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Oslo, May 2014



Michael Otsuka



Curriculum Vitae | Contact details

Tribute at Jerry Cohen’s funeral

Wagner recommendations



Professor of Philosophy, London School of Economics

B.Phil. 1988, D.Phil. 1990, Balliol College, Oxford

B.A. 1986, Yale University

Born 1964, in Palo Alto, California




Articles and Book Chapters


‘Appropriating Lockean Appropriation on Behalf of Equality’, in James Penner and Michael Otsuka, eds., Property Theory: Legal and Political Perspectives (CUP, 2018)


‘Equality versus Priority’, in Serena Olsaretti, ed., Oxford Handbook of Distributive Justice (OUP, 2018) [co-authored with Alex Voorhoeve]


‘How it Makes a Moral Difference that One is Worse Off than One Could Have Been’, Politics, Philosophy & Economics, 17 (2018): 192-215 (Open-access version.)


‘Personal Identity, Substantial Change, and the Significance of Becoming’, Erkenntnis (Sept 2017 online first)


How to Guard Against the Risk of Living Too Long: the case for collective pensions, Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy, v. III (OUP, 2017) (Open-access version.)


‘Why Even Diminishing Principles of Entitlement Must Be Regulated by Strictly Egalitarian Principles’, Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies, 14 (2016): 158-68


‘Can an Incompatibilist Outfox a Compatibilist Hedgehog?’, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 19 (2016): 456-69


‘The Moral Responsibility Account of Liability to Defensive Killing’, Christian Coons and Michael Weber, eds., The Ethics of Self-Defense (OUP, 2016)


‘Risking Life and Limb: How to Discount Harms by Their Improbability’, in I. Glenn Cohen, Norman Daniels, and Nir Eyal, eds., Identified versus Statistical Lives: An Interdisciplinary Perspective (OUP, 2015)


‘Prioritarianism and the Measure of Utility’, Journal of Political Philosophy, 23 (2015): 1-22


‘Prioritarianism and the Separateness of Persons’, Utilitas 24 (2012): 365-80 [for a special issue on ‘Why it Matters that Some are Worse Off than Others’]


‘Are Deontological Constraints Irrational?’, in Ralf Bader and John Meadowcroft, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia (CUP, 2011)


‘Licensed to Kill’, Analysis 71 (2011): 523-32


‘Reply to Crisp’, Utilitas 23 (2011): 109-14 [co-authored with Alex Voorhoeve]


‘Justice as Fairness: Luck Egalitarian, Not Rawlsian’, Journal of Ethics 14 (2010): 217-30


‘A Rejoinder to Fischer and Tognazzini’, Journal of Ethics 14 (2010): 37-42


‘Moral Luck: Optional, not Brute’, Philosophical Perspectives 23 (2009): 373-88


‘Owning Persons, Places, and Things’, in I. Carter, M. Kramer, and S. de Wijze, eds., Hillel Steiner and the Anatomy of Justice (Routledge, 2009)


‘Why it Matters that Some are Worse Off than Others: An Argument against the Priority View’, Philosophy & Public Affairs 37 (2009): 171-99 [co-authored with Alex Voorhoeve]


‘The Kantian Argument for Consequentialism’, Ratio 22 (2009): 41-58


‘Freedom of Occupational Choice’, Ratio 21 (2008): 440-53


‘Double-Effect, Triple-Effect, and the Trolley Problem’, Utilitas, 20 (2008): 92-110


‘Prerogatives to Depart from Equality’, in A. O’Hear, ed., Political Philosophy, Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement, 58 (CUP, 2006), pp. 95-111


‘Comment être libertarien sans être inégalitaire’ and ‘Réponses’, Raisons Politiques, no. 23 (2006): 9-22 and 163-74


Leading article and replies (both in French translation) to other articles in an issue of the journal devoted to the version of left-libertarianism that I defend in Libertarianism without Inequality.


