Professor Gillian Brock

BSc, BA(Hons) (Cape Town), MA, PhD (Duke)

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Gillian Brock is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.  She is currently also a fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University.  She received her Ph.D. from Duke University in 1993 and joined the University of Auckland shortly thereafter.  Though she has been employed by the University of Auckland since 1993, she has held several international positions, especially while on sabbaticals.  These include fellowships or visiting positions at Harvard University (2013-2015); The University of California at Santa Barbara (2011); Nuffield College, Oxford (2008); The London School of Economics, Centre for the Study of Global Governance (2004); and The University of Texas at Austin (1997).

She has received several prestigious awards including a Fulbright Award in 2005 and she was joint winner of the 2014 Amartya Sen Prize.  Her research has been funded by more than 50 institutions in the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, China, and South Africa. 

She has published widely on ethics, political and social philosophy, and several applied ethics fields, along with a number of more inter-disciplinary areas.  Some of her recent research has been on global justice and related fields, and some of her current research projects lie at the intersection of philosophy and public policy (such as her project on institutional corruption). She has published more than 200 peer-reviewed publications. (See below for more publication details.)

She holds or has held editorial positions with 20 journals, encyclopedias or book series. For instance, she is currently Associate Editor for the journal, Politics, Philosophy and Economics.  She has served on a number of professional bodies, including the American Philosophical Association's Lectures, Publications and Research Committee; the American Philosophical Association’s Committee for International Co-operation; and she has chaired several prize sub-committees, such as the American Philosophical Association’s Kavka prize for the best article in political philosophy.

Research | Current

  • Issues concerning global and international justice
  • Social and political philosophy
  • Ethics
  • Applied ethics

Some Current Research Projects

I am currently involved in many, sometimes inter-linked, projects including the following.

1. Global Justice.  In Global Justice: A Cosmopolitan Account (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009) I outline an account of global justice that can offer guidance on a range of theoretical and policy issues.  This work has been the subject of significant discussion in philosophy and adjacent fields (for some of this discussion see the links provided below).

2. Migration and Justice. Temporary, permanent, illegal or irregular migration can all raise considerable matters of justice.  In this project I explore such issues.  In one recent monograph [Gillian Brock and Michael Blake Debating Brain Drain (Oxford University Press, 2015)], I explore what developing countries may permissibly do to solve problems associated with brain drain.  Michael Blake argues against the permissibility of my proposed solutions.

3. Institutional Integrity and Corruption.  What is institutional corruption?  What is it for institutions to operate with integrity?  In this work I have been collaborating with an inter-disciplinary team of researchers to address these and related questions in a range of fields including politics, health care, education, and finance.  Through my fellowship at the Safra Centre for Ethics at Harvard, I have been developing an account of institutional corruption and applying it in particular to fiscal institutions. For a sample of work on this project see this link:

4. Global Health Ethics. Infectious diseases, trade, poverty, research on new drugs, and climate change, are just a few of the factors that can considerably affect the state of global health.  Global health challenges are intimately linked to the global political economy and issues of social justice.  In work such as Global Health and Global Health Ethics (Ed. Solomon Benatar and Gillian Brock, Cambridge University Press, 2011) the kinds of responsibilities we have to improve global health are explored.

5. Debates between Cosmopolitans and Non-Cosmopolitans.  In this work I aim to assist in better understanding why Cosmopolitans and Non-Cosmopolitans disagree.  Often the two sides seem to talk past each other when opportunities for agreement are available.  I aim to clarify what is at stake and what work still needs to be done before a resolution is possible.  Representative works include Cosmopolitanism versus Non-Cosmopolitanism (Ed. Gillian Brock, Oxford University Press, 2013) and The Political Philosophy of Cosmopolitanism (Ed. Gillian Brock and Harry Brighouse, Cambridge University Press, 2005).

6. Tax Justice.  Taxation is one of the core functions of the state.  Without sufficient tax revenue governments are typically unable to discharge their obligations to citizens or, indeed, sustain an effective and legitimate state.  How the state collects revenue, and fails to collect revenue, can raise enormous issues of fairness.  In this work I explore these and related themes.  Some representative works include “Taxation and Global Justice: Closing the Gap between Theory and Practice” Journal of Social Philosophy 39 (2008), 161-184; and “Reforming our Taxation Arrangements to Promote Gender Justice, Philosophical Topics 37 (2010), 85-101.

