Researchers at UCD


John Baker

Emeritus Professor

School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice
University College Dublin
Dublin 4



Emeritus Professor in Equality Studies

A political philosopher by background, I have worked in UCD since 1977, initially in the Department of Ethics and Politics and the Department of Politics. I was a founding member of the Equality Studies Centre in 1990 and of the UCD School of Social Justice in 2005.

I grew up in the US but went to England to study, moving to Ireland when I got my job in UCD. My academic interest in equality and social justice has always been motivated by my moral and political beliefs and I have tried to combine activism with my academic interests. I have been an active member of SIPTU, the Labour Party, Basic Income Earth Network / Basic Income Ireland, and of pro-choice groups and anti-war campaigns.

My main research interests are in egalitarian theory, including both egalitarian theories of justice and democratic theory, which I see as closely interrelated. Most of my recent work has been in collaboration with my colleagues in the Equality Studies Centre.

I have worked with several PhD students on issues that are broadly in the area of applied political theory.

I was the Head of the School of Social Justice from Sept 2008 to Aug 2011.

I retired from UCD in September 2013 but continue to be engaged in egalitarian theory and practice.





Year 1971 Institution: Oxford University, UK
Qualification: BA Subject:
Year 1972 Institution: University of Toronto, ON
Qualification: MA Subject:
Year 1974 Institution: Oxford University, UK
Qualification: B Phil Subject:

Outreach Activities

I have been a frequent participant in the Equality Studies Centre's outreach programmes. Information available from

Other Activities

Together with Carlos Bruen and Marianne Farrelly, I contributed to images and text for the 'Equality Issues' display and brochure by the European Commission Representation in Ireland.



John Baker, Kathleen Lynch, Sara Cantillon and Judy Walsh; (2009) Equality: From Theory to Action, second edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. [Details]
Kathleen Lynch, John Baker and Maureen Lyons; (2009) Affective Equality: Love, Care and Injustice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. [Details]
John Baker, Kathleen Lynch, Sara Cantillon and Judy Walsh; (2004) Equality: From Theory to Action. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. [Details]
John Baker; (1987) Arguing for Equality. London and New York: Verso. [Details]

Book Chapters

Baker, J.; (2011) 'Reflections on the Limits of Argument' In: Axel Gosseries and Yannick Vanderborght (eds). Arguing About Justice: Essays for Philippe Van Parijs. Louvain: Presses Universitaires de Louvain. , pp.79-86 Available Online [Details]
Baker, J.; (2009) 'Liberal Equality versus Equality of Condition: Conflicting definitions of equality and their implications for community development' In: Peadar Kirby and Deiric Ó Broin (eds). Power, Dissent and Democracy: Civil Society and the State in Ireland. Dublin: A&A Farmar. , pp.51-61 Available Online [Details]
Baker, J; (2006) 'Democratic Strategies for Reducing Inequality' In: C. Harrison (eds). The Report of the Democracy Commission. Engaging Citizens: The Case for Democratic Renewal in Ireland. Dublin: tasc at New Island. , pp.145-155 Available Online [Details]
Baker, J.M.; (2006) 'Equality [completely revised]' In: S. Healy and B. Reynolds (eds). Social Policy in Ireland: Principles, Practice and Problems, 2nd edn. Dublin: Oak Tree Press. , pp.25-45 Available Online [Details]
Baker, J; (2005) 'The Philosophy and Politics of Equality of Condition' In: M.A. Lyons and F. Waldron (eds). Perspectives on Equality: The Second Seamus Heaney Lectures. Dublin: Liffey Press. , pp.13-32 Available Online [Details]
Baker, J; (2005) 'Equality and Human Rights' In: C. van den Anker and R. Smith (eds). The Essential Guide to Human Rights. London: Hodder & Stoughton Educational. , pp.108-110 Available Online [Details]
Baker, J.M.; (2003) 'Poverty and Equality: Ten Reasons Why Anyone Who Wants to Combat Poverty Should Embrace Equality As Well' In: Equality Authority and Combat Poverty Agency (eds). Poverty and Inequality: Applying an Equality Dimension to Poverty Proofing. Dublin: Equality Authority and Combat Poverty Agency. , pp.12-25 Available Online [Details]
Baker, J.M.; (2000) 'The Challenge of Irish Inequality' In: J. Dunne, A. Ingram and F. Litton (eds.) (eds). Questioning Ireland. Dublin: IPA. , pp.111-123 Available Online [Details]
Baker, J.M.; (1999) 'Studying Equality' In: I. MacKenzie and S. O'Neill (eds). Imprints 2,1 pp. 57-71. Also in (eds.) Reconstituting Social Criticism: Political Morality in an Age of Scepticism (London: Macmillan; New York: St. Martins Press, 1999). London: Macmillan. , pp.51-64 Available Online [Details]
Baker, J.M.; (1998) 'Equality' In: S. Healy and B. Reynolds (eds). Social Policy in Ireland: Principles, Practice and Problems. Dublin: Oak Tree Press. , pp.21-42 [Details]
Baker, J.M. with Charles Jones; (1998) 'Responsibility for Needs' In: G. Brock (eds). Necessary Goods: Our Responsibilities to Meet Others. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. , pp.219-232 Available Online [Details]
Baker, J.; (1998) 'Utilitarianism and 'Secondary Principles'' In: Baker, J.; (eds). John Stuart Mill¿s Social and Political Thought: Critical Assessments, Volume I: Social Ethics. London and New York: Routledge. , pp.265-268 [Details]
Baker, J.M.; (1997) 'What is Participatory Democracy?' In: Community Workers Co-Operative (eds). Strategies to Encourage Participation: a series of practical case studies from local, regional and national development in Ireland. Galway: Community Workers Co-Operative. , pp.12-17 Available Online [Details]
Baker, J.M. and G. Gaden; (1992) 'Equality and Integration' In: G. Fairbairn and S. Fairbairn (eds). Integrating Special Children: Some Ethical Issues. Aldershot: Avebury. [Details]
Baker, J.M.; (1992) 'An Egalitarian Case for Basic Income' In: P. Van Parijs (eds). Arguing for Basic Income. London and New York: Verso. Available Online [Details]
Baker, J.M.; (1990) 'Your Arguments for Equality' In: Pam Carter, Tony Jeffs and Mark Smith (eds). Social Work and Social Welfare Yearbook 2. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. , pp.162-171 Link to full text [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

