Benjamin Gregg

Benjamin Gregg

Previous Fullbright Distinguished Chair


Benjamin Gregg is Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin where he teaches social and political theory, as well as bioethics, informed by philosophy and sociology, in Texas but also in Germany (Frankfurt/Oder), Austria (Linz and Innsbruck), Sweden (Lund), Japan (Tokyo Gaidai and Hokkaido), China (Beiwai and Tsinghua), and Brazil (Goiãnia).

He received a B.A. from, Yale University, and Ph.D. in political science from Princeton University, and D. Phil. in philosophy from the Freie Universität Berlin.

He studied with Michael Walzer in Princeton, Axel Honneth in Berlin, and Seyla Benhabib at Yale.

The College of Liberal Arts Committees on Research and Teaching awarded him the Silver Spurs Fellowship in recognition of outstanding scholarship and teaching.

In addition to more than eighty articles, he is the author of The Human Rights State (Pennsylvania, 2016); Human Rights as Social Construction (Cambridge, 2012); Thick Moralities, Thin Politics (Duke, 2003); and Coping in Politics with Indeterminate Norms (SUNY, 2003). Cambridge University Press will publish his newest book, Constructing Human Nature: The Political Challenges of Genetic Engineering, in 2022.

His current research agenda proceeds along two tracks that intersect at points: (1) political bioethics (which addresses questions that can only be answered in terms of the particular value-commitments of the deciders, where answers ideally would be generated through critical discussions not only among experts but among members of the general public) and (2) human rights as social science (rather than as theology or metaphysics).


List of Recent Publications



  • Gregg, B. 2022. Creating Human Nature: The Political Challenges of Genetic Engineering. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Gregg, B. 2020. Chinese translation (作为社会建构的人权) of Gregg (2012) Human Rights as Social Construction by Li Xianfei (李仙飞). Cambridge University Press and Renmin University Press (中国人民大学出版社). Cambridge, UK and Beijing, China. ISBN 978-7-300-28961-8.
  • Gregg, B. 2016. The Human Rights State: Justice Within and Beyond Sovereign Nations. University of Pennsylvania Press. Philadelphia. Focus of special issue (2017) International Journal of Human Rights, 21(3), “A Realistic Utopia: Critical Analyses of The Human Rights State.” Subject of international symposium (2016), Faculty of Law, Lund University, Sweden, April.


  • Gregg, B. 2022. Genetic Engineering Revolutions. Handbook of the Anthropocene, C. Wulf and N. Wallenhorst, eds. London, Berlin, New York: Springer-Nature.
  • Gregg, B. 2022. Political Bioethics. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, vol. 47, issue 4
  • Gregg, B. 2022. Regulating Genetic Engineering Guided by Human Dignity, Not Genetic Essentialism. Politics and the Life Sciences.
  • Gregg, B. 2021. Il contenimento di Covid-19: diritto alla privacy contro diritto alla salute pubblica. Lessico di etica pubblica 2021 (1): 125-163. ISSN 2039-2206.
  • Gregg, B. 2021. Against Essentialism in Conceptions of Human Rights and Human Nature. Human Rights Quarterly 43:313–328.
  • Gregg, B. 2021. Human Rights Require yet Contest National Sovereignty: How a Human Rights Corporation Might Help. In A. Santos Campos and S. Cadilha, eds. Sovereignty as Value. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield:215-232.
  • Gregg, B. 2021. How to Oppose Authoritarian Democracy in Brazil: Human Rights as the People’s Constructions, Constitutionally Embedded, and Internal to the Community’s Self-Understanding [Como se Opor à Democracia Autoritária no Brasil]. Latin American Human Rights Studies [Brazil] 1:1-29.
  • Gregg, B. 2020. Beyond Due Diligence: The Human Rights Corporation. Human Rights Review. 22:65-89.
  • Gregg, B. 2020. Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Biotechnik: Zur normativen Einschätzung der Humangenmanipulation. In B. Keplinger, F. Schwanniger, eds. Optimierung des Menschen. Innsbruck, Austria: Studienverlag:49-63.
  • Gregg, B. 2020. The Human Rights State: Advancing Justice through Political Imagination. In K. Schmidt, ed. The State of Human Rights: Historical Genealogies, Political Controversies, and Cultural Imaginaries:47-69. Heidelberg, Germany: Winter Verlag.
  • Gregg, B. 2020. Construção Social de uma Natureza Humana Voltada para os Direitos Humanos. Boletim Goiano de Geografia [Brazil] 40:1-24.
  • Gregg, B. 2020. The Indigenous Rights State. Ratio Juris 33(1):98-116.
  • Gregg, B. 2019. Against Self-Isolation as a Human Right of Indigenous Peoples in Latin America. Human Rights Review 20(3):313-333.
  • Gregg, B. 2019. Indigeneity as Social Construct and Political Tool. Human Rights Quarterly 41(4):823–848.
  • Gregg, B. 2018. How to Read for Current Developments in Human Genetics Relevant to Justice. Politics and the Life Sciences 37(2):262-277.
  • Gregg, B. 2018. The Coming Political Challenges of Artificial Intelligence. Digital Culture & Society 4(1):157-180.
  • Gregg, B. 2018. Human Genetic Engineering: Biotic Justice in the Anthropocene? In D. DellaSala and M. Goldstein, eds. Encyclopedia of the Anthropocene, vol. 4:351-359. Oxford, UK: Elsevier.
  • Gregg, B. 2017. The Human Rights State: Theoretical Challenges, Empirical Deployments: Reply to My Critics. The International Journal of Human Rights 21(3):359-385.
  • Wolfsteller, René and Gregg, B. 2017. A Realistic Utopia? Critical Analyses of The Human Rights State in Theory and Deployment: Guest Editors’ Introduction. The International Journal of Human Rights 21(3):219-229.
  • Gregg, B. 2016. Un constructo social de los Derechos Humanos para la autodeterminación de los pueblos indígenas. Deusto Journal of Human Rights [Spain] 1:105-143.
  • Gregg, B. 2016. Human Rights as Metaphor for Political Community Beyond the Nation State. Critical Sociology 42(6):897-917.
  • Gregg, B. 2015. Advancing Human Rights in Post-Authoritarian Communities through Education. Journal of Human Rights Practice 7(2):199-222.