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John T. Scott

John T. Scott

Professor and Chair;

Professor of French and Italian (Affiliated)

683 Kerr Hall Department of Political Science
University of California, Davis
One Shields Ave
Davis CA 95616

Office Phone: (530) 661-8145

Office Hours for Fall 2016 :

  • Tuesday 10-12, or by appointment.



PhD., Political Science, University of Chicago, 1992

M.A., Political Science, University of Chicago, 1988

B.A., cum laude with High Honors in Government, Dartmouth College, 1985



John Scott’s primary research is in the history of political philosophy, with a specialization in early modern political thought. Most of his work has focused on the thought of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, although he has also published studies of Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, Hume, Diderot, and Smith. He has a secondary research interest in experimental approaches to distributive justice, and related areas such as perceptions of legitimacy of Supreme Court decisions.

Recent Research in Political Philosophy

The Routledge Guide to Machiavelli’s “The Prince.”  Routledge, 2016

"Spontaneous Disorder in Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments: Resentment, Injustice, and the Appeal to Providence," Journal of Politics (April 2015) (with Michelle A. Schwarze)

“The Illustrative Education of Rousseau’s Emile,” American Political Science Review 108 (September 2014)

Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Major Political Writings. Trans. and ed. John T. Scott. University of Chicago Press, 2012

"Rousseau's Unease with Locke's Uneasiness," in The Challenge of Rousseau, ed. Christopher Kelly and Eve Grace, Cambridge University Press, 2012

"Do You See What I See? The Education of the Reader in Rousseau’s Emile," The Review of Politics 74 (Summer 2012)

"Emile et les principes du droit politique: Le précis partiel du Contrat social et la double visée de la théorie politique de Rousseau," in 'Vivant ou mort il les inquiétera toujours': Etudes pour le tricenternaire de Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-2012), ed. Michael O'Dea, Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century (SVEC); 2013:1

"Sin City: Augustine and Machiavelli's Reordering of Rome," Journal of Politics 73 (July 2011) (with John M. Warner)

"Another Dangerous Supplement: Diderot's Dialogue with Rousseau in the Supplément au Voyage de Bougainville," in Rousseau et les philosophes, ed. Michael O'Dea, Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century (SVEC); 2012:1

The Philosophers' Quarrel: Rousseau, Hume, and the Limits of Human Understanding. Yale University Press, 2009 (with Robert Zaretsky)

Recent Research in Distributive Justice and Related Topics

"Capitol Mobility: Madisonian Representation and the Location and Relocation of Capitals in the United States," American Political Science Review 107 (May 2013) (with Erik J. Engstrom and Jesse R. Hammond)

"Courting the Public: The Influence of Decision Attributes on Individuals' Views of Court Opinions," Journal of Politics 71 (July 2009) (with James F. Spriggs II and James R. Zink)

"What's Fair in Foul Weather and Fair? Distribution Principles across Different Allocation Contexts and Goods," Journal of Politics (July 2009) (with Brian H. Bornstein)

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests:

Political Theory:

Modern Political Thought