Richard Vernon

Distinguished University Professor


PhD, London School of Economics and Political Science
Telephone: 519.661.2111 ext. 85166
Office: Social Science Centre 4216

Research Interests

Professor Vernon works on contemporary political theory, especially issues of global and historical justice, and selected issues (such as toleration and citizenship) in the history of political thought.

Current Research Projects

My current work concerns the global and temporal contexts of justice.  In the global context, I am particularly concerned with the relationship between  civic and cosmopolitan obligations.  In the temporal context, I continue to work on issues of historical redress, and am now exploring the idea of duties in relation to future generations.

Selected Publications


  • 2018: Co-authored with Charles Jones, Patriotism, Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • 2016: Justice Back and Forth: Duties to Past and Future People, Toronto: University of Toronto Press (274 pp).
  • 2015: Co-edited with Sarah Hannan and Samantha Brennan. Permissible Progeny? The Morality of Procreation and Parenting. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 282.
  • 2012: Historical Redress: Must We Pay for the Past?  London: Continuum, pp. 172.
  • 2011: Co-edited with Tracy Isaacs, Accountability for Collective Wrongdoing: New York, Cambridge University Press, pp. 310.
  • 2010: Edition of Locke on Toleration, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (Texts in the History of Philosophy), pp. XL, 179.
  • 2010: Cosmopolitan Regard: Political Membership and Global Justice, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (Contemporary Political Theory series), pp. 222.
  • 2008: Co-edited with Victoria Esses, Explaining the Breakdown of Ethnic Relations: Why Neighbours Kill, Malden MA: Blackwell, pp. 272.
  • 2006: Co-edited with Joanna Harrington and Michael Milde, Bringing Power to Justice: Prospects of the International Criminal Court, Montreal: Mc-Gill-Queen's University Press, pp. 288.
  • 2005: Friends, Citizens, Strangers: Essays on Where We Belong, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, pp. 325.
  • 2001: Political Morality: A Theory of Liberal Democracy, London: Continuum (Political Theory and Contemporary Politics Series), pp. 202.
  • 1997: The Career of Toleration: John Locke, Jonas Proast, and After, Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press (Studies in the History of Ideas), pp. 164.
  • 1986: Co-edited with J.M. Porter, Unity, Plurality and Politics: Essays in Honour of F.M. Barnard, London: Croom Helm, pp. 194.
  • 1986: Citizenship and Order: Studies in French Political Thought, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, pp. 264.
  • 1979: The Principle of Federation by P.-J. Proudhon [translation, with critical introduction and notes], Toronto: University of Toronto Press, pp. xlvii, 86.
  • 1978: Commitment and Change: Georges Sorel and the Idea of Revolution, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, pp. viii, 14.

