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Dr Robin Douglass joined the Department of Political Economy in July 2012. He previously studied at the University of York for both his BA in History and Politics and his MA in Political Philosophy, and then at the University of Exeter for his PhD.


Robin’s expertise is in the history of modern political thought and he is especially interested in how interpretations of historical thinkers continue to influence and structure debates in contemporary political philosophy.

Much of Robin’s research to date has focused on the thought of Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, resulting in a monograph and two edited volumes, as well as several journal articles and book chapters. He is currently writing a monograph on Bernard Mandeville's political philosophy. 

Robin is a co-founder and the current President of the  European Hobbes Society. He is co-editor of the  European Journal of Political Theory.

Office Hours

Online by pre-arranged appointment on Tuesdays before 15.00 or Wednesday mornings.

Teaching and PhD Supervision

In 2020/21, Robin is teaching ‘Eighteenth-Century Political Thought’, ‘Twentieth-Century Political Thought’ and ‘Advanced Texts in Political Theory’.

Robin would welcome PhD applicants interested in political theory/history of political thought, especially focusing on:

  • History of modern political thought, especially 17-18th century
  • Hobbes, Mandeville, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Adam Smith (among others)
  • Liberalism
  • Political legitimacy
  • Republicanism
  • Social contract theory



Hobbes’s On the Citizen: A Critical Guide, ed. with Johan Olsthoorn (Cambridge University Press, 2020)

Hobbes on Politics and Religion, ed. with Laurens van Apeldoorn (Oxford University Press, 2018)

Rousseau and Hobbes: Nature, Free Will, and the Passions, (Oxford University Press, 2015). Reviewed in  Notre Dame Philosophical ReviewsContemporary Political TheoryReview of PoliticsThe Philosophical ForumHobbes Studies. 


'Mandeville on the origins of virtue', British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 28:2 (2020), 276–95.

'Hobbes and political realism', European Journal of Political Theory, 19:2 (2020), 250–69.

‘Authorisation and representation before Leviathan’Hobbes Studies, 31:1 (2018), 30–47. 

Morality and sociability in commercial society: Smith, Rousseau—and Mandeville’, The Review of Politics, 79:4 (2017), 597–620.

'Control, consent and political legitimacy'Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 19:2 (2016), 121–40.

'Leviathans old and new: what Collingwood saw in Hobbes'History of European Ideas, 41:4 (2015), 527–43.

‘Thomas Hobbes’s changing account of liberty and challenge to republicanism’History of Political Thought, 36:2 (2015), 281–309.

‘The body politic “is a fictitious body”: Hobbes on imagination and fiction’Hobbes Studies, 27:2 (2014), 126–47.

‘Rousseau’s critique of representative sovereignty: Principled or pragmatic?’American Journal of Political Science, 57:3 (2013), 735–47.

‘Montesquieu and modern republicanism’Political Studies, 60:3 (2012), 703–19.

‘Rousseau’s debt to Burlamaqui: The ideal of nature and the nature of things’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 72:2 (2011), 209–30.

‘Free will and the problem of evil: Reconciling Rousseau’s divided thought’,History of Political Thought, 31:4 (2010), 639–55.

Book Chapters

‘Inequality’, in The Rousseauian Mind, ed. Eve Grace and Christopher Kelly (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2019), 308–18.

‘Hobbes sur la représentation et la souveraineté’ (trans. Mélanie Cournil), in Les Défis de la représentation : Langages, pratiques et figuration du gouvernement, ed. Manuela Albertone and Dario Castiglione (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2018), 91–114.

Review essays

'Theorising commercial society: Rousseau, Smith and Hont', European Journal of Political Theory, 17:4 (2018), 501-11

‘Tuck, Rousseau and the sovereignty of the people'History of European Ideas, 42:8 (2016), 1111–14

'What's wrong with inequality? Some Rousseauian perspectives'European Journal of Political Theory, 14:3 (2015)368–77