Piers Norris Turner

Piers Turner

Piers Norris Turner

CEHV Director; Associate Professor of Philosophy and Political Science (by courtesy)


368 University Hall
230 N Oval Mall
Columbus, OH

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Areas of Expertise

  • Political Philosophy
  • Ethics
  • John Stuart Mill


  • Ph.D. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Philosophy)
  • M.A. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Philosophy)
  • M.Sc. London School of Economics and Political Science (History and Philosophy of Science)
  • B.A. Yale University (Philosophy)

Piers Norris Turner, CEHV Director, is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Political Science (by courtesy). His research focuses on utilitarianism and liberal political thought, especially as it relates to the moral and political philosophy of John Stuart Mill. He is also a faculty co-coordinator for the interdisciplinary major in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and serves on the faculty advisory board of the Sustainability Institute. At CEHV, he has been closely involved in the University's Shared Values Initiative and Civil Discourse Project, in addition to collaborating with CEHV's steering committee and staff on a range of programs aiming to support ethical reflection and discussion on campus. In 2023, he received the President and Provost's Award for Distinguished Faculty Service.

Public Reason book cover
After the Open Society Book Cover

He has published articles in a number of leading journals and is working on a manuscript entitled Mill’s Ethics for the Cambridge Elements of Ethics series. Previously, he co-edited Public Reason in Political Philosophy: Classic Sources and Contemporary Commentaries (Routledge, 2018, with Jerry Gaus) and a collection of unpublished social and political writings by Karl Popper, called After The Open Society (Routledge, 2008, with Jeremy Shearmur). 

Business Data Ethics book cover

He has also collaborated with an interdisciplinary team of researchers exploring corporate data ethics principles and processes. A wide range of companies are grappling with the need to engage in uncertain "beyond compliance" thinking about the ethical challenges of predictive data analytics and AI. What constitutes responsible ethical decision-making in that context? A co-authored book Business Data Ethics: Emerging Models for Governing AI and Advanced Analytics (Springer), will appear this fall. For an overview of key takeaways, see: “What is ‘Ethical AI’ and How Can Companies Achieve It?The Conversation (May 2023).

Interviews and popular pieces:

What is ‘Ethical AI’ and How Can Companies Achieve It?The Conversation (May 2023)
"Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Ohio State; Civil Discourse; and Human Equality in Moral Philosophy," an interview on the "More Human" podcast [Jan 2023]
"University Defining Who We Are, What We Value," an interview on CEHV's role in developing Ohio State's new Shared Values
"Piers Turner Explores the Many Interests of John Stuart Mill," an interview on Mill, CEHV, and the PPE major on the OSU "Voices of Excellence" podcast [Sept 2021]
"What We Owe to Each Other During a Pandemic," an interview with Curtis Jackson for the "Dear Ohio" podcast [Aug 2021]
"Updating Mill on Free Speech," an introduction to John Stuart Mill's theory of freedom of discussion on the PEA Soup philosophy blog [April 2021]
A brief introduction to John Stuart Mill's moral and political philosophy
An interview about the ethics of sustainability for Ohio State's Sustainability Institute newsletter
A reflection on the practical ethical aims of the founders of the journal Ethics, who were all publicly-engaged philosophers

Piers and John Stuart Mill statue

Mill's Philosophy and Public Life

John Stuart Mill, a comprehensive draft overview of Mill's philosophy and public life, including discussion of: 1. A System of Logic 2. The Greatest Happiness Principle 3. Progress, Liberty, and Democracy 4. Equality 5. India and Empire 6. Distribution, Socialism, and Sustainability.  [Final version forthcoming in Nineteenth Century British and American Philosophy, eds. Jennifer Keefe and Kipton Jensen (Schwabe Verlag)]

Mill's Utilitarianism

• “Rules and Right in Mill,” Journal of the History of Philosophy 53:4 (October 2015), 723-745 
• “Social Morality in Mill,” in Public Reason in Political Philosophy: Classical Sources and Contemporary Commentaries, eds. Piers Norris Turner and Gerald Gaus (Routledge, 2018), 375-400
• “The Rise of Liberal Utilitarianism: Bentham, Mill,” A Companion to Nineteenth Century Philosophy, ed. J.A. Shand (Wiley-Blackwell, 2019)
• “Punishment and Discretion in Mill’s Utilitarianism,” Utilitas 27:2 (June 2015), 165-178


Mill's Egalitarianism

• “John Stuart Mill on Luck and Distributive Justice,” The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy and Psychology of Luck, eds. Ian M. Church and Robert J. Hartman (Routledge, 2019), 80-93
• "Helen McCabe, John Stuart Mill, Socialist [review]," Utilitas (March 2023), 1-7
• "Mill's Evolutionary Theory of Justice: Reflections on Persky," Utilitas 32:2 (June 2020), 131-146

Mill Cartoon from Puck

Mill's Liberalism

• “‘Harm’ and Mill’s Harm Principle,” Ethics 124:2 (January 2014), 299-326
• “Authority, Progress, and the ‘Assumption of Infallibility’ in On Liberty,” Journal of the History of Philosophy 51:1 (January 2013), 93-117
• “The Absolutism Problem in On Liberty,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43:3 (December 2013), 322-340
• "Introduction: Updating Mill on Free Speech," Utilitas 33:2 (June 2021), 125-132
• "The Arguments of On Liberty: Mill's Institutional Designs," Nineteenth-Century Prose (Special Issue on J.S. Mill, ed. Sven Ove Hansson) 47:1  (Spring 2020), 121-156
• “Mill and Modern Liberalism,” in The Blackwell Companion to John Stuart Mill, eds. Christopher Macleod and Dale Miller (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016)
• “Mill and the Liberal Rejection of Legal Moralism,” History of Philosophy Quarterly 31:1 (January, 2015), 79-99

Public Reason and Open Society

• "The Practical Aim of Ethics: ‘Ethical Societies’ as Models of Public Reason," an extended version of “On Felix Adler’s ‘The Freedom of Ethical Fellowship,’” Ethics 125:1 (October 2014), 208-210. It calls for a return to public philosophy in the spirit of the founders of the journal Ethics.
• “Social Morality in Mill,” in Public Reason in Political Philosophy: Classical Sources and Contemporary Commentaries, eds. Piers Norris Turner and Gerald Gaus (Routledge, 2018)
• "Open Society as an Achievement: Popper, Gaus, and the Liberal Tradition," in Open Society Unresolved: The Contemporary Relevance of a Contested Idea, edited by Liviu Matei and Christof Royer (CEU Press, 2023)