Brian Barry

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Brian Barry, 1980s

Brian Barry, FBA (7 August 1936 – 10 March 2009) was a moral and political philosopher. He was educated at the Queen's College, Oxford, obtaining the degrees of B.A. and D.Phil under the direction of H. L. A. Hart.

Along with David Braybrooke, Richard E. Flathman, Felix Oppenheim, and Abraham Kaplan, he is widely credited with having fused analytic philosophy and political science.[citation needed] Barry also fused political theory and social choice theory and was a persistent critic of public choice theory.


During his early career, Barry held teaching posts at the University of Birmingham, Keele University and the University of Southampton. In 1965 he was appointed a teaching fellow at University College, Oxford and then Nuffield College. In 1969 he became a professor at Essex University.[1]

Barry was Lieber Professor Emeritus of Political Philosophy at Columbia University and Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the London School of Economics. He was awarded the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science in 2001. Barry also taught at the University of Chicago, in the departments of philosophy and political science. During this time he edited the journal Ethics, helping raise its publication standards.[2] Under his editorship, it became perhaps the leading journal for moral and political philosophy.[3]

He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1978.[4] Barry was a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of York in 2006.[5]

In 2014, the British Academy, in partnership with Cambridge University Press and The British Journal of Political Science, founded an annual prize in political science in his honour: the Brian Barry Prize in Political Science.[6]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Why Social Justice Matters (Polity 2005)
  • Culture & Equality: An Egalitarian Critique of Multiculturalism (2001)
  • Justice as Impartiality (1995)
  • Liberty and Justice: Essays in Political Theory (1991)
  • Theories of Justice (Berkeley, 1989)
  • Democracy, Power, and Justice: Essays in Political Theory (Oxford, 1989)
  • The Liberal Theory of Justice (1973)
  • Sociologists, Economists and Democracy (1970)
  • Political Argument (1965, Reissue 1990)

Further reading[edit]

  • Justice & Democracy: Essays for Brian Barry, edited by Keith Dowding, Robert E. Goodin, and Carole Pateman (2004)
  • Multiculturalism Reconsidered: 'Culture and Equality' and Its Critics, edited by Paul Kelly (2002)
  • Impartiality, Neutrality and Justice: Re-Reading Brian Barry's 'Justice as Impartiality', edited by Paul Kelly (2001)


  1. ^ "Professor Brian Barry". The Telegraph. 5 April 2009. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  2. ^ "...he was the editor who saved the journal Ethics." -
  3. ^ "From 1979 to 1982 he edited Ethics, establishing it as the leading journal of moral and political philosophy." -
  4. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
  5. ^ "University of York press release". Archived from the original on 6 July 2006. Retrieved 26 January 2007.
  6. ^

External links[edit]