Department of Political Science


Dr John Wilesmith

Teaching Fellow in Political Theory 
 3.07 29/30 Tavistock Square
Email: john.wilesmith@ucl.ac.uk 

I joined UCL as a Teaching Fellow in Political Theory in January 2018. Prior to this, I taught political theory in the Department of Political Economy at King’s College London. I hold a PhD in Political Theory and an MA in Legal and Political Theory, both from UCL.


My research interests are in contemporary analytical political theory, with a focus on social justice, egalitarianism, normative democratic theory and political economy. My current research focuses on the structure and role of firms in a just political economy, the nature and value of a 'property-owning democracy', and the methodology of drawing economic policy conclusions from normative commitments.


Journal articles

  • Why Size Matters: Property-Owning Democracy, Liberal Socialism, and the Firm. Journal of Political Philosophy, forthcoming (2020). Early view available online.
  • Wilesmith, J., 2015. Social Equality and the Corporate Governance of a Property-Owning Democracy. Diacritica, 29(2), pp.87–108. Available online.

Book reviews

  • Wilesmith, J., 2018. Review: Republic of Equals: Predistribution and Property-Owning Democracy, Alan Thomas. Economics and Philosophy, 34(1), pp.114-120. Available online.

In 2020/21, I am teaching three modules:

  • Meanings of Liberty: Applied Methods in Political Theory (postgraduate). In this course, we critically compare different traditions of political thought by examining their treatment of liberty. It is the core taught course for the MA in Legal and Political Theory.
  • Contemporary Political Philosophy II: Social Justice and Equality (postgraduate). In this course, we examine various contemporary theories of social justice and their relationships with the value of equality. We are interested in who should get what, and why.
  • Philosophy, Values, and the Social Sciences (undergraduate). In this course, we examine the interplay between values and social sciences, asking both how the social sciences are or should be influenced by values, and how moral or political philosophy should incorporate the findings of the social sciences.

In previous years, I have taught Authority, Democracy and Resistance (undergraduate), co-taught Introduction to Politics (undergraduate), and acted as the Programme Director of the MA in Legal and Political Theory.