Steven Lee

Steven P LeeEmeritus Professor of Philosophy

Joined faculty in 1981

Ph.D., York University, Toronto
M.A., University of Delaware
B.A., University of Delaware

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Contact Information

Scholarly Interest

Applied Ethics
Social Philosophy
Political Philosophy
Critical Thinking

I am currently working on how the notion of humanitarian intervention requires that we rethink our ideas of just war and national sovereignty.


I am currently working on the following topics: ethics and war, legal paternalism, and citizenship.

Courses Taught

Morality and War

Social Justice

Morality and Self-Interest

Plato's Republic

Global Justice

Philosophy of Law

Liberty and Community

Critical Thinking




Ethics and War (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

Intervention, Terrorism, and Torture: Contemporary Challenges to Just War Theory, edited (Dordrecht: Springer, 2007).

Ethics and Weapons of Mass Destruction, co-edited with Sohail Hashmi (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004).

What Is the Argument? Critical Thinking in the Real World (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002).

Morality Prudence, and Nuclear Weapons (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993, 1996).

Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear States, and Terrorism, co-author (Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY: Sloan Publishing, 2007) (4th edition of work previously published by Prentice Hall, as The Nuclear Predicament, 2000, 1992, 1989).

Nuclear Weapons and the Future of Humanity, co-edited with Avner Cohen
(Lanham, MD: Rowman and Allanheld, 1986).

Articles (selected list)

“Is Justice Possible Under Welfare State Capitalism?” in Ann Cudd and  Sally Scholz (eds.), Philosophical Perspectives on Democracy in the 21st Century   (Dordrecht: Springer, 2014).

“The Ethics of Cyberattack,” in Luciano Floridi and Rosaria Taddeo (eds.), The Ethics of Informational Warfare (Dordrecht: Springer, 2014).

“The Who and Why of Humanitarian Intervention,” review essay, Criminal Justice Ethics                                   30, no. 3 (December 2011), pp. 302-308.

“Humanitarian Intervention—Eight Theories,” Diametros 23 (March 2010), pp. 22-43.

“Hate Speech in the Marketplace of Ideas,” in Deirdre Golash (ed.), Free Speech in a Diverse World (Dordrecht: Springer, 2010), pp. 13-25.

“The Moral Distinctiveness of Genocide,” Journal of Political Philosophy 18, no. 3 (September 2010), pp. 335-356.

“Is Public Philosophy Possible?” International Journal of Applied Ethics 22, no. 1                                (Spring 2008), pp. 13-18.

“Weapons of Mass Destruction: Are They Morally Special?” in Larry May (ed.), War: Essays in Political Philosophy (New York: Cambridge, 2008), pp. 165-186.


"What's Living and What's Dead in Nuclear Ethics" in  Anthony Lang et al. (eds.), Ethics and the Future of Conflict: Lessons from the 1990s (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2004), pp. 91-106.

“Double Effect, Double Intention, and Asymmetric Warfare,” Journal of Military Ethics 3, no. 3 (2004), pp. 233-251.

"From Domestic Peace to International Peace, in J. Kunkel and P. Smithka (eds.), Community, Diversity, and Difference: Implications for Peace (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2002), pp. 299-307.

"A Paradox of Democracy," Public Affairs Quarterly 15, no. 3 (July, 2001), pp. 261-69.

"Democracy and the Problem of Persistent Minorities," in Larry May et al. (eds.), Groups and Group Rights (Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 2001), pp. 124-3

"Sovereignty and Positive Peace," in Judith Presler and Sally Scholz (eds.) Peacemaking: Lessons from the Past, Visions for the Future (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2000), pp. 191-299


American Philosophical Association
Concerned Philosophers for Peace (president, 1994-95)
Association for the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy, American Section (Amintaphil) (president, 2011-2013);
Creighton Club, New York State Philosophical Association
American Association of University Professors


(1) I am interested in the ways in which social and technological changes require alterations in our moral understanding of areas of human activity such as warfare, environmental stewardship, and medicine.I have written a text on ethics and war, and I have done extensive work on the ethical challenges posed by nuclear weapons. (2) In the areas of social and political philosophy, I have done work on legal paternalism, social and economic justice, and democracy. (3) I have written a textbook in critical thinking, in which I seek to show readers how to understand and evaluate arguments they find in their everyday lives, and how to create arguments of their own.