School of Social and Political Science

Professor Mathias Thaler

Job Title

Chair of Political Theory

Mathias Thaler
Personal website
Personal website

Room number

Room 4.09

Building (Address)

Chrystal Macmillan Building

Street (Address)

15a George Square

City (Address)


Country (Address)


Post code (Address)


Research interests

Research interests

  • Critical theory
  • Environmental politics
  • Just War Theory
  • Utopia
  • Dystopia
  • Art and politics
  • Ideology
  • Reconciliation
  • Political forgiveness
  • Democratic theory
  • Political violence and non-violence
  • Pragmatism

Topics interested in supervising

I am interested in supervising projects within the following fields of research:

  • Contemporary political theory
  • Democratic theory
  • Political violence
  • Utopianism and radical politics

This webpage is very helpful in preparing the proposal:

In case you are unsure as to whether I am the right person to serve as your supervisor, feel free to contact me via email with a short summary of your project as well as a recent CV.

Please see the links below (open in new windows) for more information:


New book out now: No Other Planet: Utopian Visions for a Climate-Changed World
[For a 20% discount, enter the code THALER22 at the checkout.]

Mathias Thaler is Professor of Political Theory in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh. His main research interest is in contemporary political theory. Thaler regularly teaches courses on democratic theory, populism, human rights and the morality of war and violence. He currently serves as Co-Director of Research in the School of Social and Political Science.

Thaler is the author of No Other Planet (Cambridge University Press 2022), Naming Violence (Columbia University Press 2018), Moralische Politik oder politische Moral? (Campus 2008), and co-editor (with Mihaela Mihai) of Political Violence and the Imagination (Routledge 2020) and of On the Uses and Abuses of Political Apologies (Palgrave 2014). His papers have appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as the British Journal of Political ScienceEnvironmental PoliticsEuropean Journal of Political TheoryPerspectives on PoliticsPolitical StudiesPolitical Theory, and Review of Politics, amongst others.

His recent research has been funded by the European Commission, through a Marie Curie Career Integration Grant (2013–2017), and by the Leverhulme Trust, through a Research Fellowship (2020–2021). Thaler has moreover been the recipient of competitive awards from the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Theodor Körner Fonds and the Gulbenkian Foundation, as well as smaller funders. Over the past ten years, Thaler has held visiting fellowships at the University of Oxford, the Université de Montréal, KU Leuven and the University of Sydney.

Download CV.

Staff Hours and Guidance

In semester 2, 2022/23, my office hours are from 9:00am to 11:00am on Monday.

To attend, please book a slot.

Outside term, email me for an appointment.

