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Murphy Institute People

David O'Brien
  • Assistant Professor of Philosophy
  • Department of Philosophy and Murphy Institute
  • dobrien10@tulane.edu
  • 105E Newcomb Hall
David O'Brien


David O’Brien is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and a faculty member at Murphy Institute. Professor O'Brien received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and specializes in political philosophy and normative ethics.  His academic interests also include applied ethics, the philosophy of education, and metaethics. 

Philpeople Page

Selected Publications

  • How far can political liberalism support reforms in higher education? Social Theory and Practice (forthcoming)  
  • Conservatism reconsidered. Journal of the American Philosophical Association (forthcoming)  
  • Wrongfulness rewarded? Synthese, advance online (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-021-03098-4 (co-authored with Ben Schwan)  
  • Inequality: do not disperse. Utilitas 33(2): 193-203 (2020) https://doi.org/10.1017/S0953820820000333.  
  • The unit and currency of egalitarian concern. Journal of Moral Philosophy 16 (5): 613-643 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1163/17455243-20182796  
  • Egalitarian nonconsequentialism and the levelling down objection. Ratio 32: 74-83 (2019)  
  • Inequality of opportunity: some lessons from the case of highly selective universities. Theory and Research in Education 15: 53-60 (2017)

The Murphy Institute

Established in memory of Charles H. Murphy, Sr. (1870-1954), and inspired by the vision of Charles H. Murphy, Jr. (1920-2002), The Murphy Institute exists to help Tulane faculty and students understand economic, moral, and political problems we all face and think about. More important, it exists to help us understand how these problems have come to be so closely interconnected.