Professor of Political Science

Curriculum Vitae

Alexander Kaufman is a Professor of political science at the University of Georgia. He has taught political theory at the University of Georgia since 2000. His research explores the relation of central values of the democratic political tradition to issues and controversies in contemporary politics.

  • J.D., Columbia University 1983,
  • M.P.P., Harvard University 1990
  • Ph.D., The University of Chicago 1996
More About

In particular, his work carefully examines the meaning and policy implications of the notions of freedom and equality that are centrally emphasized in the democratic tradition.  To what extent does a commitment to freedom restrict the legitimate activities of the state? To what extent does the commitment to equality obligate the state to intervene to address problems of poverty and inequality?  Are these values and the goals associated with them in serious tension? Kaufman’s research explores these issues in the context of projects that examine the justification of the welfare state; the nature of egalitarian justice; and the basis of democratic legitimacy. Kaufman’s primary research interest involves the theory of the welfare state.  Kaufman has recently been invited to present papers at UCSD’s 2011 Conference on New Frontiers in Global Justice, the University of Tennessee’s Department of Philosophy (Fall 2011), and the University of Illinois’s Symposium in Honor of the 300th Anniversary of Rousseau’s Birth (Spring 2012).  In his spare time, he studies and performs the classical piano literature, in particular works by Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, and Ravel.

Areas of Expertise
  • Distributive Justice
  • Egalitarian Justice
  • Democratic Theory
  • German Idealism/Kant, Hegel
  • Social Contract Theory
  • Theories of Legitimacy
  • Political Constructivism
  • Legal Theory
  • Modern Political Thought
  • Ancient Political Thought
  • Theory of the Welfare State
  • Social Choice Theory
  • Conceptual Foundations of Rational Choice Theory
Honors, Awards, and Achievements
  • Nominated by Department of Political Science for SPIA Teaching Award, 2004
  • Nominated by Department of Political Science for Russell Teaching Award, 2003
  • SGA Award for Teaching Excellence, 2001
Course Instruction
Research Interests
  • Theory of the Welfare State
Selected Publications


  • Rawls’s Egalitarianism (Cambridge University Press:2018)
  • Distributive Justice and Access to Advantage: G. A. Cohen’s Egalitarianism (Cambridge University Press: 2015) (edited volume)
  • Capabilities Equality: Basic Issues and Problems (Routledge: December 2005) (edited volume).
  • Welfare in the Kantian State (Oxford University Press, 1999).

Journal Articles:

  • *“Reasoning About Distributive Justice: Democratic Equality and Basic Social Institutions.” Philosophy and Public Issues 9:2 (2020)
  • *“The Core of an Unqualified Case for Judicial Review.” Brooklyn Law Review 82:1 (January 2017): 1-54 (co-author: M. Runnels)
  • *“A Satisfactory Minimum Conception of Justice: Reconsidering Rawls’s Maximin Argument.” Economics & Philosophy, Volume 29: 3 (November 2013)
  • *“Political Liberalism, Constructivism, and Global Justice.” Journal of Moral Philosophy, Volume 10: 5 (2013)
  • *“Rawls and Kantian Constructivism.” Kantian Review, Volume 17: 2 (July 2012).
  • *“Stability, Fit, and Consensus.” Journal of Politics, Volume 71: 2 (April 2009).
  • *“Capabilities and Freedom.” Journal of Political Philosophy, Volume 14: 3 (September 2006): 289-300.
  • *“Rawls’s Practical Conception of Justice: Opinion, Tradition and Objectivity in Political Liberalism.” Journal of Moral Philosophy, Volume 3: 1 (March 2006): 23-43.
  • *“Choice, Responsibility and Equality.” Political Studies, Volume 52 (December 2004): 819-836.
  • *“The Myth of the Patterned Principle: Rawls, Nozick and Entitlements.” Polity, Volume 36: 4 (July 2004): 559-578.
  • *“Policy Experiments and Poverty Politics.” Social Service Review, Volume 74: 4 (December 2000): 507-532.
  • *“Hegel and the Ontological Critique of Liberalism.” American Political Science Review, Volume 91: 4 (1997): 807-817.
  • *“Community and Indigence: A Hegelian Perspective on Aid to the Poor.” Journal of Political Philosophy, Volume 5: 1 (March 1997): 69-92.
  • *“Reason, Self-Legislation and Legitimacy: Conceptions of Freedom in the Political Thought of Rousseau and Kant.” Review of Politics Volume 59: 1 (Winter 1997): 25-52.
  • *“Incompletely Theorized Agreement: A Plausible Ideal for Legal Reasoning?” Georgetown Law Journal, Volume 85: 2 (December 1996): 395-415.