Young people on a row holding each others hands.
Democracy, equality, justice and freedom are some of the areas studied in the political science field of political theory.
Photo: Duy Pham

Political Theory

Research group

Short description

The field of political theory covers a number of sub-areas, of which the normative political theory is the most prevalent. It addresses a number of important, normative societal issues about the relationship between the individual and society, what makes a society fair, what constraints on freedom are justified in liberal societies, how to resolve value conflicts in multicultural societies, etc. Other areas are the history of political ideas, political theory, conceptual analysis and to a certain extent also philosophy of science.

Examples of political-theoretical issues

  •  What role should notions of individual desert play for notions of a fair distribution of resources?
  • What is the relevance of biological factors for explaining social conditions?
  • What are the civic virtues of the liberal society?
  • What is the political system that, in the most fair and efficient way, enables the sustainable use of the earth's resources?
  • Who should pay the most for the costs of climate change, and why?
  • What role should truth claims have in liberal democracies?
  • How should value conflicts be resolved in a multicultural society?
  •  What causes social norms to emerge and what causes them to change?

Research group

Göran Duus-Otterström, Professor

Lina Eriksson, Professor

Henrik Friberg-Fernros, Senior Lecturer

Sofia Wiman, Doctoral Student.

The latest publications


Göran Duus-Otterström and Olle Torpman (eds.) Klimatetik. Special issue of Tidskrift för Politisk Filosofi 2023: 1.

Book chapters

Göran Duus-Otterström, G. (2023). Fair-Play Theories of Punishment. In Matthew Altman (ed.) The Palgrave Handbook on the Philosophy of Punishment. London: Palgrave, 291-312.

Friberg-Fernros, H. (2022). A plausible account of basic human equality. In Colgrove, N., Blackshaw, B. P., & Rodger, D. (eds.) Agency, Pregnancy and Persons: Essays in Defense of Human Life. London: Routledge Annals of Bioethics.

Göran Duus-Otterström (2022). Retributivism and Severity. In Jesper Ryberg (ed.) Oxford Handbook on Punishment Theory and Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Göran Duus-Otterström (2022). Fair-Play Theories of Punishment. In Matthew Altman (ed.) Palgrave Handbook on the Philosophy of Punishment. London: Palgrave.

Göran Duus-Otterström et al. (2022). Att mota Olle på andra sidan grind – svenskarnas uppfattningar om klimatanpassningsåtgärder. In Ulrika Andersson, Henrik Ekengren Oscarsson, Björn Rönnerstrand and Nora Theorin (red) Du sköra nya värld. Göteborg: SOM-institutet, Göteborgs universitet.

Göran Duus-Otterström (2021). Mitt ansvar: klimatförändringarna och pliktens långa rötter. I M. Linton (red) Klimat och Moral. Stockholm: Natur & Kultur.


Brülde, Bengt, U Martin Persson, Lina Eriksson and Fredrik Hedenus (2023). Whose fault is it? Environmental Ethics 45(2): 103-129, 2023.

Göran Duus-Otterström and Andrei Poama (2023). Are Private Prisons Intrinsically Wrong? An Analysis. Jus Cogens. Online first.

Göran Duus-Otterström (2023). Liability for Emitting without Laws or Political Institutions. Law & Philosophy 42: 461–486.

Göran Duus-Otterström (2023). Subsistence Emissions and Climate Justice. British Journal of Political Science 53(3): 919–933.

Göran Duus-Otterström and Ed Page (2023). Defeating Wrongdoing: Why Victims of Unjust Harm Should Take Priority over Victims of Bad Luck. Social Theory & Practice 49(1):57–77.

Ed Page and Göran Duus-Otterström (2023). Correcting Unjust Enrichment: Explaining and Defending the Duty to Disgorge the Benefits of Wrongdoing. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, online first.

Friberg-Fernros, H., & Karlsson Schaffer, J. (2022). An epistemic alternative to the public justification requirement. Philosophy & Social Criticism.

Friberg‐Fernros, H. (2022). Against the Religious Neutrality Requirement. Ratio Juris.

Duus-Otterström (2021). Do Offenders Deserve Proportionate Punishments?. Criminal Law & Philosophy.

Göran Duus-Otterström (2021). Sovereign States in the Greenhouse: Does Jurisdiction Speak Against Consumption-Based Emissions Accounting?. Ethics, Policy & Environment.

Göran Duus-Otterström (2021). Fair-Play Obligations and Distributive Injustice. European Journal of Political Theory 20:2, 167–186.