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Jon Garthoff

Associate Professor of Philosophy & Director of Graduate Studies in the Philosophy Department, The University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Chapter Member: Tennessee SSN
Areas of Expertise:

About Jon

Garthoff's research focuses on intersections among ethics, politics, and law. He has published essays on corporate personhood, duties to obey the law, democratic legitimacy, and John Rawls's theory of justice. He is currently exploring the implications of empirical studies of nonhuman animals in ethics and law. He has been Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Tennessee, as well as a member of the Program Committee for the Central Division of the American Philosophical Association; he is also a Fellow at the Center for the Study of Social Justice at the University of Tennessee.


Corporations, Animals, and Legal Personhood

In the News

Opinion: "Misrepresenting Rawls on Meritocracy," Jon Garthoff, Washington Post, January 19, 2018.


"Rawlsian Stability" Res Publica 22, no. 3 (2016): 285-299.

Articulates an account of the role of stability in John Rawls's political theory of justice. This account emphasizes the continuity of Rawls's thought over time and motivates the view that Rawls's understanding of stability is as significant and as distinctively Rawlsian as his favored conception of justice.

"The Priority and Posterity of Right" Theoria 81, no. 3 (2015).

Articulates two pairs of theses about the relationship between the right and the good and sketches an account of morality that systematically vindicates all four theses, despite a nearly universal consensus that they are not all true. 

"On the Respectful Use of Animals" Between the Species 16, no. 1 (2013): 186-194.

Supports the broad contours of David Favre’s framework, but raises challenges for some of the framework’s elements.

"Meriting Concern and Meriting Respect" Journal of Ethics & Social Philosophy 5, no. 2 (2011).

Raises doubts about the prospects for accounting for the moral status of animals within ethical theories descended from Immanuel Kant. It also begins to sketch an alternative account which captures many virtues of Kant's theory while providing a better account of the status of animals.

"Legitimacy is Not Authority" Law and Philosophy 29, no. 6 (2010): 669-694.

Argues that the legitimacy of a law is neither necessary nor sufficient for its normative authority, and further that the need for legitimacy in law arises regardless of whether the law is coercively enforced. A new understanding of legitimacy is offered, one which improves on those already articulated in the traditions of liberalism and deliberative democracy.