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Very experienced fellow

Timothy Murphy

Timothy Murphy

Doctorate from:
St. Patrick’s College, Pontifical University, Maynooth, Ireland

Department at UC3M:
Department of International Law, Ecclesiastical Law and Philosophy of Law

CONEX Fellow from 01/09/15 to 30/06/2019


“Reason as a Limit on the Authority of Law”

This project addresses the relationship between authority and reason, specifically the limits on legal authority that may be constituted by forms of reason. The traditional conception of legal authority suggests that state law in and of itself binds citizens to obedience, but this gives rise to a paradox when considered in light of practical reason or rationality. If practical reason requires that a person acts on the balance of the reasons of which the person is aware, and if state authority means that a state can require people to act in ways that may not accord with their interpretation of this balance, then the norm of civic obedience would seem to be at odds with practical reason. The project examines this paradox in relation not only to state law but also to non-state law, including customary law and transnational law.


Timothy Murphy is a law graduate of University College Cork (BCL, 1988) and the University of Warwick (LLM, 1989). In 2002 he completed his PhD in theology at St. Patrick’s College in Maynooth, Ireland. He has held law faculty positions at universities in the UK, France, Ireland, Iceland and Malaysia.

He is the co-author (with Garrett Barden) of Law and Justice in Community (Oxford University Press, 2010); the editor of Western Jurisprudence (Thomson Round Hall, 2004); the co- editor (with Patrick Twomey) of Ireland's Evolving Constitution, 1937-97: Collected Essays (Hart Publishing, 1998); and the author of Rethinking the War on Drugs in Ireland (Cork University Press, 1996). His research interests are in the fields of jurisprudence and political philosophy and include legal pluralism, justice, the common good, and authority.

Scientific publications: 

  • “El bien común” [“The Common Good”], Vol. 14, Eunomía, 191-205 (2018).
  • “Justice and the Common Good in Dispute Resolution Discourse in the United States and the People’s Republic of China”, Vol. 10(2), Law and Development Review 305-339 (2017).
  • “Challenging the Dominance of Formalism in Accounting Education: An Analysis of the Potential of Stewardship in light of the Evolution of the Legal Academy” (with V. O’Connell), Vol. 44(1), Critical Perspectives on Accounting 1-29 (2017).
  • “An Economic Analysis of the Philosophical Common Good”, (with J. Parkey), Vol. 43 (8), International Journal of Social Economics 823-840 (2016).
  • “Ideas of Justice and Reconstructions of Confucian Justice” (with R. Weber), Vol. 26(2), Asian Philosophy 99-118 (2016).
  • “Dos teorías sobre la justicia social”, [“Two Theories of Social Justice”], translated by C. Alonso Mauricio, Vol. 10, Eunomía 78-89 (2016).

Public Lectures: 

  • “Identity and the Rise of Authoritarian Nationalism in the EU”, VI Congress on the Culture of Peace, “The Values of Peace, Solidarity, Democracy and Human Rights in the European Union: 70 Years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, 28 November 2018.
  • “Natural Law and Natural Justice”, 1st IVR Japan International Conference, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan, 7 July 2018.
  • “Natural Law and Natural Justice: A Thomistic Perspective”, XLVII Seminario Permanente Jesús G. Amuchastegui, GIDyJ, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, 14 December 2017.
  • “Alternative Dispute Resolution and the Authority of Customary Adat Law”, School of Law, President University, Cikarang, Indonesia, 19 October 2017.
  • “Dispute Resolution, Justice, and the Common Good”, Institute of Law for Science and Technology, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan, 12 October 2017.
  • “The Role and Authority of Customary Adat Law in the Modern Era”, School of Law, Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia, 6 October 2017.
  • “Justice and the Common Good in Dispute Resolution Discourse”, paper presented at Staff Seminar, City University of Hong Kong Law School, Hong Kong, 1 June 2017.
  • “Economic Analysis and the Common Good”, paper presented at Strathmore Law School, Strathmore University, Nairobi, Kenya, 12 January 2017.
  • “Justice and the Authority of Accounting Practices”, paper presented at Staff Seminar, Gulf University for Science and Technology, Kuwait City, Kuwait, 1 December 2016.
  • “Immigration and Liberal Political Philosophy”, paper presented at UC3M/RANEPA Conference on “International Legal Mechanisms Ensuring European Unity and Sustainability”, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, 30 November 2016.
  • “The Classical Conception of Justice”, paper presented at Legal Theory Workshop, Universidad de San Andrés, Victoria, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 28 October 2016.     
  • “Dispute Resolution, Justice, and the Common Good”, paper presented at the Law and Development Institute Annual Conference, Universidad Austral, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 21 October 2016.
  • “Aristotelian Justice and State Law”, paper presented to International Workshop on Justice and Law, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, 2 July 2016.
  • “The Common Good in Global Perspective”, paper presented to the Erasmus+/Jean Monnet UC3M/RANEPA Conference on “Geopolitical Dimensions of European Integration”, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, 28 June 2016.
  • “Human Rights, Intersubjectivity, and Public Reason", paper presented to Conference on "Subjectivity and the Political”, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, 10 March 2016.
  • “Legal Violence and Legal Authority”, paper presented to Irish Jurisprudence Society Workshop Series, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, 25 February 2016.