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Professor Christopher Finlay

Professor in Political Theory and Deputy Head of School

BA (Mod) (Dubl), PhD (Dubl)

AffiliationRoom numberTelephone
Professor in Political Theory and Deputy Head of School in the School of Government and International AffairsIM221, Al-Qasimi Building+44 (0) 191 33 45604


Professor in Political Theory, School of Government and International Affairs

Christopher Finlay earned a B.A. (Mod) in History and Political Science and a PhD on the philosopher, David Hume, from Trinity College Dublin, after which he was a Research Fellow at NUI Galway (2001-2) and Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Research Fellow at University College Dublin (2002-3). He taught at UCD from 2003-7, where he was based at the School of Politics and International Relations and the Dublin European Institute. He joined the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLSIS) at the University of Birmingham as a Lecturer in Political Theory in 2007, becoming Senior Lecturer in 2011 and Reader in 2015. From 2010 to 2011, he was British Academy Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellow. 

Professor Finlay joined the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University in September 2017 as Professor in Political Theory. He holds a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship from 2017 to 2019 for a project called 'The Subject of Legitimate Violence.'

Recent Media

BBC Radio 4, Start the Week with Andrew Marr: Christopher Finlay appears with Jane Robinson, Fiona Sampson, and Peter Kennard on 'Votes for Women,' first broadcast on Monday 8 January 2018.

Senior Fellow, Global Policy Institute

Research interests

  • Just War Theory
  • Political Violence
  • Hannah Arendt
  • Resistance and revolution in political thought
  • Ethics of violence and armed conflict
  • Republican political thought
  • Enlightenment political thought

Research groups

  • Political Theory

Esteem Indicators

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Ethics:
  • Philosophy:
  • International: Defence & disputes:
  • International: Politics, institutions & law:
  • International Law:
  • International politics:
  • Political thought & theory:
  • Terrorism:


Authored book

Book review

Chapter in book

Edited book

  • Carey, Daniel & Finlay, Christopher J (2011). The Empire of Credit: The Financial Revolution in Britain, Ireland and America, 1688–1815. Irish Academic Press.

Edited Journal

  • Auer, Stefan & Finlay, Christopher J (2009). Special Issue: Contesting the Legacy of ’89: Revolutionary Narratives and Non-Violence in European Political Thought. Thesis Eleven, 97

Journal Article

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • Finlay, Christopher J (2021). Should cyberwar be met with physical force? Moral philosophy can help us decide. The Conversation
  • Finlay, Christopher J (2020). Leadership should be defined by consensus not coercion in a time of crisis. The New Statesman

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

  • Finlay, Christopher J (Published). When is it Right (or Wrong) to Rebel? Considering Syria Through the Writings of Thomas Hobbes Shows the Promise and Perils of Revolution. Zocalo Public Square.
  • Finlay, Christopher J (2017). Is Violent Protest Ever Justified? The Conversation.
  • Finlay, Christopher J (2017). Just and Unjust Coups d’état? Zimbabwe and the Ethics of Military Takeover. Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace: Ethical War Blog.
  • Finlay, Christopher J (2016). The Morality of the War Against ISIS: Can Targeted Killing be Justified? The Critique(November / December 2016).
  • Finlay, Christopher J (2016). Anthropoid: new blockbuster interrogates how you justify collateral damage in war. The Conversation.
  • Finlay, Christopher J (2016). Just and Unjust Wars in Syria: the Questionable Ethics of Bombing ISIS. Stockholm Ethical War Blog.
  • Finlay, Christopher J (2015). Terrorism and the Right to Resist. The Plot.

Supervision students