Patrick T. Riley

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For other persons by this name, see Patrick Riley (disambiguation).

Patrick Thomas Riley (born October 27, 1941[1]) is Michael Oakeshott Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is notable for his translations of the political writings of Gottfried Leibniz and his research on social contract theory, as well as the history of universal jurisprudence. His first book, Will and Political Legitimacy,[2] offered a "a critical exposition of social contract theory in Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, and Hegel."[3] In Leibniz' Universal Jurisprudence,[4] Riley detailed the social, moral, and political philosophy of Leibniz, arguing for the English-speaking world that Leibniz was the most important German philosopher before Kant. He has also written extensively on the general will of Rousseau and Kant's political philosophy. He is the editor of the Cambridge Companion to Rousseau,[5] and Leibniz's political writings for Cambridge University Press.[6]

Riley received his undergraduate degree from Claremont Men's College[7] and his M.Phil at The London School of Economics under the supervision of Michael Oakeshott. In 1968, he received his Ph.D.[8] from Harvard University where on he studied under John Rawls and Judith Shklar.[9] While at Harvard, Riley won the Bowdoin Essay Prize for Graduate Students in 1966[10] and 1967.[11] He retired from the University of Wisconsin in 2007 after 36 years of teaching, and he now lectures at Harvard near his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.