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Ben Jones

by wav103 Mar 26, 2020
Ben Jones

Assistant Director of the Rock Ethics Institute

Department of Philosophy

College of the Liberal Arts

128 Sparks Building
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 867-6650



  1. PhD, Political Science, Yale University
  2. BA, Political Science, The Ohio State University
  3. BA, French, The Ohio State University


Ben joined the Rock Ethics Institute as its Assistant Director in 2017. He does work in political philosophy and applied ethics, with a focus on criminal justice, political ethics, ideal theory, and religion’s role in politics. His research appears in Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, the Journal of Applied Philosophy, the European Journal of Political Theory, the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, and other venues.

Current projects include The Ethics of Policing: An Interdisciplinary Perspective, a volume he is co-editing with Eduardo Mendieta, and Apocalypse without God: Apocalyptic Thought, Ideal Politics, and the Limits of Utopian Hope, which examines the relationship between utopian theorizing and apocalyptic thought in political philosophy.

Before coming to Penn State, Ben taught at the University of Kansas and University of Missouri-Kansas City. He also has extensive experience working on criminal justice policy. From 2009 to 2012, he served as the Executive Director of the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty and directed the statewide organizing, lobbying, and media campaign that successfully repealed Connecticut’s death penalty. Following this campaign, he worked as a campaign strategist for Equal Justice USA.

Selected Publications

· “Political Activism and Research Ethics,” Journal of Applied Philosophy

· “The Natural Kingdom of God in Hobbes’s Political Thought,” History of European Ideas

· “The Republican Party, Conservatives, and the Future of Capital Punishment,” Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

· “Authenticity in Political Discourse,” Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

· “Despite Obama’s New Executive Order, U.S. Drone Policy May Still Violate International Law,” Washington Post