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Dr Paul Sagar

Paul Sagar

Lecturer in Political Theory

Postal Address
Department of Political Economy
King’s College London
Strand Campus
Bush House (North East Wing)
30 Aldwych
London WC2B 4BG



Telephone: +44 (0)20 7848 8783

Room Number: 8.18 Bush House (North East Wing)

Office Hours:

Wednesdays 10.30-11.30am
Thursdays 1.30-2.30pm

Personal Website:


Paul Sagar read PPE at Balliol College, Oxford before taking an MA in Intellectual History and the History of Political Thought from the University of London. He completed his doctorate at the University of Cambridge, where from 2014-2018 he was Junior Research Fellow in Politics at King’s College.


Introduction to Political Theory
The History of Political Thought
Advanced Texts in Political Theory


Paul Sagar works in the history of political thought and contemporary political theory. His recent monograph, The Opinion of Mankind: Sociability and the State from Hobbes to Smith, explores Enlightenment accounts of the foundations of modern politics, whilst also addressing contemporary issues regarding how to conceive of the state, and what that means for normative political theory today. He has also published a number of studies on topics such as: the political writings of Bernard Williams, so-called ‘realist’ approaches to political philosophy, the nature of liberty under conditions of modernity, and the idea of immortality. Paul is currently in the early stages of two major new projects. The first is a monograph study of Adam Smith’s political philosophy as rooted in his conceptions of history and commercial society. The second is an exploration of the idea of the enemy in the history of political thought.

As well as his academic writings, Paul also writes for more popular audiences. His work has appeared in The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement,, and The Political Quarterly. See his personal website for details.

Selected publications

The Opinion of Mankind: Sociability and the Theory of the State from Hobbes to Smith (Princeton University Press, 2018).

‘Adam Smith and the Conspiracy of the Merchants’, Global Intellectual History (forthcoming).

‘Liberty, Nondomination, Markets’ Review of Politics (forthcoming).

‘Bhishma’s Boon: Reflections on the Complexity of Immortality’, Journal of Value Inquiry (forthcoming).

‘Istvan Hont and Political Theory’, European Journal of Political Theory 27:4 (2018), 476-500.

‘Smith and Rousseau, after Hume and Mandeville’, Political Theory 46:1 (2018), 29-58.

‘Legitimacy and Domination’, in Politics Recovered: Realist Thought in Theory and Practice ed. M. Sleat (Columbia University Press, 2018).

‘Beyond Sympathy: Smith’s Rejection of Hume’s Moral Theory’, British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25:4 (2017), 681-705.

‘The State Without Sovereignty: Authority and Obligation in Hume’s Political Philosophy’, History of Political Thought 37:2 (2016), 271-305.

‘From Scepticism to Liberalism: Bernard Williams, The Foundations of Liberalism, and Political Realism’, Political Studies 64:2 (2016), 368-84.

‘Of Mushrooms and Method: History and the Family in Hobbes’s Science of Politics’, European Journal of Political Theory 14:1 (2015), 98-117.

‘Minding the Gap: Bernard Williams and David Hume on Living an Ethical Life’, The Journal of Moral Philosophy 11:5 (2014), 615-38.

‘Self-Love, Luxury and Sympathy: The Case of Archibald Campbell’, History of European Ideas 39:6 (2013), 791-814.

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