‘Replies’, Iyyun: The Jerusalem Philosophical Quarterly 55 (July 2006): 325-336


Replies to four articles of a symposium on Libertarianism without Inequality published in the same issue


‘Saving Lives, Moral Theory, and the Claims of Individuals’,[1] Philosophy & Public Affairs, 34 (2006): 109-35


‘Why Left-Libertarianism Is Not Incoherent, Indeterminate, or Irrelevant’,[2] Philosophy & Public Affairs, 33 (2005): 201-15 [co-authored with Peter Vallentyne and Hillel Steiner]


Skepticism about Saving the Greater Number’,[3] Philosophy & Public Affairs, 32 (2004): 413-26


‘Liberty, Equality, Envy, and Abstraction’, in J. Burley, ed., Dworkin and His Critics (Blackwells, 2004), pp. 70-78


‘Equality, Ambition, and Insurance’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society supplementary volume, 78 (2004): 151-66


Luck, Insurance, and Equality’, Ethics, 113 (2002): 40-54


‘Il personale è politico? Il confine fra pubblico e privato nella sfera della giustizia distributiva’, Iride: Filosofia e Discussione Pubblica anno XIV, n. 34, Dicembre 2001, pp. 617-23


This is a translation into Italian of a previously unpublished paper entitled ‘Is the personal political?: The boundary between the public and the private in the realm of distributive justice’. Click here for the paper in English.


Scanlon and the Claims of the Many Versus the One’, Analysis, 60 (2000): 288-93


‘Making the Unjust Provide for the Least Well Off’, Journal of Ethics, 2 (1998): 247-59


Incompatibilism and the Avoidability of Blame’, Ethics, 108 (1998): 685-701


‘Self-Ownership and Equality: A Lockean Reconciliation’, Philosophy & Public Affairs, 27 (1998): 65-92


Kamm on the Morality of Killing’, Ethics, 108 (1997): 197-207


‘Quinn on Punishment and Using Persons as Means’, Law and Philosophy, 15 (1996): 201-08


‘Killing the Innocent in Self-Defense’, Philosophy & Public Affairs, 23 (1994): 74-94


‘The Paradox of Group Beneficence’, Philosophy & Public Affairs, 20 (1991): 132-49


Books (author)


Libertarianism without Inequality (OUP, 2003)

Review in the Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Critical notice in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research [subscription required]

Review in Ethics [subscription required]

Pdf image of front and back book covers and book and chapter abstracts


Books (editor)


James Penner and Michael Otsuka, eds., Property Theory: Legal and Political Perspectives (CUP, forthcoming)


G. A. Cohen, Finding Oneself in the Other (Princeton University Press, 2013)


G. A. Cohen, On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice and Other Essays in Political Philosophy (Princeton University Press, 2011)




This page last modified 19 October 2018 by Michael Otsuka



























Current Research


My current research interests encompass the fairness and value of risks and chances of benefits; collective goods and the benefits of cooperation; risk-pooling, pensions, and insurance; property ownership and the nature of money; left-libertarianism versus social democracy and socialism; prioritarianism, egalitarianism, and the separateness of persons; personal identity.


I am, however, very happy to supervise a wide range of PhD dissertation topics in moral and political philosophy and philosophy and public policy that lie outside of my current research interests, including, but by no means limited to, topics on which I have published in the past.

Public Policy Blog


I post blogs on Medium on issues related to public policy. I post mainly on pensions but have also posted on health insurance, the measure of inflation, and the funding of higher education.


My blog posts on the USS pension scheme gave rise to my ranking of #23 of 50 on the UK “Higher Education Power List” 2018 of those who had the most influence on this higher education sector that year.





[1] The definitive version of this article is available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/papa.2006.34.issue-2/issuetoc.

[2] This is an electronic version of an article published in Philosophy & Public Affairs. Complete citation information for the final version of the paper, as published in the print edition of Philosophy & Public Affairs, is available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1088-4963.

[3] See note 2 above.