David Miller - Research

Further information about research projects, publications and teaching.

See Academic Profile page.

Research Interests

I have wide interests in the field of political theory. Although in the past I have done some work in the history of political thought, my research is now focussed on issues in contemporary political theory and philosophy. These include: theories of justice and equality; democratic theory; the concepts of nationality, citizenship and territory; multiculturalism and immigration; and global justice. 

I have recently published two co-edited books, listed below: one collects articles by philosophers on the moral and political issues posed by the refugee crisis;  the other is multidisciplinary and brings together political philosophers, political scientists and political psychologists to explore liberal nationalist claims about the beneficial effects of national identities.  In late 2019 I also published a short book with Polity defending political self-determination in the face of current scepticism about that idea, Is Self-Determination a Dangerous Illusion?.

I was interviewed about the book by BBC Radio Scotland: see


I have also recently recorded a more general interview at the Political Philosophy Podcast:




Current Research Projects

I am currently working on two papers that are follow-ups to articles recently accepted for publication.  One examines how the duty of rescue might be affected by the responsibility of the person in need of rescue for having got into danger; the other compares and contrasts Rawls and Sidgwick on desert and distributive justice, implying that in this respect Rawls remained closer to the utilitarian tradition than is often realised.  In the longer term I intend to continue work on questions related to immigration: in particular, together with Christine Straehle, I am planning a research project on the ethical and political issues raised by climate-induced migration.  I will also pursue my long-standing interest in liberal nationalism, and hope to co-author with Lea Ypi a for-and-against volume on nationalism's potential as a vehicle for progressive change in the world today

Research Students

Henrik Dahlquist (jointly with Stemplowska)

Rufaida Al-Hashmi (jointly with Stemplowska)

Abigail Whalen (B. Phil Philosophy)

Oliver Woolley (B. Phil Philosophy)

Glenn Hay (M. St Political Theory)

Clare Cai (Nuffield College Supervisor)

Recent and Forthcoming Publications


'Needs-based Justice: Theory and Evidence' in A. Bauer and M. Meyerhuber (eds.), Empirical Research and Normative Theory, Berlin, De Gruyter.

'What’s Wrong with Religious Establishment?', Criminal Law and Philosophy.

‘Socialism and the Nation-State’ in D. Loick (ed.), Essays for Axel Honneth, Lanham, MD, Rowman and Littlefield.

(with Erica Benner), ‘The Idea of the Nation’ in D. Meacham and N. de Warren (eds.), Handbook of Europe and Philosophy, Abingdon, Routledge.

‘The Nature and Limits of the Duty of Rescue’, Journal of Moral Philosophy.

‘The Political Philosophy of Henry Sidgwick’, Utilitas.

‘Justifying the Right of Return’, Theoretical Inquiries in Law.

‘Doing Political Philosophy’ in D. Butt, S. Fine and Z. Stemplowska (eds.), Political Philosophy, Here and Now: Essays in Honour of David Miller, Oxford, Oxford University Press.


(co-edited with Christine Straehle), The Political Philosophy of Refuge, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

(co-edited with Gina Gustavsson), Liberal Nationalism and its Critics: Normative and Empirical Questions, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

'Immigration' in T. Brooks (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Global Justice, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

'Selecting Refugees' in D. Miller and C. Straehle (eds), The Philosophy of Refuge, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

'The Coherence of Liberal Nationalism' in G. Gustavsson and D Miller (eds.), Liberal Nationalism and its Critics, Oxford, Oxford University Press.


Is Self-Determination a Dangerous Illusion?, Cambridge, Polity Press.

'Lockeans versus Nationalists on Territorial Rights', Politics, Philosophy and Economics, 18, 323-35.

'The Life and Death of Multiculturalism' in E. Goodyear-Grant, R. Johnston, W. Kymlicka, and J. Myles (eds.), Federalism and the Welfare State in a Multicultural World, Kingston, McGill-Queens University Press.