7. Needs.  My PhD dissertation (completed in 1993) focused on the moral and political importance of needs. I continue to work on these issues in various ways including exploring the under-appreciated role needs can play in normative theory, especially in matters of distributive justice.  In response to invitations to publish on these themes, I continue to develop my account of what our needs are and what responsibilities are associated with needs. Several papers are in preparation.  Some past works include: Gillian Brock, “Need and Distributive Justice”. In The Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy, (Ed. Jerry Gaus and Fred D’Agostino, Routledge, 2013); and Necessary Goods: Our Responsibilities to Meet Others’ Needs (Ed., Gillian Brock, Rowman and Littlefield, 1998).

8. Exploitation and Decent Work: Article 23 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that “Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.”  In this project I explore what constitutes exploitative labor conditions and what might be entailed for our responsibilities if we take seriously the right to decent work.  A recent publication that explores these ideas is Gillian Brock “Global Poverty, Decent Work, and Remedial Responsibilities”. In Poverty, Coercion, and Human Rights, (Ed. Diana Meyers, Oxford University Press, 2014).

9. Understanding responsibilities.  In this work I explore models for assigning responsibilities justly.   Recently this question has taken a particular form: How might we fairly assign remedial responsibilities to different agents to reduce injustice? 

I have several inter-disciplinary interests and have published on topics in psychology, economics, politics, and health.  I have also worked on many other philosophical projects including the work of John Rawls, property rights, nationalism, egalitarianism, analytical work on core normative notions, environmental ethics, medical ethics, and business ethics.

Symposia on Global Justice (OUP, 2009)

Brock, G. Global Justice: A Cosmopolitan Account. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 384, 2009.

The book has been the subject of several symposia and some links to these are provided below.

The first symposium appeared in the Journal of Global Ethics Volume 5, No. 3, December 2009. The symposium includes review essays by Chris Armstrong, David Miller, and Darrel Moellendorf. I respond to these review essays in the same issue on pp 269-280.

Read more information about this symposium

Read my response on Informa World website

Brock, Gillian. “Concerns about Global Justice: A Response to Critics.” Journal of Global Ethics 5, no. 3 (2009): doi: 10.1080/17449620903403416. Read this on

Read the review essay by Chris Armstrong

Read the review essay by Darrel Moellendorf

Read the review essay by David Miller

To read essays on my book, Global Justice, by Omar Dahbour and Cindy Holder, along with my response see:

Public Affairs Quarterly, 26, 2012.

Available here:

To read essays on the book by Bruce Landesman and Cindy Holder, along with my response, see:

Diametros: A Polish Journal of Philosophy, 31, 2012.

Available here:

To read essays on the book by Anthony Langlois and Graham Findlay, along with my response, see:

Astrolabio. Revista international de filosofia, 12, 2011.

Available here:

To read essays on the book by Christian Barry, Christoph Boszies, Luis Cabrera, Holly Lawford-Smith, Patti Tamara Lenard, along with my response, see:

Global Justice: Theory, Practice, Rhetoric, Issue 4, 50-76, 2011. [ISSN: 1835-6842]. 

Available here:

To read essays on the book by Janna Thompson and Jon Mandle, along with my response, see:

Etica e Politica: Revista di filosophia/Ethics & Politics, 8 (1), 308-317, 2011.

Available here:

To read a response to an article by Stan van Hooft on my book in a previous issue, see:

BROCK, G. “Being reasonable in the face of pluralism and other alleged  problems for Global Justice”, Ethics and Global Politics, 3, no. 2, 155-170, 2010.

Available here:

To read an exchange of ideas from the book with Richard Miller and Darrel Moellendorf, along with my response, see:

Journal of Social Philosophy, Volume XLII, Number 1, 76-87, 2011.

Available here:

For some further reviews and review essays see:

Rosemary Bechler “Taking on the sceptics” The Political Quarterly, Vol. 80, No 4 (2009), see pages 599-600.

Nicole Hassoun has a review essay in Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy Volume 34 (2009), pages 257-261.

For a summary of further reviews see:

Teaching | Current

PHIL 205 Community, Society and Rights

PHIL 310 Political Philosophy 3

PHIL 767 Global Justice

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.


Contact details

Primary office location

ARTS 1 - Bldg 206
Level 4, Room 458
New Zealand

Web links