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Biography

Professor Adrian Blau is a Professor of Politics in the Department of Political Economy. He works on the following areas:

  • democratic theory and practice, including deliberative democracy;
  • history of political thought, especially the work of Thomas Hobbes;
  • corruption;
  • rationality, irrationality, and post-truth politics;
  • the methodology of political theory and history of political thought, as well as philosophy of social science more generally.

If you are a PhD applicant contacting me about potential supervision, please make sure you have read the DPE Guidance for Applicants and the Frequently Asked Questions.

Click to view Professor Adrian Blau's blog.

Office hours

Tuesdays 12.30 - 13.30 (except reading week)

Thursdays 12.30 - 13.30 (except reading week)

Attend via my Zoom meeting room: https://zoom.us/j/7304631906?pwd=U3EzUVRVVkwvckhYVUwvajJyclBVUT09

No advance booking necessary; queue in waiting room if needed.

Research

Adrian has published 10 journal articles and book chapters on the methodology of history of political thought. He edited the first ever textbook on political theory methods: Methods in Analytical Political Theory (Cambridge University Press, 2017). He is currently working on the methodology of thought experiments in political philosophy.

Adrian has published several articles and chapters on Hobbes’s political theory, and is writing a book called Hobbes’s Failed Science of Politics and Ethics.

His PhD research was on normative aspects of electoral systems and he still works and publishes on democratic theory and practice.

Cross-cutting much of the above is a focus on rationality and irrationality, including the work of Jürgen Habermas.

Adrian’s work often brings together ideas from political theory and political science.

Adrian is on the editorial board of two journals: Political Studies Review and Hobbes Studies

Teaching

Undergraduate

  • Fundamentals of Politics Research
  • Race and Racism in Political Theory

Postgraduate

  • Theories of Politics: Machiavelli to Bentham

Adrian has won two King's College London Teaching Excellence Awards, in  2013  and in  2016.

 

PhD Supervision

Adrian is interested in supervising PhDs on areas within his research expertise, especially:

  • democratic theory and practice, including deliberative democracy;
  • history of political thought, especially the work of Thomas Hobbes;
  • corruption;
  • rationality, irrationality, and post-truth politics;
  • the methodology of political theory and history of political thought, as well as philosophy of social science more generally.

Please make sure you have read the DPE Guidance for Applicants and the Frequently Asked Questions.

Current PhD students supervised:

  • Charlie Mealings, 'Deliberative Democracy, Agonistic Democracy, and Participatory Design’
  • Jesse Marks, 'Political Parties - A Necessary Evil?'

Recently completed PhD students supervised:

  • Elena Ziliotti, 'Democracy and the East Asian Meritocratic Challenge'
  • Donald Bello Hutt, 'Popular Constitutionalism and Deliberative Democracy'
  • Irena Schneider, 'Corruption and Trust in the Caucasus Region'
  • Simon Kaye, 'Democracy, ignorance and exclusion: a critique of the notion of public reason' (as second supervisor).
  • Elizabeth Morrow, 'Framing, counter-framing and mobilisation: an ethnographic study of the English Defence League'.

Publications

Journal articles:

Adrian Blau, ‘Political equality and political sufficiency’. Moral Philosophy and Politics. Forthcoming. Link.

Adrian Blau, ‘Habermas on rationality: means, ends, and communication’, European Journal of Political Theory. Forthcoming. Link.

Adrian Blau, ‘Defending instrumental rationality against critical theorists’, Political Research Quarterly 74:1 (2021). Link.

Adrian Blau, ‘How (not) to use the history of political thought for contemporary purposes’, American Journal of Political Science 65:2 (2021). Link.

Adrian Blau, ‘How should we categorize approaches to the history of political thought?’, The Review of Politics 83:1 (2021). Link.

Adrian Blau, ‘Hobbes’s practical politics: political, sociological and economistic ways of avoiding a state of nature’, Hobbes Studies 33:2 (2020). Link.

Adrian Blau, ‘Meanings and understandings in the history of ideas’, Journal of the Philosophy of History 14:2 (2020). Link.

Adrian Blau, ‘Textual context in the history of political thought and intellectual history’, History of European Ideas 45:8 (2019). Link.

Adrian Blau, ‘Extended meaning and understanding in the history of ideas’, History and Theory 58:3 (2019). Link.

Adrian Blau, ‘Cognitive corruption and deliberative democracy’, Social Philosophy and Policy 35:2 (2018). Link.

Adrian Blau, 'History of political thought as detective-work', History of European Ideas 41:8 (2015). Link.

Adrian Blau, ‘Anti-Strauss’, Journal of Politics 74:1 (2012). Link.

Adrian Blau, ‘Uncertainty and the history of ideas’, History and Theory 50:3 (2011). Link.

Adrian Blau, ‘Rationality and deliberative democracy: a constructive critique of John Dryzek’s democratic theory’, Contemporary Political Theory 10:1 (2011). Link.

Adrian Blau, ‘Hobbes on corruption’, History of Political Thought 30:4 (2009). Link.

Adrian Blau, ‘The effective number of parties at four scales: votes, seats, legislative power and cabinet power’, Party Politics 14:2 (2008). Link.

Adrian Blau, ‘Against positive and negative freedom’, Political Theory 32:4 (2004). Link.

Adrian Blau, ‘A quadruple whammy for first-past-the-post’, Electoral Studies 23:3 (2004). Link.

Adrian Blau, ‘Fairness and electoral reform’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations 6:2 (2004). Link.

Adrian Blau, ‘Partisan bias in British general elections’, British Elections and Parties Review 11 (2001). Link.

Book Chapters:

Adrian Blau, ‘Methodologies of interpreting Hobbes: historical and philosophical’, in S.A. Lloyd, ed., Interpreting Hobbes’s Political Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2019), 10-28. Link.

Adrian Blau, ‘Introduction: a “how-to” approach’, in Adrian Blau, ed., Methods in Analytical Political Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2017), 1-17. Link.

Adrian Blau, ‘Interpreting texts’, in Adrian Blau, ed., Methods in Analytical Political Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2017), 243-69. Link.

Adrian Blau, ‘Reason, deliberation and the passions’, in A.P. Martinich and Kinch Hoekstra, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Hobbes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 195-220. Link.

Adrian Blau, ‘The irrelevance of (Straussian) hermeneutics’, in Winfried Schröder, ed., Reading Between the Lines: Leo Strauss and the History of Early Modern Philosophy (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015), 29-55. Link.

Adrian Blau, ‘Majoritarianism under pressure: the electoral and party systems’, in Robert Hazell, ed., Constitutional Futures Revisited (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 233-48. Link.

Adrian Blau, ‘Electoral reform in the UK: a veto-player analysis’, in André Blais, ed., To Keep or to Change First-Past-The-Post: The Politics of Electoral Reform (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 61-89. Link.

Edited Books

Adrian Blau, ed., Methods in Analytical Political Theory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017). Publisher link. Amazon UK link. Amazon USA link.