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Thaler M. Review of Utopia in the Age of Survival: Between Myth and Politics (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2021), by S. D. Chrostowska. Review of Politics. 2023;85(1):141–44.
Thaler M. No Other Planet: Utopian Visions for a Climate-Changed World. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press, 2022. 364 p.
Thaler M. [Review of] S. D. Chrostowska: Utopia in the Age of Survival: Between Myth and Politics. Review of Politics. 2022 Sep 13;1-3.
Thaler M. Visionen für einen kaputten Planeten. Das Tagebuch. 2022 May 1;(5).
Thaler M. Rescuing utopianism in a climate-changed world. Los Angeles Review of Books. 2022 Apr 24.
Thaler M. Der Sinn von sozialem Träumen: Warum utopisches Denken und Handeln uns für den Klimanotstand etwas bringt. Falter Heureka. 2022 Apr 1;(1):22.
Thaler M. Wessen Zukunft? Welcher Planet? Die Presse. 2022 Mar 26.
Thaler M. Warning through extrapolation: On the practical aims of dystopia. Utopian Studies. 2022 Mar 1;33(1):90-106.
Thaler M. What if: Multispecies justice as the expression of utopian desire. Environmental Politics. 2022 Feb 23;31(2):258-276.
Thaler M. The power of utopia: The need for utopian imagination. IAI News. 2021 Nov 5.
Thaler M. 'We are going to have to imagine our way out of this!': Utopian thinking and acting in the climate emergency. Ideology Theory Practice. 2021 Sep 13.
Tschakert P, Schlosberg D, Celermajer D, Rickards L, Winter C, Thaler M et al. Multispecies justice: Climate-just futures with, for and beyond humans. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change. 2021 Mar;12(2):1-10. e699.
Celermajer D, Schlosberg D, Rickards L, Stewart-Harawira M, Thaler M, Tschakert P et al. Multispecies justice: Theories, challenges, and a research agenda for environmental politics. Environmental Politics. 2021 Jan;30(1-2):119-140.
Thaler M, (ed.), Mihai M, (ed.). Political Violence and the Imagination: Complicity, Memory and Resistance. 1 ed. London: Routledge, 2020. 146 p.
Thaler M. [Review of] Staged: Show Trials, Political Theater, and the Aesthetics of Judgment (New York: Columbia University Press, 2018), by Minou Arjomand. Contemporary Political Theory. 2020 Jun 1;19(2):134-137.
Thaler M. [Review of] Between Specters of War and Visions of Peace: Dialogic Political Theory and the Challenges of Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019) by Gerald M. Mara. Perspectives on Politics. 2020 Mar;18(1):253–255.
Thaler M. Bleak dreams, not nightmares: Critical dystopias and the necessity of melancholic hope. Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory. 2019 Dec 18;26(4):607-622.
Thaler M. Peace as a Minor, Grounded Utopia: On Prefigurative and Testimonial Pacifism. Perspectives on Politics. 2019 Dec 1;17(4):1003-1018.
Mihai M, Thaler M. Political violence and the imagination: An introduction. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy. 2019 Aug 31;22(5):497-503.
Mihai M, (ed.), Thaler M, (ed.). Special Issue: Political Violence and the Imagination. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy. 2019 Aug 31;22(5):497-636.
Thaler M. Radicalizing the critique of just war thinking. Humanity. 2019 Aug 21.
Thaler M. Reconciliation through estrangement. Review of Politics. 2018 Oct 30;80(4 (Fall 2018)):649–673.
Thaler M. Hope Abjuring Hope: On the Place of Utopia in Realist Political Theory. Political Theory. 2018 Oct 1;46(5):671-697. 1.
Thaler M. Unhinged Frames: Assessing Thought Experiments in Normative Political Theory. British journal of political science. 2018 Oct;48(4):1119-1141.
Thaler M. Naming Violence: A Critical Theory of Genocide, Torture, and Terrorism. New York: Columbia University Press, 2018. 248 p. (New Directions in Critical Theory).
Mihai M, (ed.), McNay L, Marchart O, Norval A, Paipais V, (ed.), Prozorov S et al. Democracy, critique and the ontological turn. Contemporary Political Theory. 2017 Nov 30;16(4):501-531.
Thaler M. A dialectical view of Prague. Philosophy and Social Criticism. 2017 Apr 6;43(3):343-344.
Thaler M. A Pragmatist Defence of the Ban on Torture: From Moral Absolutes to Constitutive Rules of Reasoning. Political Studies. 2016 Oct 3;64(3):765-781.
