James W. Nickel

Professor of Philosophy & Law

B. A. 1964, Tabor College
Ph.D. 1968, University of Kansas
Postdoctoral study and research 1973-74, 1977-78, Columbia Law School

Phone: 305-284-4314
Office: G274

James W. Nickel holds a joint appointment in the Philosophy Department and the Law School. He teaches and writes in human rights law and theory, political philosophy, philosophy of law, and constitutional law.

Nickel is the author of Making Sense of Human Rights (1987, heavily revised 2nd ed. 2006) and of more than sixty articles in philosophy and law journals including the Columbia Law Review, Ethics, the Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophy and Public Affairs, and the Yale Journal of International Law.

His essay, "Poverty and Rights," received the 2004 Essay Prize from Philosophical Quarterly. His human rights entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy receives almost 7,000 hits per year. Recent articles include "Rethinking Indivisibility: Towards a Theory of Supporting Relations between Human Rights"; "Who Needs Freedom of Religion?"; "Are Human Rights Mainly Implemented by Intervention?"; "The Philosophy of Human Rights" (with David Reidy); and "Philosophical Issues in International Environmental Law" (with Daniel Magraw).

Nickel has enjoyed research fellowships from Corpus Christi College, Oxford; the Rockefeller Foundation; the National Humanities Center; the American Council of Learned Societies; and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

From 2003-09 Nickel was Professor of Law at Arizona State University where he was also an affiliate professor in the Department of Philosophy and the School of Global Studies. Prior to that he was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado, where he directed the Center for Values and Social Policy from 1982 to 1988, and chaired the philosophy department from 1992 to 1996. He has held visiting posts at the Georgetown University Law Center, the University of Utah, and UC Berkeley Law School.

The courses Nickel has taught include: International Economic and Social Rights (Georgetown Law, Miami Law); Philosophy of International Law (Georgetown Law); Constitutional equality (ASU Law); Constitutional liberties (ASU Law); Environmental ethics (CU philosophy); International human rights (Berkeley JSP, ASU Law, Miami Law); Law and morality (CU philosophy, ASU law, Miami philosophy); Minority rights in international Law (ASU Law); Philosophy of Law (CU philosophy, Miami philosophy and law); Political philosophy and Contemporary Political Philosophy (CU philosophy, ASU philosophy); Race and American law (Berkeley JSP); Rawls seminars—including ones on Rawls and Raz and Rawls and Scanlon (CU philosophy); Seminar on personal autonomy (CU philosophy, ASU philosophy); and Seminar on the human moral capacity (CU philosophy).


Eight Responses to the Relativist, reprinted as Relativism and Human Rights in Feinberg, Coleman, and Kutz, eds., Philosophy of Law, 9th Ed (Wadsworth, January 2013). (Revised version of Making Sense of Human Rights).

Goals and Rights--Working Together? in Malcolm Langford et. al, The MDGs and Human Rights: Past, Present, and Future (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

Review of Morsink’s Inherent Human Rights, 35 Hum. Rts. Q. ____ (2013).

Restraining Orders, Liberty, and Due Process, in Andrew Ashworth & Lucia Zedner, eds., Prevention and the Limits of the Criminal Law (Oxford University Press 2012).

Due Process Rights and Terrorist Emergencies, in Making Sense of Human Rights, Chapter 7, reprinted in May and Morrow, eds., Procedural Justice (Ashgate 2012).

Review of James Griffin's On Human Rights, Philosophical Review 121 (July 2012): 461-3.

Philosophical Issues in International Environmental Law, (with Daniel McGraw), reprinted in Steve Vanderheiden, ed., Environmental Rights (Ashgate 2012).

Philosophical Issues in International Environmental Law, (with Daniel McGraw), in Samantha Besson and John Tasioulas, eds., The Philosophy of International Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 453-71 (2010).

The Philosophy of Human Rights, (with David Reidy) in Moeckli, Shah, Sivakumaran and Harris, eds., International Human Rights Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press 39-63 (2010).

Indivisibility and Linkage Arguments: A Reply to Gilabert, 32 Hum. Rts. Q. 439-446. (2010).

Making Sense of Human Rights, 2d ed., published in Korean (Myung In Publishers, 2010).

Phone: 305-284-4314
Office: G274
Faculty Assistant

Sutton, Tina

Phone: (305)284-4241
Office: G287

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