,  philosophy of law, Philosophy and the Constitution, and periodic graduate seminars on Liberalism, Distributive Justice, Rawls, Kant’s moral philosophy, and utilitarianism.  Though he retired from full-time teaching in 2021, he continues to teach one seminar per year, until 2025. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017.

See Samuel Freeman’s recent reviews in the New York Review of Bookshere; his Google Scholar page, here; and his PhilPapers profile, here. You can download selected papers, here.


  • Avalon Professor of the Humanities Emeritus
  • Professor of Philosophy and of Law (Emeritus)

Research Interests

  • Social and Political Philosophy
  • Moral Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Law


  • Ph.D., Harvard University
  • J.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • A.B. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Service to the Profession

Editor, Oxford Political Philosophy Series, 2006-present

Editorial Board, Philosophy and Public Affairs, 2014-2022

Editorial Board, Ethics, 1996-present

Subject Editor, Political Philosophy Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2002-17

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