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Economic, Social and Political Sciences

Dr Ben Saunders BA, M.Phil, D.Phil, FHEA

Associate Professor in Political Philosophy, Departmental Undergraduate Programme Lead

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Dr Ben Saunders is Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor in Political Philosophy within Politics & International Relations at the University of Southampton.

I moved to Southampton in September 2014, having previously been Lecturer in Philosophy at the Universities of Stirling (2010-14) and Oxford (2008-10).

My work has always straddled the boundaries between politics and philosophy, since my first degree in PPE at Jesus College, Oxford. I am interested in most areas of analytic political philosophy, including its history, but, in particular, I have worked on various issues in democratic theory and the moral and political thought of John Stuart Mill.

I have published articles in journals including Ethics, Political Studies, Politics, Philosophy & Economics, and Utilitas. My work has been supported by grants from the AHRC, Mind Association, and Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Research interests

Democratic theory, including the franchise, who should vote, majority rule, and representation.

John Stuart Mill, including hedonism, liberalism, paternalism, and representative government.

Applied/practical ethics, including organ donation, procreative ethics (selection/enhancement), and animal rights.

My M.Phil and D.Phil concerned the place of majority rule in democratic theory. I was supervised by Prof David Miller and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Board/Council. A paper based on this research appeared in Ethics 121(1).

Research group

Political and Legal Philosophy

Deputy Director of the Faculty Graduate School

I am an Associate Editor of the journal Res Publica (

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I have previously supervised PGR students working on democracy and the ownership of natural resources. I welcome applications or enquiries from prospective students in any of my research interests.

PAIR1004: Political Ideas
PAIR2002: Political Thinkers
PAIR2026/3033: Democratic Theory
PAIR6007: Citizenship and Democracy
PAIR6040: The Ethics of Public Policy

Dr Ben Saunders
Office hours semester 2 (2018-19) : Tuesdays 10-11; Fridays 12-1.

Room Number: 58/3095

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