Thaler M. Norms, stories and ideologies: What we talk about when we talk about political secularism. In Colom González F, D'Amato G, editors, Multireligious Society: Dealing with Religious Diversity in Theory and Practice. Routledge. 2016. p. 29. 2
Thaler M. Political Imagination and the Crime of Crimes: Coming to Terms with "Genocide" and "Genocide Blindness". Contemporary Political Theory. 2014 Nov 1;13(4):358-379.
Thaler M. On Time in Just War Theory: From Chronos to Kairos. Polity. 2014 Oct;46(4):520-546.
Thaler M. Neo-Grotian Predicaments: On Larry May's Theory of International Criminal Law. Journal of International Political Theory. 2014 Oct;10(3):345-360.
Thaler M, (ed.), Mihai M, (ed.). On the Uses and Abuses of Political Apologies. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.
Thaler M, Kraus PA, (ed.). Norms, Stories, and Ideologies: What We Talk About When We Talk About Political Secularism: RECODE Working Paper Series. RECODE – Responding to Complex Diversity in Europe and Canada, 2013.
Thaler M. Deep contextualism and radical criticism: The argument for a division of labour in contemporary political theory. In Caldas JC, Neves V, editors, Facts, Values and Objectivity in Economics. 1st ed. London: Routledge. 2012. p. 138-157. (Routledge Frontiers of Political Economy).
Mihai M, Thaler M. Interview with Alessandro Ferrara, University "Tor Vergata", Rome, Italy: Interview topic: Democratic Openness. 2012.
Thaler M, Rosas JC, González I. Filosofia Política. In Galvão P, editor, Filosofia: Uma Introdução por Disciplinas. Lisbon: Edições 70. 2012. p. 175-213. (Extra Coleção).
Thaler M. Deep Contextualism and Radical Criticism: The Argument for a Division of Labor in Contemporary Political Theory. In Castro Caldas JM, Neves V, editors, Facts, Values and Objectivity in Economics. New York: Routledge. 2012. p. 138-157
Thaler M. Zwei Begründungsmuster für interkulturelles Philosophieren: Two Justifications of Intercultural Philosophy. In Gmainer-Pranzl F, Graness A, editors, Perspektiven interkulturellen Philosophierens: Beiträge zur Geschichte und Methodik von Polylogen. Wien: Facultas. 2012. p. 38-44
Thaler M. Just Pretending: Political Apologies for Historical Injustice and Vice's Tribute to Virtue. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy. 2012;15(3):259-278.
Thaler M. Comment on Wilfried Hinsch. Ideal justice and rational dissent: A critique of Amartya Sen's The Idea of Justice. Analyse and Kritik. 2011 Dec 1;33(2):387-393.
Thaler M. Comment on Wilfried Hinsch: Ideal Justice and Rational Dissent: A Critique of Amartya Sen's Idea of Justice. Analyse and Kritik. 2011;33(2):387-393.
Thaler M. Political Judgment Beyond Paralysis and Heroism. European Journal of Political Theory. 2011;10(2):225-253.
Thaler M. Was zeichnet ein politisches Fehlurteil aus? Überlegungen zum Verhältnis von Wahrheit und Politik. In Lehmann S, Loidolt S, editors, Urteil und Fehlurteil. Wien: Turia + Kant. 2011. p. 269-282
Thaler M, (ed.), Toldy T, (ed.). Secularismos hoje. e-cadernos CES. 2011;(13).
Toldy T, Thaler M. Introduçao. e-cadernos CES. 2011;(13).
Thaler M. The Illusion of Purity: Chantal Mouffe's Realist Critique of Cosmopolitanism. Philosophy and Social Criticism. 2010;36(7):785-800.
Thaler M. Review of Religious America, Secular Europe? A Theme and Variation. Religion and Society. 2010;1(1):191-193.
Thaler M. Review of Secularism, Religion and Multicultural Citizenship. Religion and Society. 2010;1(1):191-194.
Thaler M. From Public Reason to Reasonable Accommodation: Negotiating the Place of Religion in the Public Sphere. Diacritica. 2009;23(2):249-270.
Thaler M. Moralische Politik oder politische Moral? Eine Analyse aktueller Debatten zur internationalen Gerechtigkeit. Frankfurt/New York: Campus Verlag, 2008.
Thaler M, (ed.), Schelkshorn H, (ed.). Gerechter Krieg? polylog: Zeitschrift für interkulturelles Philosophieren. 2007 Jan 15;(16).
Thaler M, (ed.), Wimmer FM, (ed.). Menschenrechte zwischen Wirtschaft, Recht und Ethik. polylog: Zeitschrift für interkulturelles Philosophieren. 2006;(14).