Refereed Journal Articles

  • 2017: "Toleration or Latitude? Two Models for Liberal Politics," Canadian Journal of Political Science (in press).
  • 2013: “Lockean Toleration: Dialogical not Theological”, Political Studies, 61, 215-30.
  • 2013: “Crime Against Humanity”, Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence. 26, 229-41.
  • 2013: “Regarding Cosmopolitanism”, Journal of International Political Theory. 9, 92-100.
  • 2010: "Pascalian Ethics: Bergson, Levinas, Derrida", European Journal of Political Theory 9,167-82.
  • 2009: "Intergenerational Rights?" Intergenerational Justice Review 9, 8-12
  • 2009: "Is There A Global Harm Principle?" Critical Review of International Social and Political Theory 12, 1-18.
  • 2008: (With Sarah Hannan) "Parental Rights", Theory & Research in Education 6, 173-89.
  • 2008: "Humanitarian Intervention and the Problem of Internal Legitimacy", Journal of Global Ethics 4, 37-49.
  • 2007: "States of Risk", Ethics and International Affairs 21, 451-69
  • 2007: "Association by Obligation?" Political Studies 55, 865-79
  • 2006: "Challenging the Liberal Settlement", University of New Brunswick Law Journal 55, 186-92
  • 2006: "Contractualism and Global Justice”, Canadian Journal of Law& Jurisprudence     19, 45-56
  • 2006: "Compatriot Preference: Is There a Case?" Politics and Ethics Review 2, 1-18
  • 2006: (With Rhiana Chinapen) "Justice in Transition", Canadian Journal of Political Science 39, 117-3.
  •  2003: "Henri Bergson and the Moral Possibility of Nationalism", Contemporary Political Theory 2, 271-88.
  • 2003: "Against Restitution", Political Studies 51, 542-57.
  • 2002: "What is Crime against Humanity?" Journal of Political Philosophy 10, 231-49.
  • 1998: "Liberals, Democrats and the Agenda of Politics", Political Studies 46, 295-308.
  • 1996: "John Stuart Mill and Pornography", Ethics 106, 621-32.
  • 1993: "Locke's Antagonist, Jonas Proast", Locke Newsletter [now Locke Studies] 24,95-106.
  • 1992: “Toleration without Scepticism", Studies in Political Thought 2, 47-57.
  • 1987: "On Liberty, Liberty and Censorship", Queen's Quarterly 94, 267-85.
  • 1986: "The Political Self: Auguste Comte and Phrenology", History of European Ideas 7, 271-86.
  • 1984: (With S. V. La Selva) "Justifying Tolerance", Canadian Journal of Political Science 17, 3-23.
  • 1984: "Auguste Comte and the Withering-Away of the State", Journal of the History of Ideas 45, 549-66.
  • (With F.M. Barnard) "Recovering Politics for Socialism", Canadian Journal of Political Science 16 (1983) 717-37
  • 1981: "Freedom and Corruption: Proudhon's Federalism", Canadian Journal of Political Science 14, 775-95.
  • 1981: "Citizenship in Industry: The Case of Georges Sorel", American Political Science Review 75, 17-28.
  • 1980: "The Disunity of Theory and Practice", Canadian Journal of Political and Social Theory 4,199-205.
  • 1979: "Politics as Metaphor: Cardinal Newman and Professor Kuhn", Review of Politics 41, 513-35.
  • 1979: "Unintended Consequences", Political Theory 7,  57-73.
  • 1978: "Hayek's Residual Platonism", Canadian Journal of Political and Social Theory 2, 156-62.
  • 1978: "Auguste Comte and 'Development'," History and Theory 17, 323-26.
  • 1977: (With F.M. Barnard) "Socialist Pluralism and Pluralist Socialism", Political Studies 25, 474-90
  • 1976: "The Great Society and the Open Society: Liberalism in Hayek and Popper", Canadian Journal of Political Science 9, 262-76.
  • 1975: "The Secular Political Culture: Three Views," Review of Politics 37, 490-512.
  • 1975: (With F.M. Barnard) "Pluralism, Participation and Politics: Reflections on the Intermediate Group", Political Theory 3, 180-97
  • 1973: "Rationalism and Commitment in Sorel", Journal of the History of Ideas 34, 405-20

Book Chapters

  • 2012: “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Liberalism” and “A Critique of Liberalism, Universalism, and Liberal Democracy” [both in Farsi, trans. Mojtaba Mahdavi] in Ali Ghasemi ed., Din va Ideology, Tehran: Cultural Foundation of Ali Shariati, 279-302, 303-26.
  • 2012: “Foreseeably Unforeseeable Risk”, invited chapter for Sociology and the Unintended, ed. Adriana Mica et al, Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 371-82.
  • 2012: “Cosmocitizens?” in G. Delanty (ed) Handbook of Cosmopolitan Studies, London: Routledge, 316-25.
  • 2011: “Punishing Collectives: States or Nations?” in Isaacs and Vernon, Accountability for Collective Wrongdoing, 287-306.
  • 1999: (With S.V. La Selva), "Censorship, Liberalism, Feminism and Pornography", invited contribution to Political Dispute and Judicial Review, M.Westmacott and H. Mellon eds., Nelson, 124-33.
  • 1998: "Beyond the Harm Principle", invited contribution to a collective volume, Mill and the Moral Character of Liberalism, E. Eisenach ed., Philadelphia: Penn State University Press, 1998, 115-31
  • 1997: (with S.V. La Selva) "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity and Federalism", invited contribution to Challenges to Canadian Federalism, edited by M.Westmacott and H.Mellon: Prentice-Hall, 1997, 30-39.
  • 1990: "J.S.Mill and the Religion of Humanity", in J. Crimmins (ed.) Religion, Secularization, and Political Thought, London: Routledge, 167-82. Volume to be reprinted in 2013 in the Routledge Philosophy of Religion series.
  • 1986: "Moral Pluralism and the Liberal Mind", in Porter and Vernon (eds.) Unity, Plurality and Politics, 143-61.
  • 1980: "Introduction", to G.D.H. Cole, Guild Socialism Restated, reprint by Transaction Books (Social Science Classics series), 5-61

Awards and Distinctions

  • 2008-2012: University Student Council’s Honor Roll.
  • 2009: Distinguished University Professor.
  • 2008: The Edward G. Pleva Prize for Excellence in Teaching.
  • 2005: The Hellmuth Prize for Distinction in Research.
  • 1998: The C.B. Macpherson Prize for the best Canadian book in political theory.