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Marshall Cohen

Marshall Cohen

University Professor, Emeritus, Professor of Philosophy and Law, Emeritus, and Dean, Emeritus, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Last Updated: Monday, June 5, 2017

Telephone: (213) 740-4794
Fax: (213) 740-5502
699 Exposition Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90089-0074 USA Room: 324

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Marshall Cohen’s academic interests are jurisprudence; moral, legal and political philosophy; and the philosophy of art.

Cohen has written on a broad number of topics relating to his areas of study, including Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings, 6th ed. (Oxford University Press, 2004), Punishment (edited with A. J. Simmons, J. Cohen and C. Beitz, Princeton University Press, 1995), and Ronald Dworkin and Contemporary Jurisprudence (Rowman & Littlefield, 1984).

Cohen completed his undergraduate studies at Dartmouth College and earned two masters degrees, from Harvard University and Oxford University. A widely respected scholar and professor, he taught at a number of universities, including Yale University and the University of Chicago, before joining the USC Gould School of Law faculty and being named Dean of Humanities at USC in 1983. Cohen is founding editor of the journal Philosophy and Public Affairs and is Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Council of Learned Societies.


  • Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings, ed. with Gerald Mast (Oxford) 1974, Second edition, 1979, Third edition, 1985. Fourth edition (with Leo Braudy) 1992, Fifth edition, 1999, Sixth edition, 2004, Seventh edition 2009, Eight edition, 2016 (Oxford University Press).
  • Punishment (edited with A.J. Simmons, J. Cohen and C. Beitz) (Princeton University Press, 1995).
  • International Ethics (edited with C. Beitz, T. Scanlon and A.J. Simmons) (Princeton University Press, 1985).
  • Ronald Dworkin and Contemporary Jurisprudence (edited and with a preface) (Duckworth, and Rowman & Allanheld, 1984).
  • What Is Dance?: Readings in Theory and Criticism (edited with Roger Copeland) (Oxford University Press, 1983).
  • Medicine and Moral Philosophy (edited with T. Nagel and T. Scanlon) (Princeton University Press, 1982).
  • Marx, Justice and History (edited with T. Nagel and T. Scanlon) (Princeton University Press, 1980).
  • Equality and Preferential Treatment (edited with T. Nagel and T. Scanlon) (Princeton University Press, 1977).
  • The Rights and Wrongs of Abortion (edited with T. Nagel and T. Scanlon) (Princeton University Press, 1974).
  • War and Moral Responsibility (edited with T. Nagel and T. Scanlon) (Princeton University Press, 1974).
  • The Philosophy of John Stuart Mill (ed. and with an introduction) (Modern Library, 1961).

Articles and Book Chapters

  • "Law and Force." In Proceedings of the IVR World Congress (Stuttgart, Germany: The Conference, 1987).
  • "Moral Skepticism and International Relations." 13(4) Philosophy and Public Affairs 299 (1984); reprinted in International Ethics (C. Beitz et al., eds.) (Princeton University Press, 1985); in part in Political Realism and International Morality: International Ethics in the Nuclear Age (D. Meyers and K. Kipnis, eds.) (Westview Press, 1987); slightly revised in Doxa (Barcelona, 1987).
  • "Toward a Liberal Foreign Policy." In Liberalism Reconsidered (D. MacLean and C. Mills, eds.) (Rowman & Allenheld, 1983).
  • "Primitivism, Modernism, and Dance Theory." In Philosophical Essays on Dance (G. Myers and G. Francher, ed.) (Dance Horizon, 1981); reprinted in 9(3) Ballet Review 41 (1981); and in What is Dance? (R. Copeland and M. Cohen, eds.) (Oxford University Press, 1983).
  • "The Morality of Military Intervention." In War and Morality (West Point: U.S. Military Academy, 1980).
  • "Dialogue: Morality vs. Real Politik" (with Robert E. Osgood). 1(3) Humanities 6 (1980); reprinted in Transaction.
  • "Equality and Efficiency: Commentary." In Income Distribution (C. Campbell, ed.) (American Enterprise Institute, 1977).
  • "Film and the University" (edited with G. Mast): Published in Conference Proceedings. 2 Quarterly Review of Film Studies, nos. 1, 2, 3, (1976-77).
  • "Humanism and Modernism." 1 Humanities and Society 1 (March 1977).
  • "Morality and the Laws of War." In Philosophy, Morality and International Conflict (V. Held, S. Morgenbesser and T. Nagel, eds.) (Oxford University Press, 1974).
  • "Liberalism and Disobedience." 1 Philosophy and Public Affairs 283 (1972).
  • "Notes on Modernist Art." 3 New Literary History 215 (1971).
  • "Taylor's Conception of the Laws of War." 80 Yale Law Journal 1492 (1971). - (Hein)
  • "Civil Disobedience." In The Great Ideas Today, 1971 (R.M. Hutchins and M. J. Adler, eds.) (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1971).
  • "Lear and Nature." 1 Philosophic Exchange 83 (1970).


Los Angeles Times
March 15, 2018
Re: Jody David Armour

Jody Armour was quoted about the large sum a court awarded in damages to a family of a man fatally shot by a San Bernardino County deputy. "The jury was convinced that there was clear and convincing evidence that the officer was not merely negligent and unreasonable in killing the victim, but that his behavior was egregious, that it was characterized by malice," Armour said. "I remember $5-, $7-, $8-million awards, but nothing in this area."


Robert K. Rasmussen
January, 2018

"Puerto Rico and the Netherworld of Sovereign Debt Restructuring," Workshop, Duke Law School, Durham, NC. 

Pauline Aranas
January, 2018

Pauline Aranas participated on a panel on "Effective Assessment:  Measuring Your Law Library's Impact" at the Association of American Law School's Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.

Pauline Aranas
January, 2018

Pauline Aranas concluded her year-year term on the Executive Committee of the Association of American Law School's Section on Law Libraries and Legal Information.