Avery Kolers

Professor of Philosophy, Director of the Social Change program, and Core faculty member in the interdisciplinary MA in Bioethics, Health Policy, and Law


Prof. Kolers specializes in social & political philosophy and applied ethics. He frequently teaches Political Philosophy, Environmental Ethics, Philosophy of Law, Ethics, and Metaphysics. In addition, Prof. Kolers coaches the UofL Ethics Bowl team and will be offering a course linked to team participation in fall 2014 (PHIL 505-01 Ethics Bowl). For the Bioethics MA program he teaches a course in Justice and Health Care. He is available to supervise theses and serve on committees broadly in areas of ethics and social & political philosophy.

Prof. Kolers’ particular research interests include issues surrounding territorial rights and solidarity. These highly “applied” issues touch on a wide range of problems, but also raise hard questions about how to navigate deep diversity in a shared world. His 2009 book Land, Conflict, and Justice: A Political Theory of Territory (Cambridge University Press) won the Canadian Philosophical Association’s biennial book prize. More recently, his 2012 article “Floating Provisos and Sinking Islands” received the Journal of Applied Philosophy prize, awarded for “the best article published in the year’s volume.”

Currently, Prof. Kolers is working on a book on solidarity and further articles on territorial rights. He has initiated a research project on the emergence of a discourse of indigenous title in the 16th-century Spanish Dominicans Francisco de Vitoria and Bartolomé de Las Casas as they grappled with the moral and political implications of the Encounter with the “new world.”