Dr. Brian Rosebury

Senior Lecturer

School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Livesey House, LH315

+44 (0) 1772 89 3037

Subject Areas: Politics and Philosophy

Brian Rosebury teaches contemporary political philosophy, and the history of political ideas. His research interests, and recent publications, lie mainly in moral and political philosophy: he is working on an extended project on revenge, retribution and morality. He has also published in aesthetics and in literary studies (especially J. R. R. Tolkien).

Full Profile

Brian joined UCLan (then Preston Polytechnic) in 1979. His initial appointment was to teach English literature, but his teaching gradually diversified to include the history of ideas, political philosophy, and an eclectic collection of research topics. His leadership roles included head of the Programmes Management Unit (1991-1993), acting head of the Department of Cultural Studies (1993-1994), and acting head of the Department of Education and Social Science (2004-2005). From 1998 to 2002 he was chair of the University’s branch of NATFHE (now UCU), the lecturers’ union. In 2014 he retired from his full-time post, but continues to work as a teacher and researcher.

In literary studies, Brian Rosebury is best known as a Tolkien specialist (Tolkien: a Cultural Phenomenon, Palgrave 2003). But from the 1990s he developed research interests in moral and political philosophy, especially in questions of moral responsibility, reciprocity, retribution and punishment. His first substantial paper in this field (‘Moral responsibility and “moral luck”’) appeared in Philosophical Review in 1995. More recently, he has published articles in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (2008), Utilitas (2009), Criminal Law and Philosophy (2011), and Criminal Justice Ethics (2011).

Brian has supervised successful PhD theses on the political writing of Albert Camus (by Neil Foxlee), on optimism and pessimism in Victorian fiction (by Jane Brunning), on the application to literary tragedy of the thought of the Russian religious and political philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev (by Adrian Runswick), and on the idea of a cultural icon (by Michael Parker). He has examined PhD theses on Tolkien and on Kant. He is currently supervising research students working on evaluative judgements in the arts, on globalisation in Cumbria, and on divorce and remarriage in contemporary Catholicism. He has delivered invited lectures in Belgium, Korea and Poland.


PhD: Literary Aesthetics, University of Kent, 1982
MA: Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Fiction, University of East Anglia, 1976
BA (Hons) English Literature major, University of East Anglia, 1975
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, 2013

Teaching activities and responsibilities

PO2110 History of Political Ideas; PO31122 Contemporary Anglo-American Political Philosophy


Rosebury, Brian (2008) Respect for Just Revenge. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 77 (2). pp. 451-471. ISSN 0031-8205

Rosebury, Brian (2009) Private Revenge and its Relation to Punishment. Utilitas, 21 (01). pp. 1-21. ISSN 0953-8208

Rosebury, Brian (2011) The Political Logic of Victim Impact Statements. Criminal Justice Ethics, 30 (1). pp. 39-67. ISSN 0731-129X

Rosebury, Brian (2011) Moore’s Moral Facts and the Gap in the Retributive Theory. Criminal Law and Philosophy, 5 (3). pp. 361-376. ISSN 1871-9791

More publications