John Martin Gillroy

John Martin Gillroy, Ph.D.
John Martin Gillroy
Professor of Philosophy, Law & Public Policy; Founding Director of the Environmental Policy Design Graduate Programs, Environmental Initiative


Ph.D The University of Cambridge (Law-Legal Philosophy 2016)

Ph.D. The University of Chicago (Political Philosophy-Public Policy 1985)

My interests are in using philosophical arguments, especially from Enlightenment philosophers, to illuminate a more essential and evolutionary understanding of politics, law and public policy. Specifically, I contend that to understand the dynamics of change as they affect human affairs, one needs to not just ‘know’ the observable facts of the issue but the essential assumptions the lawyer or policy-analyst is making about who the person is (e.g. consumer, citizen), what imperatives these assumptions about human character imply for the collective action problems involved in translating individual choice into collective welfare, and the role of the state in sorting the private sphere of choice from the public. To do this I have created a technique built from R.G. Collingwood’s Philosophical Method that translates whole philosophical arguments, or logics of concepts, about human nature (e.g. Aquinas, Hume, Kant, Hegel) into policy paradigms for both an understanding of the status-quo policy or blackletter law and innovative philosophical justifications for change. These paradigms then provide alternative sets of deductive premises for application to the empirical practice of law and public policy.

Currently I am involved in a three-book project to illuminate, through my technique, the origin of modern international law using a logic of concepts derived from David Hume, the current dilemmas of the international legal system through the philosophy of G.W.F. Hegel, and the future requirements of transnational authority as suggested by the philosophical-policy of Immanuel Kant. 

I am also the editor of a book series for Palgrave-Macmillan entitled: Philosophy, Public Policy And Transnational Law.

Recent Books:

I am presently working on a three-book contract with Palgrave-Macmillan, who will publish the following manuscripts as volumes of my ongoing research project, Philosophical Method, Policy Design & The International Legal System, with the following titles and delivery dates:

 Volume I: Gillroy, John Martin. 2013. An Evolutionary Paradigm For International Law: Philosophical Method, David Hume & The Essence Of Sovereignty.

Volume II: Gillroy, John Martin. 2018. The Assent Of Public Order Principles In International Law: Philosophical Method, G.W.F. Hegel & Legal Right Through Recognition.

Volume III: Gillroy, John Martin. 2020. International Law As Practical Reason: Philosophical Method, Immanuel Kant & The Duty To Ecological Constitutionalization.

[Book Series Editor]

Philosophy, Public Policy And Transnational Law:  Palgrave-Macmillan.

This new series, takes the philosophical and public policy foundations of legal practice seriously, that is, not in terms of bits and pieces of theory or policy used to illustrate empirical claims, but as a systematic and integral basis for the study of codified law. Transnational law includes the traditional categories of comparative and international law and seeks to understand the role of, not just states, but persons, international organizations, NGOs and governments that create or use law that transcends sovereign states. The series will pursue scholarship that integrates the superstructure of the positive law with its philosophical and public policy substructure producing a more three-dimensional understanding of transnational law and its evolution, meaning, and imperatives for the future. The series encourages an interdisciplinary approach to transnational law and seeks research reports, original manuscripts or edited collections that explore the essence of legal practice in both the public policy arguments that inform legal discourse and the philosophical precepts that create the logic of concepts inherent in policy debate. The series aims to expand the types and use of philosophical and policy paradigms exploring the nature of transnational law, so that its empirical dimensions are better illuminated for practioners and scholars alike.

Other Books:

  • Gillroy, John Martin & Breena Holland with Celia Campbell-Mohn. 2008. A Primer For Law & Policy Design: Understanding The Use Of Principle & Argument In Environmental & Natural Resource Law.West: Series.
  • Gillroy, John Martin and Joe Bowersox. (eds.). 2002. The Moral Austerity of Environmental Decision-Making: Sustainability, Democracy, And Normative Argument In Policy And Law. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
  • Gillroy, John Martin. 2000. Justice & Nature: Kantian Philosophy, Environmental Policy, and the Law. Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press.

For more complete information and to order the above and other titles, see my author page at Amazon:

Recent Articles:

  • “Philosophical-Policy & International Dispute Settlement: Process-Principle And The Ascendance of the WTO’s Concept Of Justice”, 3 Journal of International Dispute Settlement 53: 59-73 (2012).
  • “Justice-As-Sovereignty: David Hume & The Origins Of International Law” British Year Book of International Law. 79: 429-479 (2007).
  • "Adjdication Norms, Dispute Settlement Regimes And International Tribunals: The Status Of "Environmental Sustainability" In International Jurisprudence" Stanford Journal of International Law 42: 1-52 (2006).
  • "Making Public Choices: Kant's “Justice From Autonomy” As An Alternative To Rawls' “Justice As Fairness” Kant Studien 91: 44-72 (2000).
  • "Environmental Risk and the Traditional Sector Approach: Market Efficiency at the Core of Environmental Law?" RISK: Health, Safety & Environment  10: 139-76 (1999).
  • "Canadian & American Environmental Federalism: A Game-Theoretic Analysis" Policy Studies Journal  27: 360-88 (1999).
  • "Kantian Ethics & Environmental Policy Argument: Autonomy, Ecosystem Integrity and Our Duties To Nature" Ethics & The Environment  3: 131-58 (1998).
  • "Environmental Risk and The Politics of Assurance: Alternative Approaches To Waste Facility Siting" Risk, Decision and Policy  2: 245-58 (1997) [co-author].