Peter Lawler (academic)

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Peter Augustine Lawler (born 1951) is Dana Professor of Government[1] at Berry College. He teaches courses in political philosophy and American politics. He was a 1973 graduate of DeSales University and holds a PhD from the University of Viginia.

He is executive editor of the quarterly journal, Perspectives on Political Science and has been chair of the politics and literature section of the American Political Science Association. He also serves on the editorial board of the new bilingual critical edition of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. Lawler also serves on the editorial boards of several journals.

He has written or edited fifteen books. His newest book is Modern and American Dignity for which he was named a Georgia Author of the Year. His books--Postmodernism Rightly Understood, Aliens in America, Stuck with Virtue, and Homeless and at Home in America--have been widely and positively reviewed. His American Political Rhetoric (edited with Robert Schaefer, sixth edition) is used in introductory American government courses at a sizeable number of colleges and universities. He was the 2007 winner of the Weaver Prize for Scholarly Excellence in promoting human dignity to a broad audience.

Lawler has spoken at roughly a hundred American colleges and universities and published well over two hundred articles, chapters, and reviews in a wide variety of venues.

Lawler writes broadly from a Catholic intellectual tradition that emphasizes the importance of limits on unfettered personal autonomy in shaping well-lived lives, as well as the centrality of the love of truth in making sense of the human experience and knowing "who we are and what we are supposed to do." Lawler argues that moral anthropology suggests the possibility of God's existence and love. His influences include both Catholics like Augustine, Pierre Manent, Thomas, Pascal, Flannery O'Connor, Tocqueville and Walker Percy, as well as non-Catholic thinkers (especially Leo Strauss).

In 2004, Lawler was appointed to President Bush's Council on Bioethics.[2] He served until the council was terminated by President Obama in 2009.

In 2010, Lawler (with Marc Guerra of Assumption College) received a major grant from the Science of Virtues project at the University of Chicago for a series of path breaking conferences at Berry College on the theme of "Stuck with Virtue." This conferences has generated several important publications, including A Political Companion to Walker Percy (edited with Brian Smith) and Descartes, Locke, Darwin, and the Science of Modern Virtue.

Lawler has also become a popular and influential blogger, at both "Rightly Understood" at Big Think and "Postmodern Conservative," originally at First Things and currently at National Review Online. His posts and short essays are often and widely reprinted. The first volume of his best short essays--Allergic to Crazy--is being published by St. Augustine's Press.


  • Lawler, Peter Augustine (2002). "Aliens in America: The Strange Truth about Our Souls." ISI Books. ISBN 1-882926-71-4
  • Lawler, Peter Augsutine (1999). "Postmodernism Rightly Understood" Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-8476-9426-7
  • Lawler, Peter Augustine & Robert Schaefer (editors) (2000). "American Political Rhetoric" (4th ed) Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-7425-1173-1
  • Lawler, Peter Augustine (2005). "Stuck with Virtue: The American Individual and Our Biotechnological Future." ISI Books. ISBN 978-1-932236-84-2
  • Lawler, Peter Augustine (2007). "Homeless and At Home in America." St. Augustine's Press. ISBN 978-1-58731-360-8
  • Lawler, Peter Augustine (2010). "Modern and American Dignity." ISI Books. ISBN 978-1-935191-89-6


  1. ^ "Voice of authority". Alumni Accent. Retrieved 21 November 2010. 
  2. ^ "Council Members List". Bioethics Council.