John  F. K. Oberdiek

John F. K. Oberdiek

Professor of Law

Contact Information

Law Office: E325
V: 856-225-6191

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Courses Recently Taught


John Oberdiek writes and teaches in torts and tort theory, regulation and its theoretical foundations, and legal, political, and moral philosophy.  He is a graduate of Middlebury College, and studied philosophy and law as a post-graduate at Oxford, NYU, from which he holds an MA, and the University of Pennsylvania, which granted him his JD and PhD through its dual-degree fellowship program. Prior to joining the Rutgers faculty in 2004, he practiced law at the Washington, D.C. firm of Arnold & Porter. 

Professor Oberdiek has presented his work widely in colloquia, including at Yale, UCLA, and Toronto, and at major conferences, including Kings College London's Moral Values and Private Law conference, The New Private Law conference at Harvard, Northwestern's Ethics and Politics conference, and the Analytic Legal Philosophy Conference, held at Yale. He is a past chair of the AALS's sections on both jurisprudence and scholarship. In 2005-06, he was a Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Fellow in the University Center for Human Values and a Fellow in the Program in Ethics and Public Affairs, both at Princeton.  In spring 2012, he was a visiting professor at the University of Graz, Austria.  From 2014 to 2016, he served as Acting Dean and then Acting Co-Dean, leading the merger that created Rutgers Law School, following a two-year term as Vice Dean.   

In addition, Professor Oberdiek is Associate Graduate Faculty in the Rutgers-New Brunswick Philosophy Department and a Director of the Rutgers Institute for Law and Philosophy, under whose auspices he has organized several major conferences. He is also Co-Editor of the peer-reviewed professional journal Law and Philosophy and serves on the editorial board of Legal Theory. 



Philosophical Foundations of the Law of Torts (Oxford, 2014) (editor and contributor) (A volume of 19 new essays in tort theory, appearing in the Oxford Philosophical Foundations of Law series)

Arguing About Law (Routledge, 2009) (co-editor with Aileen Kavanagh) (600-page anthology of leading articles in philosophy of law and jurisprudence with significant editorial content) 

Articles and Chapters:

"Putting (and Keeping) Proximate Cause in its Place," in Kimberly Kessler Ferzan and Stephen Morse (eds.), Legal, Moral, and Metaphysical Truths: The Philosophy of Michael S. Moore (Oxford, 2016)

"The Ideal of Justice," 5 Jurisprudence 363 (December 2014) (symposium on Amartya Sen's The Idea of Justice, with reply by Sen)

"Structure and Justification in Contractualist Tort Theory," in John Oberdiek (ed.), Philosophical Foundations of the Law of Torts (Oxford, 2014)

"Introduction: Philosophical Foundations of the Law of Torts," in John Oberdiek (ed.), Philosophical Foundations of the Law of Torts (Oxford, 2014)

"Foreword: Sen's Idea of Justice," 43 Rutgers Law Journal 167 (2012) (symposium)

"The Moral Significance of Risking," 17 Legal Theory 339 (2012)

"Method and Morality in the New Private Law of Torts," 125 Harvard Law Review Forum 189 (2012) (symposium)

"Philosophy of Law: Normative Foundations," in Duncan Pritchard (ed.), Oxford Bibliographies Online: Philosophy (Oxford 2012)

"Specifying Constitutional Rights," 27 Constitutional Commentary 231 (2010) 

"Risk," in Dennis Patterson (ed.), A Companion to Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory, Second Edition (Wiley-Blackwell 2010)

"Towards a Right Against Risking," 28 Law and Philosophy 367 (2009)

"Philosophical Issues in Tort Law,"� 3 Philosophy Compass 734 (2008)

"What's Wrong with Infringements (Insofar as Infringements are Not Wrong): A Reply," 27 Law and Philosophy 293 (2008)

"Specifying Rights Out of Necessity," 28 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 127 (2008), reprinted in A. M. Viens and Michael J. Selgelid (eds.), Emergency Ethics: Volume 1 (Ashgate 2012)

"Culpability and the Definition of Deontological Constraints" 27 Law and Philosophy 105 (2008) 

"Moral Evaluation and Conceptual Analysis in Jurisprudential Methodology," in Michael Freeman and Ross Harrison (eds.), Current Legal Issues: Law and Philosophy (Oxford, 2007) (with Dennis Patterson) 

Review of Law and Risk, edited by the Law Commission of Canada, 44 Osgoode Hall Law Journal 590 (2006) 

"The Ethics in Risk Regulation: Towards a Contractualist Re-Orientation," 36 Rutgers Law Journal 199 (2004) (symposium) 

"Lost in Moral Space: On the Infringing/Violating Distinction and its Place in the Theory of Rights," 23 Law and Philosophy 325 (2004)

"Reasons, Motivation, and Sexism: A Comment on John Robertson's 'Preconception Sex Selection'", 1 American Journal of Bioethics 38 (2001).


Imposing Risk: A Normative Framework (monograph under contract with Oxford University Press, for inclusion in Oxford Library of Legal Philosophy series edited by Timothy Endicott, John Gardner, and Leslie Green)

"Perfecting Distributive Justice" (under review)

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