Heidi Hurd

Ross and Helen Workman Chair in Law
Co-Director, Program in Law and Philosophy


MEM Candidate
School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Yale University

A scholar and teacher in the areas of criminal law, torts, environmental law, environmental ethics, political theory, moral philosophy, and general jurisprudence, Ross and Helen Workman Chair in Law and Professor of Philosophy Heidi M. Hurd served as the College’s 11th, and first woman dean from 2002 through 2007. Under her deanship, the College of Law significantly increased incoming student credentials to place them among the nation’s Top 15 based on LSAT scores and median GPA, recruited 17 tenure or tenure-track faculty, lowered the student/faculty teaching ratio to 12:1, broadened the curriculum and introduced small section classes in the first year program, and saw faculty productivity climb to 7th in the nation based on submissions to the Social Science Research Network. Under Dean Hurd’s leadership, the College also received an enormous increase in annual fund and endowment support from alumni, setting the stage for the successful $100 million capital campaign that followed.

Before coming to Illinois, Professor Hurd spent most of her career as a professor of law and philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she served as associate dean for academic affairs and as the co-founder and director of the University of Pennsylvania Institute for Law and Philosophy. While at Penn, she was also a visiting professor at the University of Virginia Law School and the University of Iowa Philosophy Department, and she spent several summers teaching law and political theory in Hungary, Germany, and Ukraine.

Before joining the faculty at the University of Illinois College of Law, Professor Hurd was the Herzog Research Professor of Law and director of the Institute for Law and Philosophy at the University of San Diego Law School. In 2002, 2008, and 2010 she held six-month Visiting Research Fellowships in Law and the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University. In 2004 and 2007 she was a visiting professor at the University of Tel Aviv School of Law. From 2008-2011 she taught in the Soros Foundation Seminar Series on the Right of Liberty and the Limits of Criminal Legislation that alternated between Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. Also in 2010, she was a visiting professor at the Uganda Christian University School of Law in Kampala, Uganda.

During the 2016-17 academic year, Professor Hurd is pursuing a mid-career Masters in Environmental Management at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Throughout her years at Illinois, she has taken numerous courses (for credit) in the Departments of Crop Sciences, Animal Sciences, Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences, and Landscape Architecture with the goal of enriching her understanding of environmental issues that are relevant to teaching and writing about environmental law and environmental ethics.

Professor Hurd is the author of Moral Combat (Cambridge University Press, 1999), which has been widely reviewed and translated into multiple languages. She has a solo-edited collection of essays forthcoming from Cambridge University Press entitled Moral Puzzles and Legal Perplexities: Essays on the Influence of Larry Alexander (2017). She also has two books under contract with Oxford University Press: one co-authored with Ralph Brubaker on the moral underpinnings of debt-forgiveness through bankruptcy discharge, entitled The Virtue of Bankruptcy; and the other co-authored with Michael Moore on topics in criminal law, entitled Essays in Criminal Law Theory. She is also a member of a group of criminal law scholars who are collaborating on the creation of a novel new theoretical casebook in criminal law. Her numerous articles in the areas of criminal law, torts, legal philosophy, and political theory have appeared in the nation’s top law and philosophy journals, including the Yale Law JournalStanford Law ReviewMichigan Law Review, Stanford Law ReviewLegal TheoryLaw and PhilosophyChicago Law ForumNotre Dame Law ReviewJournal of Contemporary Legal IssuesBoston University Law ReviewAustralian Journal of Legal Philosophy, and Southern California Law Review. She has given well over 150 lectures and paper presentations at conferences and gatherings across the United States and Europe, as well as in Israel, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Uganda, Argentina, Canada, and Australia. In 1999, she provided testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on the proposed Hate Crime Prevention Act of 1999. Within the College of Law she regularly teaches criminal law, torts, evidence, and environmental law; and within the Department of Philosophy, she teaches courses in environmental ethics, moral theory, and political philosophy.


JD, PhD University of Southern California
MA Dalhousie University
M.E.M. Candidate School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University
BA Queen’s University

Areas of Expertise

Criminal Law
Tort Law
Environmental Law
Moral Philosophy
Political Theory
Environmental Ethics


Environmental Ethics
Environmental Law and Policy
Environmental Policy
Ethics, Economics & the Environment

Selected Publications

The Normative Force of Consent, in The Ethics of Consent, ed. Peter Schaber, Routledge Press (forthcoming 2017).

Fudging Nudging: Why ‘Libertarian Paternalism’ is the Contradiction it Claims it’s Not, Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy (forthcoming 2017)

Promises Schmomises, Law and Philosophy (forthcoming 2017).

Paternalism and the Criminal Law, in The Philosophy of Paternalism, eds. Kalle Grill and Jason Hanna, Routledge Press (forthcoming 2016).

Stand Your Ground, in The Ethics of Self Defense, eds. Christian Coon and Michael Weber, Oxford University Press (2015).

Untying the Gordian Knot of Mens Rea Requirements for Accomplice Liability (with Michael Moore), Social Philosophy and Policy (2015).

Living with Genius: The Life and Work of Michael Moore, in Legal, Moral and Metaphysical Truths: The Philosophy of Michael Moore, eds. Kimberly Ferzan and Stephen Morse, Oxford University Press (2015). 

Interpretation Without Intentions, in Practical Normativity: Essays on Reasons and Intentions in Law and Practical Reason, eds. G. Pavlakos and V. Rodriguez-Blanco, Cambridge University Press, 52-71 (2014).

Finding No Fault with Negligence, in Philosophical Foundations of the Law of Torts, ed. John Oberdiek, Oxford University Press, 387-405 (2013).

The Virtue of Consumer Bankruptcy, in A Debtor World: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Debt, eds. Ralph Brubaker, Robert M. Lawless, Charles J. Tabb, Oxford University Press, 317-44 (2012).

Fouling Our Nest: Are (Environmental) Ethics Impotent Against (Bad) Economics?, in East-West Philosophy, eds. Roger Ames and Peter Hershock, East-West Center Press, 82-108 (2012).