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Debra Satz's research has focused on the ethical limits of markets, the place of equality in political philosophy, theories of rational choice, democratic theory, feminist philosophy, and issues of international justice. Her work has appeared in Philosophy & Public Affairs, Ethics, Journal of Philosophy, and World Bank Economic Review.

Satz is a professor of philosophy and, by courtesy, of political science. She has directed Stanford's Ethics in Society Program for a decade and will become director of the Stanford Center on Ethics in Fall 2008. She is affiliated with several other interdisciplinary programs, including Public Policy, the Center for Social Innovation at the Graduate School of Business, the Haas Center for Public Service, the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, the Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality and the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Environment and Resources. She teaches courses in ethics, social and political philosophy, and philosophy of the social sciences.

Satz is known for her inspiring teaching and her leadership of the Program in Ethics and Society, and received the Walter J. Gore Award for Excellence in Teaching, Stanford’s highest teaching award, in 2004. She also co-founded and teaches in the Hope House Scholars Program, through which incarcerated women and volunteer faculty examine personal experience in the context of ethics, moral philosophy and social justice.

Satz is now the Senior Associate Dean for the Humanities and the Arts.

Key works

Occupy the Future, ed with David Grusky, Doug McAdam, and Rob Reich. MIT Press, 2013

"The Challenges of Incorporating Cultural Ecosystem Services into Environmental Assessment," Ambio: A Journal of the Human Environment, Vol. 42, Issue 6, 2013

"Gender" for the Oxford Handbook on Political Philosophy, ed. David Estlund, Oxford University Press, 2012

"Unequal Chances: Race, Class and Schooling," Theory and Resarch in Education, Vol. 10, Issue 2, July 2012

Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale: The Limits of Markets. Oxford University Press, 2010

“Equality in Education and Weighted Student Funding,” Education, Finance and Policy, 2008 (forthcoming)

“Equality, Adequacy and Education for Citizenship,” Ethics, July 2007

“Countering the Wrongs of the Past: the Role of Compensation,” ed. Jon Miller and Rahul Kumar, Reparations: Interdisciplinary Inquiries. Oxford University Press, 2007

“Liberalism, Economic Freedom and the Limits of Markets,” Social Philosophy and Policy, 2006

“World Poverty and Human Wrongs,” Ethics and International Affairs, vol. 19, no. 1, spring 2005

“Feminist Perspectives on Reproduction and the Family,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2004

“Child Labor: A Normative Perspective,” World Bank Economic Review, 17 (2), 2003

Prof. Satz in the News

June 4, 2008
Palo Alto Weekly
Multidisciplinary Teaching and Research at Stanford, November 15, 2005
Sacramento Business Journal, March 3, 2003
Stanford Center on Ethics, April 21, 2005
Stanford Review, November 30, 2007
Stanford Magazine, January/February 2010
San Francisco Chronicle, April 8, 2004
Stanford Report, April 16, 1997
Inside Higher Ed, September 21, 2007
The Stanford Report, June 12, 2010
Stanford Report, April 2, 2003
Stanford Report, April 30, 2008

Audio and Video

On January 24, 2011, award-winning author Tim O'Brien, Raymond F. West Memorial Lecturer, discussed his experiences in Vietnam with fellow veteran and author Tobias Wolff.

January 24, 2011


  • Philosophy of Social Science
  • Philosophy of Economics
  • Philosophy and Education
  • Ethics
  • Feminist Philosophy
  • Freedom of Speech
  • Democracy
  • Justice
  • Ethics and International Relations
  • Ethical Limits of Markets

Contact information

Bldg 100, Rm 102L


Philosophy Department Profile


B.A. City College of New York, 1978
Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1987