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Joel Landis


Primary Field: Political Theory
PhD expected June 2017

Dissertation Committee Composition
John T. Scott (Chair), Robert S. Taylor, and Shalini Satkunanandan

Research Focus

Parties, as was famously said, are the “orphans of political philosophy.” My research seeks to address this remarkable silence in political theory by investigating the oft overlooked but rich resources for thinking about party and faction found throughout the history of political thought. In my dissertation, I examine David Hume’s philosophical and historical project in order to articulate his theory of party. Hume shows how political divisions can be explained as natural products of our psychology, and how the religious and philosophical speculation that gained such prominence in the modern experience might exacerbate this psychological propensity toward division.

Dissertation: “David Hume on the Psychology and Nature of Political Party”