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Robert Talisse

W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy; Chair of the Philosophy Department

Expert in contemporary political philosophy, with a focus in democratic theory and political epistemology.


Robert Talisse specializes in contemporary political philosophy, with particular interest in democratic theory and political epistemology. In addition, he pursues topics in pragmatism, analytic philosophy, argumentation theory, and ancient philosophy. Current research is focused on democracy, polarization, public ignorance, and egalitarianism.

Media Appearances

  • What today’s GOP demonstrates about the dangers of partisan conformity

    Directly following the 2020 election, Republicans seemed to be through with Donald Trump. Party leaders stopped speaking to him and voters began abandoning the GOP, apparently in reaction to Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

    June 25th, 2021

  • Political polarization is about feelings, not facts

    Politicians and pundits from all quarters often lament democracy’s polarized condition. Similarly, citizens frustrated with polarized politics also demand greater flexibility from the other side. Decrying polarization has become a way of impugning adversaries. Meanwhile, the political deadlock and resentment that polarization produces goes unaddressed. Ironic, right?

    July 31st, 2019

  • Twelve Philosophers and Thinkers on Brexit

    It’s not because we believe in philosopher-kings that we’ve asked thinkers – from philosophers to law professors – what is the democratic solution to the Brexit impasse. Rather, it’s because Brexit has challenged representative democracy as we’ve known it, antagonising the government and the electorate, and dividing parties to an unprecedented level. This is not an article arguing for Remaining or Leaving – although the majority (but not all) of the thinkers below argue for a second referendum. Still, this is a piece about the constructive and democratic way out of a paralysing crisis. To get the answers to this question, we went to those who have studied political ideas, their power, their limitations and the history of their abuses. The responses vary, and they are deeply entrenched in the current political climate, refuting the myth that philosophy and academia are far removed from the 'real' life. In times of crisis, we are all part of the political turmoil, and at its mercy.

    April 2nd, 2019

  • The Atheist Worldview: Is Life Without God Bleak?

    This is a popular Christian attack: life without God is bleak. For example, Christian apologist Ken Ham said about the atheist worldview, None of our accomplishments, advancements, breakthroughs, triumphs, or heartbreaks will ultimately matter as we face extinction along with our universe. This is certainly a bleak and hopeless perspective.

    October 10th, 2016

  • Philosophers On the 2016 U.S. Presidential Race

    How is it that, at the same time, possibly the most principled and possibly the least principled politicians the U.S. has seen in recent times are both serious contenders for the presidency? How are voters weighing the progressiveness of supporting a woman candidate for president versus the regressiveness of creating another political dynasty? What does the failure, to date, of any serious conservative or libertarian candidate tell us about what people in the U.S. really value? These are just a few of the questions that the 2016 U.S. presidential election raises.

    March 14th, 2016


Ph.D., City University of New York

M.A., New York University

B.A., William Paterson University


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