Raff Donelson

Raff Donelson

Assistant Professor
Philosophy and Paul M. Hebert Law Center

Ph.D. and J.D.: Northwestern University, 2017

Phone: 225-578-6411
Office: 210 Coates (and 430 Law Center)


Raff Donelson received his JD and his PhD in philosophy both from Northwestern University in 2017, following a MA from the University of Chicago in 2010 and a BA from Williams College in 2009.


Areas of Interest

Dr. Donelson teaches courses in moral, political, and legal philosophy as well as courses in constitutional law and criminal procedure at the Law Center. In philosophy, his research interests include metaethics and the philosophy of law, while his legal doctrinal work focuses on constitutional protections for criminals and those accused of lawbreaking. His scholarship has been featured in Metaphilosophy, Contemporary Pragmatism, the Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy, and other venues.

Courses Offered:

  • PHIL 2020 Ethics
  • PHIL 3062 Introduction to Political Philosophy
  • PHIL 3072 Philosophy of Rawls
  • PHIL 3950 Introduction to Epistemology
  • PHIL 4946 Philosophy of Law
  • PHIL 4947 Topics in Philosophy of Law 


Book Chapters

  • “Fuller and the Folk: The Inner Morality of Law Revisited” (with Ivar Hannikainen), in Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy, vol. 3 (Tania Lombrozo, Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols, eds. Oxford University Press forthcoming 2019) [ssrn]

  • “The Nihilist”, in The Pragmatism and Prejudice of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. 31­­-47 (Seth Vannatta, ed. Lexington Press 2019) [ssrn]



  • “Describing Law.” Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence (forthcoming 2020)

  • “Three Problems with Metaethical Minimalism.” Southwest Philosophy Review 34(1): 125- 131 (2018)

  • “Blacks, Cops, and the State of Nature.” Ohio State Journal Criminal Law 15(1): 183-192 (2017) [ssrn]

  • “Cruel and Unusual What? Toward a Unified Definition of Punishment.” Washington University Jurisprudence Review 9(1) (2016) [ssrn]

  • “Rorty’s Promise in Metaethics.” Contemporary Pragmatism 14(3): 292-306 (2017)

  • “Ethical Pragmatism” Metaphilosophy 48(4): 383-403 (2017)


Additional Information