Nicola Mulkeen


Role: Lecturer in Political Theory

Admin: Senior Organiser MANCEPT Workshops (2016-2018)

Research Interests:

My Ph.D. research argues that exploitation can arise from a just background, via just steps, when we exercise our rightful liberty. The theory rests on the idea that exploitation can arise via a special category of luck, which I call ‘socially constructed luck’. By taking into account what John Rawls calls ‘background justice’, what G.A. Cohen refers to as an ‘accumulation problem’, I argue that socially constructed luck is brought about through a cumulative process of people freely exercising their moral rights. Unless the negative effects of this type of luck are offset, exploitative interactions can arise where people have no reasonable alternative but to enter a particular transaction. Importantly, by showing how luck egalitarianism connects to a conception of exploitation, the thesis defuses the principal objections that relational egalitarians raise against the former, and justifies the introduction of a basic right to a reasonable alternative.

Supervisors: Hillel Steiner, James Pattison & Jonathan Quong

Thesis examiners: Andrew Mason & Christian Schemmel

In addition to my PhD research, I am working on a monograph entitled Exploitation & Time: A Theory of Intergenerational Exploitation. I have also written an article on self-ownership and the pollution problem, which is forthcoming in CRISPP. Available here


I teach in several areas of contemporary political and moral philosophy, including my areas of research. For the academic year 2018/19 I will be contributing to teaching on the following modules:POLI30232 Gender, Sex and Politics (3rd Year) Convenor (with Stephen Hood)POLI30271 Political Morality (3rd Year) ConvenorPOLI60182 Governing in an Unjust World (MA) ConvenorPOLI10100 Study Skills (1st Year) ConvenorPOLI20881 Ideals of Social Justice (2nd Year) LecturerPOLI20961 Challenges to Democratic Politics (2nd Year) LecturerPOLI20602 Arguing About Politics (2nd Year) LecturerPOLI10702 Introduction to Political Theory (1st Year) LecturerDissertation Supervision (3rd Year)Dissertation Supervision (MA)

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