'The Extent and Limits of Global Justice' in J.-M. Coicaud and L. E. Sieger (eds.), Conversations on Justice from National, International, and Global Perspectives: Dialogues with Leading Thinkers, Cambridge and New York, Cambridge University Press.

'Our Responsibilities to Refugees' in M. Hoesch and L. Laube (eds.), Proceedings of the 2018 ZiF Workshop “Studying Migration Policies at the Interface between Empirical Research and Normative Analysis”, ULB Münster (miami.uni-muenster.de), doi: 10.17879/95189441435.

(with Gillian Brock), 'Needs in Moral and Political Philosophy', Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy.


'What Makes a Democratic People?' in R. Baubock (ed.), Democratic Inclusion: Rainer Baubock in Dialogue, Manchester, Manchester University Press.

A Response to Song, Stilz and Oberman', symposium on Strangers in Our Midst, European Political Science, 17, 661-66.

'Justice Beyond the Armchair', symposium on ‘Who Cares What the People Think? Revisiting David Miller’s Approach to Thinking about Justice’, Contemporary Political Theory, 17, 97-104.

(with Patti Lenard) 'Trust and National Identity' in E. Uslaner (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Social and Political Trust, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

(with Isaac Taylor) 'Public Goods' in S. Olsaretti (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Distributive Justice, Oxford, Oxford University Press.


'In What Sense must Political Philosophy be Political?', Social Philosophy and Policy, 33, 155-74.

'Human Rights and Status Egalitarianism', Ethics and International Affairs, 30, 461-69.

'Solidarity and its Sources' in K. Banting and W. Kymlicka (eds.), The Strains of Commitment, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

'Justice', Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy.

'Fair Trade: What does it Mean and Why does it Matter?', Journal of Moral Philosophy, 14, 249-69.

'Migration, Flucht und der liberale Staat', Deutsche Zeitschrift fur Philosophie, 65, 692-708.


Strangers in Our Midst: the political philosophy of immigration, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press.

'Is there a Human Right to Immigrate?' in S. Fine and L. Ypi (eds.), Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

'Majorities and Minarets: Religious Freedom and Public Space', British Journal of Political Science, 46, 437-56.

'How “Realistic” should Global Political Theory be? Some reflections on the debate so far’, Journal of International Political Theory, 12, 217-33.

'Boundaries, Democracy, and Territory’, American Journal of Jurisprudence, 61, 33-49.

'Democracy, Exile and Revocation: a reply to Patti Lenard’, Ethics and International Affairs, 30, 265-70.

'How to Think about Immigration: control, protection, discretion and democracy', Juncture, 23, 40-45.

'Neo-Kantian Theories of Self-Determination: A Critique', Review of International Studies, 42, 858-75.

(with Margaret Moore) 'Territorial Rights' in D. Held and P. Maffetone (eds.), Global Political Theory, Cambridge, Polity Press.


(edited with an Introduction), Moral Philosophy and Politics, 1 (2), Special Issue on Fair Trade.

Foreword to C. Fourie, F. Schuppert and I. Walliman-Helmer, Social Equality: On what it Means to be Equals, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

‘Joseph Raz on Human Rights: a critical appraisal’ in R. Cruft, M. Liao and M. Renzo (eds.), Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

'Das Carensproblem', Political Theory, 43, 387-93.

'Justice in Immigration', European Journal of Political Theory, 14, 391-408.

'Is there a Human Right to Democracy?' in R. Kreide, R. Celikates and T. Wesche (eds.), Transformations of Democracy: Crisis, Protest and Legitimation, Lanham, MD.,Rowman and Littlefield.

'Democracy in Europe: a plea for pluralism' in P. Van Parijs and L Van Middelaar eds.), After the Storm. Can European Democracy be Saved?, Tielt, Lannoo.

For publications prior to 2015, please consult my c.v.