Bio

Eric Beerbohm is Professor of Government at Harvard University, Chair of the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies, and Co-Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics Fellows in Residence Program. His philosophical and teaching interests include democratic theory, theories of social equality, and the philosophy of social science. His latest book project, How to Gaslight Citizens, examines how politicians can target our evidence about our evidence, and concludes that this form of manipulation raises distinctively democratic worries. How can we distinguish holding "audacious beliefs" — a success condition for democratic movements — from holding beliefs that are untethered from reality? Recent papers include "The Problem of Clean Hands: Negotiated Compromise in Lawmaking," (Nomos LIX: Compromise, 2018), "The Free Provider Problem," "Must Rawlsians be Hamiltonians?American Journal of Jurisprudence,  "The Ethics of Electioneering," "The Common Good: A Buck-Passing Account"  (Journal of Political Philosophy), "The Democratic Limits of Political Experiments," and "Is Democratic Leadership Possible?" (American Political Science Review). His second book manuscript, If Elected: The Ethics of Lawmaking and Campaigning, develops a theory for lawmakers and candidates operating within a malfunctioning legislative system. What kinds of commitments, promises, and pledges can candidates make? In the “victory lab" of electoral poltics, what are the ethics of the political stump? What are the moral limits of hardball in legislative politics? In Our Name: The Ethics of Democracy considers the responsibilities of citizens for the injustices of their state (Introductory Chapter).  A Marshall Scholar, Truman Scholar, and Mellon Fellow in the Humanities and Social Sciences, he received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2008, B.Phil. in Philosophy from Oxford University,and BA in Political Science and the Program in Ethics in Society from Stanford University. He is a recipient of the Roslyn Abramson Award, Harvard's highest award for teaching given annually to two faculty in Arts and Sciences for "excellence and sensitivity in undergraduate teaching." He was Director of Graduate Fellowships from 2010-2017, and Founding Director of the Center's Undergraduate Fellowship Program