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Dr Massimo Renzo

Dr Massimo Renzo


Room: SW1.06



Dr Massimo Renzo joined The Dickson Poon School of Law in July, 2015 as a Reader in Politics, Philosophy & Law. Previously he was an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick and before that, a Lecturer at the York Law School. He has held visiting appointments at the Australian National University, the universities of Virginia and Arizona, the Centre for Ethics and Public Affairs at the Murphy Institute (Tulane University) and Osgoode Hall’s Nathanson Centre for Transnational Human Rights, Crime & Security. He is an affiliated researcher at the Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War & Peace and the Honorary Secretary of the Society for Applied Philosophy. He is also one of the editors of the journal Criminal Law and Philosophy.

Research interests

Dr Renzo works primarily in legal and political philosophy. His main research interests are in the following four areas:

  1. Political authority, with a focus on the questions of what justifies the right of states to create and enforce moral obligations, as well as to claim control over certain territories and their natural resources; the question of the relationship between political authority and practical reasoning; the questions of justified disobedience and conscientious objection. 
  2. Just war, with a focus on the question of what justifies lability to be killed in war; the question of whether there can be a duty to obey an order to fight an unjust war; the question of the justification of humanitarian intervention and of wars fought in order to protect political goods. 
  3. Philosophy of the criminal law, with a focus on the question of the philosophical foundations of self-defence and complicity; the question of how we should understand the authority of international criminal law; the question of the justification and the limits of criminalization.
  4. Human Rights, with a focus on the questions of how we should conceptualize human rights and of what justifies their existence.

Dr Renzo is happy to supervise students working in any of these areas.

Selected publications


  • The Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights, (co-edited with Rowan Cruft and Matthew Liao) Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
  • Criminalization Series (4 volumes) (co-edited with R.A. Duff, et al), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010-2014.


  • 'Rights Forfeiture and Liability to Harm', Journal of Political Philosophy, forthcoming.
  • 'Human Rights and the Priority of the Moral', Social Philosophy and Policy 32 (1):127-148 (2016)
  • 'Crime and Punishment', in Catriona McKinnon (ed.), Issues in Political Theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.
  • 'Human Needs, Human Rights', in Rowan Cruft, Matthew Liao and Massimo Renzo (eds.), The Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.
  • 'Fairness, Self-Deception and Political Obligation', Philosophical Studies, 169 (3), 2014: 467-488.
  • 'Democratic Authority and the Duty to Fight Unjust Wars', Analysis, 73 (4), 2013: 668-676.
  • 'Responsibility and Answerability in the Criminal Law', in R.A. Duff, et al (eds.), The Constitution of the Criminal Law, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • 'Crimes Against Humanity and the Limits of International Criminal Law', Law and Philosophy, 31 (4), 2012: 443-476.
  • 'Associative Responsibilities and Political Obligation', Philosophical Quarterly, 62 (246), 2012: 106-127
  • 'State Legitimacy and Self-Defence', Law and Philosophy, 30 (5), 2011: 575-601.
  • Jurisprudence
  • Authority & Democracy
  • Harms & Wrongs
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