Ruth W. Grant

Ruth W. Grant

Professor of Philosophy

Contact Information
140 Science Drive, 210G Gross, Box 90204, Durham, NC 27708
Box 90204, Durham, NC 27708-0204
(919) 660-4300


Ruth Grant is a Professor of Political Science at Duke University, specializing in political theory with a particular interest in early modern philosophy and political ethics. She is the author of John Locke's Liberalism and of Hypocrisy and Integrity: Machiavelli, Rousseau and the Ethics of Politics.  Her most recent book is Strings Attached: Untangling the Ethics of Incentives. She is also the editor of two collections of essays; Naming Evil, Judging Evil and In Search of Goodness. Her work originally focused on the historical study of liberal thought and has moved increasingly toward contemporary ethics. Her articles have appeared in a variety of journals including APSR, Political Theory, Journal of Politics, and Politics and Society. She has received fellowship awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Humanities Center, and the Russell Sage Foundation, and a teaching award from Duke University.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of Chicago 1984

  • M.A., University of Chicago 1975

  • B.A., University of Chicago 1971

Grant, Ruth W., ed. In Search of Goodness. University of Chicago Press, 2011.

Grant, Ruth W. Naming Evil, Judging Evil. University of Chicago Press, 2006.

Locke, J., I. Shapiro, J. Dunn, and R. Grant. Two treatises of government and a letter concerning toleration, 2003.

Grant, R. W. Hypocrisy and Integrity: Machiavelli, Rousseau and the Ethics of Politics. University of Chicago Press, 1997.

Grant, R. W. John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education and of the Conduct of the Understanding. Edited by Ruth W. Grant and Nathan Tarcov. Hackett Publishing, 1996.

Grant, R. W. John Locke’s Liberalism. University of Chicago Press, 1987.

Grant, R. W., and B. R. Hertzberg. “Locke on Education.” In A Companion to Locke, 448–65, 2015. Full Text

Grant, R. W. “Generous to a Fault: Altruism and Psychic Health.” In In Search of Goodness, edited by Ruth W. Grant. University of Chicago Press, 2011.

Grant, R. W. “The Rousseauan Revolution and the Problem of Evil.” In Naming Evil, Judging Evil. University of Chicago Press, 2006.

Grant, R. W. “Is Humanistic Education Humanizing?” In Debating Moral Education. Duke University Press, 2006.

Grant, R. W. “Ethics and Politics: Institutional Solutions and Their Limits.” In Faces of Man: The Dr. Eric Williams Memorial Lectures 1993-2004, Vol. 2. Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, 2005.

Grant, R. W. “Political theory, political science, and politics.” In What Is Political Theory, 174–92, 2004. Full Text

Grant, R. W. “John Locke on Women and the Family.” In John Locke, Two Treaties of Government and Letter Concerning Toleration, edited by Ian Shapiro. Yale University Press, 2003.

Grant, R. W., and Stephen Grant. “The Madisonian Presidency.” In The Presidency in the Constitutional Order, edited by J. Bessette and J. Tulis. Louisiana State University Press, 1981.

Proctor, A. M. “Education,” 13:494–95, 1949. Full Text

Grant, R. W. “Incentives and praise compared: the ethics of motivation.” International Review of Economics 66, no. 1 (March 14, 2019): 17–28. Full Text

Grant, R. W. “Rethinking the ethics of incentives.” Journal of Economic Methodology 22, no. 3 (January 1, 2015): 354–72. Full Text

Grant, R. W. “John Locke on custom's power and reason's authority.” Review of Politics 74, no. 4 (September 1, 2012): 607–29. Full Text

Grant, R. W. “Ethics and incentives: A political approach.” American Political Science Review 100, no. 1 (February 1, 2006): 29–39. Full Text

Grant, R. W. “Ethics and Incentives: A Political Approach.” American Political Science Review, February 2006.

Grant, R. W., and R. O. Keohane. “Accountability and Abuses of Power in World Politics.” American Political Science Review 99, no. 1 (February 1, 2005): 29–43. Full Text

Grant, Ruth W., and Jeremy Sugarman. “Ethics in human subjects research: do incentives matter?The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 29, no. 6 (December 2004): 717–38. Full Text

Grant, R. W., and J. Sugarman. “Ethics in Human Subjects Research: Do Incentives Matter?The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy: A Forum for Bioethics and Philosophy of Medicine 29, no. 6 (2004).

Grant, R. W. “The ethics of incentives: Historical origins and contemporary understandings.” Economics and Philosophy 18, no. 1 (January 1, 2002): 111–39. Full Text


Grant, R. W. “Homo politicus: Reflections on the passions and the interests.” In Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology, 34B:123–37, 2016. Full Text