Department of Political Science


Dr John Filling

John wears a navy suit jacket in this professional photo
Lecturer (Teaching) in Political Philosophy
Room: 3.11, 36-38 Gordon Street
Email: john.filling@ucl.ac.uk


I am a Lecturer in Political Philosophy in the Department of Political Science at UCL. I am also Deputy Director of Education for the Department, responsible for Widening Participation.

I went to a state school in Glasgow then spent all my student life at Oxford (BA in PPE, M.Phil., D.Phil.). My M.Phil. and D.Phil. theses were both supervised by G. A. Cohen. I was the Andrew Fraser Junior Research Fellow at St John's College, Oxford (2008-12). Then I had my first stint at UCL, where I was a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Political Science (2012-2015) and Programme Director of the MA in Legal and Political Theory (2012-13, 2015). Before returning to UCL, I was Lecturer then Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge (2015-2021), and a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, where I remain a Bye-Fellow.


My research focuses on political philosophy and post-Kantian philosophy. 

My analytic work focuses on questions of structural injustice and domination. What does it mean to say that injustice is “structural”? Which harms, if any, are truly “structural”, and which are purely personal? Can domination be “structural”? My work engages with the leading contemporary theory of domination offered by republicanism, and seeks to develop an alternative account drawn from various radical traditions of political thought (including Marxism, feminism, and critical race theory). 

My historical work focuses on German Idealism and post-Kantian philosophy, especially the work of G. W. F. Hegel and Karl Marx. In addition, I have a long-standing interest in the study of important but neglected voices in the history of philosophy, especially those of women and philosophers of colour. I am currently working on Ottobah Cugoano, Bettina von Arnim, George Eliot, and Anna Julia Cooper. 


John Filling, ‘Liberty’, in Michael T. Gibbons et al. (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Political Thought (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014). Available at: https://www.academia.edu/5599002/Liberty


In recent years, I have taught the following modules:
- POLS0061: Foundations of Political Thought
- POLS0090: Theories of Justice and Injustice
- POLS0097: History of Political Thought
- PUBL0094: The Ethics of Social Media 

I would welcome applications from prospective PhD students interested in working on analytical political philosophy (particularly projects on freedom, domination, structural injustice, and on socialism, feminism, republicanism), history political thought (particularly post-1700), and post-Kantian philosophy (particularly Hegel and Marx).