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Brian Orend


Contact Information

Brian OrendOffice:  HH 327
Phone: 519-888-4567  x32776

SABBATICAL: July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015


PhD, Columbia University in New York City
MA, Columbia University
BA, University of Waterloo (Joint-Honours in History and Philosophy)

Areas of Interest

Ethics, Political Philosophy

Current Research

I’m putting the finishing touches on "On War: A Dialogue". This will be an introduction to military ethics, and the philosophy of war, written in the style of a Platonic dialogue. I am enjoying stretching my writing skills in this regard. I’m also always working on spreading the word further about human rights and jus post bellum, and have substantial interests in an emerging field called “health and human rights.” My next two book projects, though, will be a textbook on business ethics, and then (a big change for me) a personal meditation on the meaning of happiness.

Academic Biography

I have academic training in history and philosophy, and am also the Director of International Studies and teach in that unit as well. My research interests are thus interdisciplinary, focussing on two major fields: 1) human rights; and 2) the ethics of war and peace. I am perhaps best-known for my work on “justice after war” (jus post bellum), in particular for my advocacy of integrating respect for human rights into post-war reconstruction plans.

I try to disseminate my research as widely as possible, both to scholarly and non-scholarly audiences. I have published 4 books, with a fifth on the way, and further plans for 2 more. My two most recent books are widely used around the world as required classroom texts: "The Morality of War" (2006) and "Human Rights: Concept and Context" (2002). I also lecture on these topics around the world, at venues ranging from the U.S. military academies to the Chicago Festival of the Humanities. I’ve published dozens of articles, both scholarly and popular, and occasionally appear as an international affairs commentator in the media.

Selected Publications


  • The Morality of War (Forthcoming 2013, 2nd edition, Broadview)
  • An Introduction to International Studies (Forthcoming 2012, Oxford University Press)
  • On War: A Dialogue (2008, Rowman Littlefield)
  • The Morality of War (2006, Broadview)
  • Human Rights: Concept and Context (2002, Broadview)
  • Michael Walzer on War and Justice (2000, McGill-Queens)
  • War and International Justice: A Kantian Perspective (2000, WLU)


  • Jus Post Bellum: The Perspective of a Just-War Theorist”, Leiden Journal of International Law 20 (2007), 571-91.
  • “When is War Justifiable?” Military History (October, 2007), 18-29.
  • "War", July 2005 entry in Stanford University's on-line Philosophy Encyclopedia <>, which is peer-reviewed . Widely used around the world in the classroom as a required introductory essay on the ethics of war and peace.
  • “Human Rights Education: Form, Content and Controversy”, Encounters on Education: Special Issue on Human Rights and Education (2005), 61-80.
  • “Just Wars and Cosmopolitan Hope”, Theoria (2004), 128-49.
  • “Kant’s Ethics of War and Peace”, Journal of Military Ethics
    (2004), 161-77.
  • “Who Should Pay (and How Much) for Human Rights Realization?”, International Journal of Politics and Ethics (2003), 5-24.
  • “Justice After War”, Ethics and International Affairs (2002), 43-57.

Grants, Fellowships, Awards

  • 2007: Burkhart Lecturer, U.S. Military Academy (West point), Nov. 8, 2007
  • 2007: Stutt Lecturer, U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis), March 18, 2007
  • 2007: McDermott Lecturer, US Air Force Academy (Colorado), March 8, 2007
  • 2006: Distinguished Graduate Award, Waterloo Catholic District School Board
  • 2005: Philosopher-in-Residence, Oklahoma State University, April 7-9, 2005
  • 2003: Choice magazine awards my human rights book designation as one of its “Outstanding Academic Titles” for 2003
  • 1999: Frank Chapman Sharp Memorial Prize (American Philosophical Association) for "A Theory of War Termination."

Recent Graduate Supervision and Teaching

PhD Theses:

  • The Human Right to Education
  • Health Care as a Human Right
  • Business Ethics
  • Human Rights in Islam
  • Justifying Human Rights
  • The Human Right to Development

Graduate Courses:

  • Justification
  • Ethics and Political Philosophy
  • Kant’s Political Philosophy
  • Human Rights
  • Just War Theory
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