Seana Shiffrin

seanaProfessor of Philosophy and Pete Kameron Professor of Law and Social Justice

B.A., UC Berkeley, B.Phil. Oxford 1990, D.Phil. Oxford 1993, J.D. Harvard 1996.
Research Interests: Moral Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Law, Distributive Justice, Promising, Freedom of Speech, Intellectual Property, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Remedies, Bioethics.

Law and Philosophy Program

Information for prospective and current graduate or law students interested in the Law and Philosophy Program is available at:

All students, faculty and members of the public are welcome at the Program's Legal Theory Workshop. Information is available at:



 Book cover


Speech Matters: On Lying, Morality, and the Law
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014).






Are Contracts Promises? (pre-publication version)  Edited version appears in the Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Law, ed. Andrei Marmor (2012).

A Thinker-Based Approach to Freedom of Speech, 27 Constitutional Commentary 283-307 (2011).

Immoral, Conflicting and Redundant Promises, in Reasons and Recognition: Essays on the Philosophy of T.M. Scanlon (edited by R. Jay Wallace, Rahul Kumar, and Samuel Freeman, Oxford University Press, 2011).

Incentives, Motives, and Talents, 38 Philosophy & Public Affairs 111-142 (2010).

Inducing Moral Deliberation: On the Occasional Virtues of Fog, 123 Harvard Law Review 1214-46 (2010).

The Story of West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette (with Vincent Blasi), in Constitutional Law Stories, 2nd ed. (edited by Michael Dorf, Foundation Press, 2009). (Posted with permission from Foundation Press.)

Could Breach of Contract be Immoral? 107 Michigan Law Review 1551-68 (2009).

Promising, Intimate Relationships, and Conventionalism, 117 Philosophical Review 481-524 (2008).

Intellectual Property, in A Companion to Contemporary Political Philosophy (edited by Robert Goodin, Philip Pettit, and Thomas Pogge, Blackwell, 2007).

The Divergence of Contract and Promise, 120 Harvard Law Review 708-53 (2007).

Are Credit Card Late Fees Unconstitutional?, 15 William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal 457-500 (2006).

What Is Really Wrong With Compelled Association?, 99 Northwestern University Law Review 839-88 (2005).

Race, Labor, and the Fair Equality of Opportunity Principle, 72 Fordham Law Review 1643-1675 (2004).

Autonomy, Beneficence, and the Permanently Demented, in Ronald Dworkin and His Critics (edited by Justine Burley, Blackwell Publishers, 195-217, 2004).

The Story of West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette (with Vincent Blasi), in Constitutional Law Stories (edited by Michael Dorf, Foundation Press, 433-475, 2004). (Posted with permission from Foundation Press).

Egalitarianism, Choice-Sensitivity, and Accommodation, in Reason and Value:  Themes from the Work of Joseph Raz (edited by Philip Pettit, et al, Oxford Univ. Press, 270-302, 2004).

Speech, Death, and Double Effect, 78 NYU Law Review 1135-85 (2003).

Caution about Character Ideals and Capital Punishment:  A Reply to Sorell, 51 Criminal Justice Ethics 35-39 (2002).

Lockean Theories of Intellectual Property, in New Essays in the Political Theory of Property (edited by Stephen R. Munzer, Cambridge Univ. Press, 138-167, (2001).

Paternalism, Unconscionability Doctrine, & Accommodation, 29 Philosophy & Public Affairs 205-51 (2000).  Reprinted in Philosophy of Law (edited by Joel Feinberg and Jules Coleman, Wadsworth/Thompson Learning, 2003, 2007).

Moral Overridingness and Moral Subjectivism, 109 Ethics 772-794 (1999).

Wrongful Life, Procreative Responsibility, and the Significance of Harm, 5 Legal Theory 117-148 (1999) (excerpted in Jules Coleman and Joel Feinberg eds., Philosophy of Law, 2007).

Moral Autonomy and Agent Centered Options, 51 Analysis 244-254 (1991).



Developments in the Law–DNA Evidence and the Criminal Defense, 108 Harvard Law Review (1995).

Book Review, 15 Harvard Women’s Law Journal 295-303 (1992).  Reviewing Justice and the Politics of Difference, by Iris Marion Young.



Published Remarks and Replies


Preserving the Valued or Preserving Valuing?, in Death and the Afterlife by Samuel Scheffler, (ed. Niko Kolodny), pp. 143-58, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).

Must I Mean What You Think I Should Have Said?, 98 Virginia Law Review 159-76 (2012).

Reply to Critics, 27 Constitutional Commentary 417-38 (2011).

Methodology in Free Speech Theory, 97 Virginia Law Review 549-58 (2011).

Reparations for U.S. Slavery and Justice over Time, in Harming Future Persons (edited by David Wasserman and Melinda Roberts, Springer, 2009).

The Incentives Argument for Intellectual Property Protection, in Intellectual Property and Theories of Justice (edited by A. Gosseries, A. Marciano & A. Strowel, Palgrave McMillan, 94-105, 2008).

Compelled Association, Morality & Market Dynamics, 41 Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review 317 (2007).