University of Calgary

Kai Nielsen

  • Professor Emeritus


Kai Nielsen is one of Canada's most distinguished political philosophers. After receiving his PhD from Duke University in 1959, Kai went on to hold academic and administrative appointments at Amherst College, New York University and the University of Calgary. He is a past president of the Canadian Philosophical Association and a Member of the Royal Society of Canada. In a career spanning over 45 years, he has published 21 books and more than 400 articles in political philosophy, ethics, metaphilosophy, and philosophy of religion. His work sheds light on many of the central debates and controversies of our time. Since retiring, Kai makes his home in Montreal, Quebec where he continues to write as a unique voice on the political left.  

In 2012, Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will: The Political Philosophy of Kai Nielsen, a collection of Nielsen's essays edited by David Rondel and Alex Sager, was published by University of Calgary Press.  The book includes an extended interview with Nielsen.

A Note About Publications Appearing Here

Below are a list of my writings I have just begun (2014) to have posted online for public access. Work that has been published is listed under the appropriate category; any use of it should include appropriate citation in compliance with copyright laws. Titles that appear under the category "Other" are working drafts of various things that have not yet appeared in print.  


Journal Article


Photograph of Kai Nielsen

Curriculum Vitae


  • PhD
    Duke University, 1959
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