James Bernard Murphy

Academic Appointments

Professor of Government
Director, Daniel Webster Project
Faculty Director, Politics, Philosophy, and Economics

My scholarship ranges from political economy, jurisprudence, and ethics to political philosophy, political theology, and biblical ethics. I teach courses about "Prophets on Trial," "Utopia and Its Critics, "Foundations of Political Thought," "Jurisprudence," and "The Ethics of War and Peace."

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I am the founder and Faculty Director of the program in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics at Dartmouth College, which takes the form of three modified Government Majors: "Government Modified with Philosophy," "Government Modified with Economics," and "Government Modified with Philosophy and Economics." See: https://govt.dartmouth.edu/undergraduate/majorminor


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(603) 646-2862
Silsby 206
HB 6108
Medieval and Renaissance Studies
B.A. Yale University
M.C.P. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ph.D. Yale University

Selected Publications

Haunted by Paradise: A Philosopher's Quest for Biblical Answers to Key Moral Questions (Cascade Publishers, forthcoming 2021).

Your Whole Life: Beyond Childhood and Adulthood (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020).

How to Think Politically: Sages, Scholars, and Statesmen Whose Ideas Have Shaped the World (with Graeme Garrard; Bloomsbury Continuum, 2019).

A Geneaology of Violence and Religion: René Girard in Dialogue  (Sussex Academic Press, 2018).

The Philosophy of Customary Law  (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).

Op-Ed: In Defense of Being a Kid : Wall Street Journal, Feb. 9, 2011.

Article : “The Lawyer and the Layman: Two Perspectives on the Rule of Law,” Review of Politics , 68 (Winter 2006) 101-131.

The Philosophy of Positive Law: Foundations of Jurisprudence, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005.

The Nature of Customary Law: Philosophical, Legal, and Historical Perspectives, edited with Amanda-Perreau-Saussine, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming March 2007.

"Habit and Convention of the Foundation of Custom," The Nature of Customary Law: Philosophical, Legal, and Historical Perspectives, edited with Amanda-Perreau-Saussine, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming March 2007.

"Ethical Ideals in Journalism: Civic Uplift or the Pursuit of Truth?" with Aine Donovan and Steven Ward, Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 20 2/3, forthcoming Summer 2006.

"Against Civic Schooling," in Social Philosophy and Policy, 21/1: 221-265, Winter 2004 and in Morality and Politics, Ellen Frankel Paul, et al., ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 221-265, 2004.

"Introduction" (with Richard Oliver Brooks) to Aristotle and Modern Law, Richard O. Brooks and James B. Murphy, eds., in series "Philosophers and Law," Tom Campbell, ed., Dartmouth, U.K.: Ashgate Publishers, 2003.

"Humane Work and the Challenges of Job Design," with David Pyke, in Rethinking the Purpose of Business: Interdisciplinary Essays from the Catholic Social Tradition, S.A. Cortright and Michael J. Naughton, Eds., Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2002.

"Equality in Exchange," in The American Journal of Jurisprudence, 47: 85-121, 2002.

"Nature, Custom and Reason as the Explanatory and Practical Principles of Aristotelian Political Science," The Review of Politics, 64: 469-495, Summer 2002.

"Practical Reason and Moral Psychology in Aristotle and Kant," Social Philosophy and Policy, 18: 257-299, Summer 2001 and in Moral Knowledge, Ellen Frankel Paul, et. al., ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

"The Quest for a Balanced Appraisal of Work in Catholic Social Thought," in Labor, Solidarity and the Common Good, S.A. Cortright, ed., Carolina Academic Press, 2000.

"Does religion give rise to violence--or the other way around?," The Washington Post, November 16, 2015.

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Works in progress

The Quest for Perfection: Deification in Greek Philosophy and in the Bible