Cornell University
Sage School of Philosophy
PhD, 1977
Charlottesville, Virginia, United States of America
Areas of Interest
History of Western Philosophy
  •  2
    Moral Principles and Political Obligations
    Princeton University Press. 1979.
  •  17
    The Limits of Lockean Rights in Property
    Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 58 (4): 997-999. 1995.
  •  6
    Rights and territories: A reply to Nine, Miller, and Stilz
    Politics, Philosophy and Economics 18 (4). 2019.
    ‘Rights and Territories: A Reply to Nine, Miller, and Stilz’ defends the Lockean theory of states’ territorial rights against the critiques of Nine, Miller, and Stilz. In response to Nine’s concern that such a Lockean theory cannot justify the right of legitimate states to exclude aliens, it is argued that a consent-based theory like the Lockean one is flexible enough to justify a wide range of possible incidents of territorial rights – importantly including, though not necessarily including, th…Read more
  •  2
    Works cited
    In On the Edge of Anarchy: Locke, Consent, and the Limits of Society, Princeton University Press. pp. 271-284. 1995.
  •  1
  • Index
    In On the Edge of Anarchy: Locke, Consent, and the Limits of Society, Princeton University Press. pp. 285-293. 1995.
  •  22
    Moral Principles and Political Obligations
    Ethics 91 (2): 309-312. 1980.
  •  1
    Obedience to law
    In Lawrence C. Becker & Charlotte B. Becker (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Ethics, Garland Publishing. pp. 918--21. 1992.
  •  124
    Locke on the Death Penalty
    Philosophy 69 (270): 471-. 1994.
    Brian Calvert has offered us a clear and careful analysis of Locke's views on punishment and capital punishment. The primary goal of his paper - that of correcting the misperception of Locke as a wholehearted proponent of capital punishment for a wide range of offenses - must be allowed to be both laudable and largely achieved in his discussion. But Calvert's analysis also encourages, I think, a number of serious misunderstandings of Locke's true position
  •  5
    External Justifications and Institutional Roles
    Journal of Philosophy 93 (1): 28-36. 1996.
  •  13
    An Essay on the Modern State
    Philosophical Review 109 (2): 271. 2000.
    Contemporary political philosophers routinely assume that some form of the modern, territorial state must be justified and that in a justified state most of the claims that modern states make will be vindicated. The principal question for them is what form the state must take in order to achieve this justification. How minimal or extensive must the state be, how responsive to groups within its territories and to people without must it be, and so on. Christopher Morris’s An Essay on the Modern St…Read more
  •  22
    Consent and Fairness in Planning Land Use
    Business and Professional Ethics Journal 6 (2): 5-19. 1987.
  •  183
    An essay on the modern state
    Philosophical Review 109 (2): 271-273. 2000.
    This important book is the first serious philosophical examination of the modern state. It inquires into the justification of this particular form of political society. It asks whether all states are "nation-states," what are the alternative ways of organizing society, and which conditions make a state legitimate. The author concludes that, while states can be legitimate, they typically fail to have the powers (e.g., sovereignty) they claim. Many books analyze government and its functions, but n…Read more
  •  114
    “Denisons” and “Aliens”
    Social Theory and Practice 24 (2): 161-182. 1998.
    Locke appears to be committed to the peculiar views that native-born residents and visiting aliens have the same political status (since both are tacit consenters) and that real political societies have very few "members" with full rights and duties (since only express consenters seem to be counted as "members"). Locke, however, also subscribes to a principle governing our understanding of the content of vague or inexplicit consent: such consent is consent to all and only that which is necessary…Read more
  •  45
    The Limits of Lockean Rights in Property
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 58 (4): 997-999. 1998.
  •  27
    On the Territorial Rights of States
    Philosophical Issues 11 (1): 300-326. 2001.
  •  1
    Justification and Legitimacy: Essays on Rights and Obligations (edited book)
    Cambridge University Press. 2000.
    A. John Simmons is widely regarded as one of the most innovative and creative of today's political philosophers. His work on political obligation is regarded as definitive and he is also internationally respected as an interpreter of John Locke. The characteristic features of clear argumentation and careful scholarship that have been hallmarks of his philosophy are everywhere evident in this collection. The essays focus on the problems of political obligation and state legitimacy as well as on h…Read more
  •  74
    External justifications and institutional roles
    Journal of Philosophy 93 (1): 28-36. 1996.
    In his paper "Role Obligations," Michael Hardimon defends an account of the nature and justification of institutional obligations that he takes to be clearly superior to the "standard" voluntarist view. Hardimon argues that this standard view presents a "misleading and distorted" picture of role obligations (and of morality generally); and in its best form he claims this view still "leaves out" of its understanding of even contractual role obligations an "absolutely vital factor". I argue agains…Read more
  •  134
    Is There a Duty to Obey the Law?
    with Christopher Wellman
    Cambridge University Press. 2005.
    The central question in political philosophy is whether political states have the right to coerce their constituents and whether citizens have a moral duty to obey the commands of their state. In this 2005 book, Christopher Heath Wellman and A. John Simmons defend opposing answers to this question. Wellman bases his argument on samaritan obligations to perform easy rescues, arguing that each of us has a moral duty to obey the law as his or her fair share of the communal samaritan chore of rescui…Read more
  •  3
    Philosophical Review 87 (4): 610. 1978.