Thomas W. Pogge

Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs, Yale University

Thomas Pogge is a German philosopher and currently the Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs at Yale University. Previously he was Professorial Fellow at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the Australian National University, and Professor of Political Science at Columbia University. He has ongoing appointments as Research Director in the Centre for the Study of Mind in Nature at the University of Oslo, and Adjunct Professor in the Centre for Professional Ethics at the University of Central Lancashire.

Pogge has written extensively on political philosophy, especially on Rawls, Immanuel Kant, cosmopolitanism, and, more recently, extreme poverty. His book World Poverty and Human Rights (Polity, 2002, 2nd edn. 2008) is widely regarded as one of the most important works on global justice.

Pogge's work has been, along with that of Charles Beitz and Henry Shue, one of the most important in the "first wave" of work on global justice. Yet what makes Pogge's contribution to the debate on global justice and the eradication of world poverty original is his emphasis on negative duties rather than on the positive duties stressed by Beitz and Shue. According to Pogge, the global rich have—quite apart from their positive duty to help others in need when they can at little cost to themselves—a stringent negative duty not to contribute to the imposition of a global institutional order that predictably and avoidably impedes the fulfillment of basic socioeconomic rights. This negative duty entails obligations to take decisive steps toward the eradication of global poverty.

Pogge received his Ph.D. from Harvard University with a dissertation supervised by John Rawls. He is currently working on Incentives for Global Health, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing market-based, systemic solutions to health challenges faced by the world's poor. IGH aims to increase access to medicines by altering the incentives for innovation in the health sector.

Focus: Development, Ethics, Human Rights, Poverty, Global


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Last Updated: Jan 18, 2012

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