Robert Lamb


Robert Lamb is Senior Lecturer in Political Philosophy at the University of Exeter in the UK. His main research and teaching interests are in the history of modern liberal thought, its relationship to contemporary political philosophy and the methodological questions involved in interpreting past ideas.

While at SDN, he will be working for the most part on a monograph on the political thought of eighteenth-century radical liberal thinker Thomas Paine. The project offers a reconstruction of Paine’s political theory as a coherent account of liberal rights, focusing on his understanding of concepts such as equality, political obligation, property, democracy, religion and international relations as expressed in his mature writings. In addition to offering (hopefully) novel interpretations of Paine’s political theory, the study also aims to demonstrate his historical significance and distinctness within modern liberalism and, more broadly, to show how entering into historical conversations with past authors at their most coherent might provide illumination for contemporary philosophical debates.

Originally from the west of Scotland, Robert is a graduate from the Universities of Strathclyde, York and Exeter and has previously held visiting positions at UC Berkeley and the University of St Andrews. He is the author of Thomas Paine and the Idea of Human Rights (Cambridge, 2015), co-editor of Selected Political Writings of John Thelwall (Pickering & Chatto, 2009) and his work has been published in various international journals, including The Journal of PoliticsThe Review of PoliticsHistory of Political ThoughtJournal of the History of Ideas and Law and Philosophy.