School of Social and Political Science

Dr Philip Cook

Job Title

Senior Lecturer

Photograph of Dr. Philip Cook

Room number


Building (Address)

Chrystal Macmillan Building

Street (Address)

15a George Square

City (Address)


Country (Address)


Post code (Address)


Research interests

Research interests

My recent work in political philosophy has focused on the moral and political status of children. I am particularly interested in understanding children's claims of justice as equal citizens. I currently focus on issues around justice in schools and education. I have also worked on the ethics of parenting, the ethics of child labour, and argued in defence of child enfranchisement.

Together with Dr. Mihaela Mihai, we co-founded a new University centre called CRITIQUE: Centre for Ethics and Critical Thought. CRITIQUE was launched in September 2020, and aims to bring together staff, students, and external partners with interests in an ethical and critical approach to issues in public affairs.

I am keen to pursue political philosophy in an interdisciplinary context. I am a founding member of the SSPS Education and Society Research Group, and led the Centre for Science, Knowledge, and Policy: SKAPE (Associate Director 2014-17, and Co-Director 2017-18). 

I have performed shows at Edinburgh Fringe Festival as part of the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas: 'Bring Back Child Labour!' and 'Abolish Childhood!' where I discussed how commitments to equality and social justice have radical implications for our approaches to childhood.

I served as Editor-in-Chief of Res Publica - A Journal of Moral, Legal and Political Philosophy between 2012-2020 (together with  Dr. Clare Chambers and Dr. Sune Laegaard). Res Publica is published on behalf of the Association for Social and Political Philosophy.

Topics interested in supervising

I am happy to supervise students working in contemporary political philosophy, particularly on topics of social justice, equality, childhood, schooling/education, and family relations

If you are interested in being supervised by Philip Cook, please see the links below (open in new windows) for more information:


I joined the University of Edinburgh in June 2013. Prior to my appointment at Edinburgh, I was a Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Leicester (2009-13), and LSE Fellow (2006-9).


  • Senior Fellow UK Higher Education Academy
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Digital Education (University of Edinburgh)
  • PhD (LSE)
  • MSc Political Theory (LSE)
  • BSc (Econ) Government and International History (LSE)


My teaching focuses on equality, social justice, and education. I convene an Honours Undergraduate Course 'What's Wrong With Inequality?', and a post-graduate version 'Equality and its Critics'. These courses consider recent debates in political philosophy around equality, and relate these debates to social and policy issues. I also convene a course focused on 'Education and Social Justice' that has a particular focus on bringing together debates in recent egalitarian political philosophy and developments in education policy. 


Edited Book
Journal Articles
Book Chapters

You can follow my PhilPeople profile here:

Staff Hours and Guidance

Guidance and Feedback Hours:

Feedback and Guidance Hours

My Feedback and Guidance hours are:

Thursdays 10am-11.30am Room 3.30 CMB. 

Except: Weeks 7, 8, and 9 when I will be available:

Tuesday 5th March 1.00pm-2.30pm

Tuesday 12th March 1.00pm-2.30pm

Tuesday 19th March 1.00pm-2.30pm

Please contact me by email ( if you are unable to make this time and I will do my best to find a suitable alternative. 

Please use this link to sign-up for an appointment during one of these sessions:

Philip Cook Feedback and Guidance Hours Appointment Sign-Up

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Cook P. Pity the unready and the unwilling: Choice, chance, and injustice in Martin’s ‘The Right to Higher Education’. Theory and Research in Education. 2023 Mar;21(1):82-87. Epub 2023 Mar 22. doi: 10.1177/14778785231160066
Cook P. What's Wrong With Child Labor? In Gheaus A, Calder G, de Wispelaere J, editors, The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Childhood and Children. Abingdon; New York: Routledge. 2018. p. 294-303. (Routledge Handbooks in Philosophy). doi: 10.4324/9781351055987
Cook P, Lægaard S. Editorial. Res Publica. 2018 Feb 5;24(1):1-1. 1. Epub 2018 Feb 5. doi: 10.1007/s11158-018-9394-5
Cook P, Lægaard S. Editorial. Res Publica. 2016 Mar 25;22(1):1-2. doi: 10.1007/s11158-016-9325-2
Cook P. Liberalism, Contractarianism, and the Problem of Exclusion. In Wall S, editor, The Cambridge Companion to Liberalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2015. p. 87-111. (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy). doi: 10.1017/CBO9781139942478
Cook P, (ed.), Seglow J, (ed.). The Margins of Citizenship. 1 ed. London: Routledge, 2013. 168 p.
Cook P, Heilmann C. Two Types of Self-Censorship: Public and Private. Political Studies. 2013 Jul 2;61(1):178-196. Epub 2012 Jul 2. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9248.2012.00957.x
Cook P. Against a Minimum Voting Age. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy. 2013 Jun 20;16(3):439-458. Epub 2013 Jun 20. doi: 10.1080/13698230.2013.795707
Cook P, Seglow J. The margins of citizenship: Introduction. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy. 2013;16(3):321-325. Epub 2013 Jun 20. doi: 10.1080/13698230.2013.795703
Cook P. On the Duties of Shared Parenting. Ethics and Social Welfare. 2012;6(2):168-181. Epub 2012 May 29. doi: 10.1080/17496535.2012.682505
Cook P. Fairness, Consensus, and the Justification of the Ideal Liberal Constitution. Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence. 2009 Jan 1;22(1):165-186 .
Cook P. An Augmented Buck-Passing Account of Reasons and Value: Scanlon and Crisp on What Stops the Buck. Utilitas. 2008 Dec 4;20(4):490-507 . Epub 2008 Nov 21. doi: 10.1017/S0953820808003294