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Leif Wenar

Olive H. Palmer Professor in Humanities
and, by courtesy, Professor of Political Science and Professor of Law
Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment

After receiving his AB in Philosophy at Stanford, Leif Wenar earned his PhD in Philosophy at Harvard, then worked in Britain, and returned to the Stanford Philosophy Department in September 2020. He is currently developing unity theory, a new theory of what makes for more valuable lives, relationships, and societies.

He is the author of Blood Oil: Tyrants, Violence, and the Rules that Run the World and the author-meets-critics volume Beyond Blood Oil: Philosophy, Policy, and the Future. He is also the author of the entries ‘John Rawls’ and ‘Rights’ in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. His articles have appeared in MindAnalysisPhilosophy & Public AffairsEthics, The Journal of Political PhilosophyThe Columbia Law Review, and The Philosopher’s Annual. He co-edited an autobiographical volume on the economist FA Hayek, as well as Giving Well: The Ethics of Philanthropy.

He has been a Visiting Professor at the Stanford Center on Ethics and Society, a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, the William H. Bonsall Visiting Professor in the Stanford Philosophy Department, a Laurance S. Rockefeller Fellow and a Visiting Professor at Princeton’s University Center for Human Values, a Visiting Professor at the Princeton Department of Politics, a Fellow of the Program on Justice and the World Economy at the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Ethics and Public Affairs at The Murphy Institute of Political Economy, and a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University School of Philosophy.

His public writing has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Foreign Affairs, and the playbill for the White Light Festival at Lincoln Center. In London, he served for several years on the Mayor’s Policing Ethics Panel, which advises the Mayor and the Metropolitan Police on issues such as digital surveillance and the use of force.

His work can be found at