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Professor of Philosophy, University of Stirling

Rowan Cruft joined Philosophy at Stirling in 2002 after completing his PhD - on the justification of property rights - at Cambridge. Rowan's research examines the nature and justification of rights and duties, and their role in shaping a democratic public sphere.

Rowan's recent book - Human Rights, Ownership, and the Individual (OUP, 2019) - examines the distinction between rights grounded primarily by what they do for the right-holder (e.g. our 'basic' human rights) and those grounded by what they do for the wider community independently of their benefits to the right-holder (e.g. most property rights and other useful created systems of rights). He is also co-editor of Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights (OUP, 2015).

Rowan is currently part of a project, Norms for the New Public Sphere, with Natalie Ashton (Stirling), Fabienne Peter (Warwick) and Jonathan Heawood (Senior Research Fellow), funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council from 2019-22. The project brings together academic philosophers with those working in media studies and media activists and professionals, in order to investigate the opportunities and challenges that new social media pose for public political discussion.

A guiding aim of Rowan’s research is to demonstrate how philosophical positions bear on the justification of public policies and law. He has participated in policy development for NGOs and government, and in public inquiries including in 2012 as an invited participant at the Leveson Inquiry.


  • –present
    Professor of Philosophy, University of Stirling