Baker, John; (2009) 'Violence for Equality: Lessons from Machiavelli'. Global Crime, 10 (4):306-319. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Baker, John; (2008) 'All things considered, should feminists embrace basic income?'. Basic Income Studies, 3 (3). Available Online [DOI] [Details]
John Baker; (2008) 'Election of Green Party Cathaoirleach, 2007'. Irish Political Studies, 22 (3):431-440. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
McLaughlin, E. and Baker, J.; (2007) 'Equality, Social Justice and Social Welfare: A Road Map to the New Egalitarianisms'. Social Policy and Society, 6 (1):53-68. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Baker, J., Walsh, J., Cantillon, S. and Lynch, K. ; (2007) 'Equality: A Continuing Dialogue'. Res Publica, 13 (2):203-207. Available Online [Details]
Baker, J.; (2006) 'Equality: What, Who, Where?'. Imprints, 9 (1):29-41. Available Online [Details]
Baker, J., Lynch, K., Cantillon, S. and Walsh, J. ; (2006) 'Equality: Putting the Theory into Action'. Res Publica, 12 (4):411-433. Available Online [Details]
Lynch, K. & Baker, J.; (2005) 'Equality in Education: An Equality of Condition Perspective'. Theory and Research in Education, 3 (2):164-164. Available Online [Details]
Baker, J.; (2003) 'Equality and Other Values'. Studies, 92 (1):113-121. Available Online [Details]
Baker, J.M. and Richard Sinnott; (2000) 'Simulating Multi-Option Referendums in Ireland: Neutrality and Abortion'. Irish Political Studies, 15 :105-125. [Details]
Baker, J.; (1997) 'Studying Equality'. Imprints, 2 (1):57-71. Available Online [Details]
Baker, J.M.; (1996) 'Fair Representation and the Concept of Proportionality'. Political Studies, 44 (4):733-737. Available Online [Details]
Baker, J.M.; (1993) 'Critical Notice of Thomas Nagel, Equality and Partiality'. International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 1 (1). [Details]
Baker, J.M.; (1985) 'Philosophy and the Morality of Abortion'. Journal of applied philosophy, 2 :261-270. Link to full text [Details]
Baker, J.M.; (1985) 'Equality and Variable Need'. The Philosopher, :22-25. [Details]
Baker, J.M.; (1981) 'Playing the Language Game Game'. Modern Schoolman, 58 :185-193. Link to full text [Details]
Baker, J.M.; (1981) 'Critical Notice of Wittgenstein: Understanding and Meaning by G.P. Baker and P.M.S.Hacker'. Philosophical Studies, 28 :327-332. [Details]
Baker, J.M.; (1980) 'Mills Captivating Proof and the Foundations of Ethics'. Social theory and practice, 6 :299-309. Link to full text [Details]
Baker, J.M.; (1971) 'Utilitarianism and Secondary Principles'. Philosophical Quarterly, 21 :69-71. Link to full text [Details]

Website article

Lewis, E. and Baker, J. ; (2010) Investigating Equality. UK: Website article Available Online [Details]


Lynch, K., Baker, J.M. and Cantillon, S.; (2001) Equality: Frameworks for Change. Reports Available Online [Details]
Lynch, K., Baker, J.M., Cantillon, S.; (2000) The Relationship between Poverty and Inequality. Reports Available Online [Details]
Lynch, K., Baker, J.M. et al; (1996) Equality Status and Disability. Reports [Details]
Lynch, K., Baker, J.M., Connelly, A., et al; (1995) A Framework for Equality Proofing. Reports Available Online [Details]


Research Interests

My main research interests are in equality studies, especially the theory of equality, democratic theory and other related political theory.

I have supervised PhD research by Colum McCaffery, Valerie Bresnihan, Deiric O Broin, Marie Moran, Kwesi Tsri and Niamh McCrea.

For details see

Recent Postgraduates

Valerie Bresnihan, 'Irish political culture: a symbolic analysis'. PhD in Equality Studies. 1997.

Deiric Ó Broin, 'Participatory Democracy, Representation and Accountability: Some Lessons from Ireland's Community Sector'. PhD in Equality Studies. 2006.

Marie Moran, 'The Idea of Identity in Contemporary Capitalism'. PhD in Equality Studies. 2011.

Kwesi Tsri, 'Africans Are Not Black: The Case for Conceptual Liberation'. PhD in Equality Studies. 2013.

Niamh McCrea, 'Community Development and Venture Philanthropy in Ireland: Funding Migrants' Rights in Neoliberal Times'. PhD in Equality Studies. 2014.



Teaching Philosophy

In common with my colleagues in the School of Social Justice, my teaching always aspired to be dialogical, to minimise the inevitable power inequalities between academic staff and students, and to promote egalitarian change.


Internal Collaborators

My primary collaboration has been with colleagues in the UCD Equality Studies Centre, UCD School of Social Justice and UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice.