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John Gardner (legal philosopher)

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Alma mater
University of Oxford

Legal positivism

John Gardner

25 March 1965 (age 59) (
Glasgow, Scotland

Main interests
Legal philosophy Criminal law Tort law

University of Oxford

Interview with john gardner by diego papayannis

John Gardner FBA (born 23 March 1965) is a Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford University, and previously the Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Oxford and fellow of University College, Oxford.


Life and career

Gardner attended Glasgow Academy from 1970 to 1982. The following year he moved to the University of Oxford, where he received his BA, BCL (winning the Vinerian Scholarship), MA, and DPhil, under the supervision of Joseph Raz and Tony Honoré. He has been associated with New College (as a student, 1983–7), All Souls College (as a fellow, 1986–91 and 1998–2000), and Brasenose College (as a fellow, 1991–1996). From 1996 to 2000 he was Reader in Legal Philosophy at King's College London. In 2000, at the age of just 35, he was appointed Professor of Jurisprudence, taking over the chair previously held by H. L. A. Hart and Ronald Dworkin. In summer 2016 he took up a senior research fellowship at All Souls.

Gardner has held several visiting positions, including at Columbia (2000), Yale (2002–3, 2005), Princeton (2008), the Australian National University (2003, 2006, 2008), and most recently Cornell (2015). A barrister since 1988, Gardner was elected a Bencher of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple (one of the Inns of Court) in 2002.

He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2013.

Philosophical work

Gardner writes on general jurisprudence, the philosophical foundations of tort law and criminal law, and moral philosophy. He describes Tony Honoré, his colleague since 1986, as his mentor; and says he owes his approach to general jurisprudence to H. L. A. Hart. His work is often compared to that of Joseph Raz. Gardner is also influenced by Aristotle and by Bernard Williams, one of his DPhil examiners.


  • Offences and Defences: Selected Essays in the Philosophy of Criminal Law (2007)
  • Law as a Leap of Faith: Essays on Law in General (2012)
  • From Personal Life to Private Law (forthcoming)
  • References

    John Gardner (legal philosopher) Wikipedia

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