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Rebecca Reilly-Cooper


Teaching Fellow in Political Theory

Email: r dot reilly-cooper at warwick dot ac dot uk
Tel: +44 (0)24765 74210
Room: E1.24, Social Sciences Building
Advice and feedback hours: Tuesday 11-12, Wednesday 12-1

Personal blog


I joined PAIS in 2013 as a Teaching Fellow in Political Theory. Prior to this I taught at the University of Oxford and the University of Manchester. I have a BA (Hons) in Politics from the University of Leeds, and an MA and PhD in Political Theory from the University of Manchester. I am interested in a broad range of issues in contemporary moral and political philosophy, including political liberalism, democratic theory, distributive justice, and contractualism in moral and political theory.

Research interests

My particular areas of specialization are political liberalism, public reason, democratic theory, moral psychology, and the philosophy of emotion. My doctoral thesis was an examination of the idea of public reason and its role in political liberalism, and more specifically, explored the role played by emotion and sentiment in liberal theories of public justification. Moral and political philosophy has traditionally been suspicious or hostile to the idea that emotion and sentiment might have a legitimate place in our ethical decision-making. In my work I aim to show that this distrust is misplaced, and that recognition of the importance of feeling and emotion for moral judgement need not entail a rejection of the search for impartiality or rationally grounded moral principles. My current research expands upon this work, and explores how recognition of the importance of feeling and sentiment in our practical reasoning might be rendered compatible with the search for objectivity in ethics.

In addition, I have recently begun a research project tentatively titled "The Ethics of Public Life in the Twenty-First Century". This is an investigation into the changing nature of public life, and the rights and responsibilities that govern the actions of public figures and those who live their lives in the public eye. The project will, among other things, examine the questions of what levels of privacy public figures have a right to expect, and whether politicians and other public figures are under an obligation to act as moral exemplars.

I am also working on a number of other papers on a range of topics including civility and charity in public reason, and autonomy and consent to sexual relations.


I am teaching on the undergraduate second year module Political Theory from Hobbes, and the third year undergraduate module Issues in Political Theory.