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Heidi M Hurd

Professor and H. Ross and Helen Workman Chair, College of Law


A scholar and teacher in the areas of criminal law, torts, environmental law, environmental ethics, and moral, legal, and political philosophy, Heidi M. Hurd served as the College of Law’s eleventh dean from 2002-2007 and held the David C. Baum Professorship in Law from 2002-2017.  She spent the first twelve years of her career as an Assistant, Associate, and then full Professor of Law and Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she also 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 co-Director of the Institute for Law and Philosophy at the University of San Diego Law School.  Since joining the Illinois Law faculty, she has held three separate six-month Visiting Research Fellowships at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, and she has taught in the Soros Foundation Summer Seminar Series that has alternated between Lviv, Ukraine and the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg in Russia.  She has also been a Visiting Professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business (in the Institute for the Study of Markets and Ethics), the University of Alabama School of Law, the University of Tel Aviv School of Law, the Uganda Christian University School of Law, and the University of Erlangen-Nurnberg Program for American Studies.  In August of 2018, she will be a Visiting Professor at the FGV Direito-Sao Paulo Law School in Brazil where she will teach Comparative Environmental Law, and she is a lifetime member of the Academic Advisory Counsel at Torcuato di Tella University in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Professor Hurd has written numerous anthologized book chapters, peer-reviewed philosophical essays, and articles that have appeared in the nation’s top law journals, including the Yale Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the Michigan Law Review, the University of Chicago Legal ForumLaw and Philosophy, and Legal Theory, among many others.  She is the author of Moral Combat (Cambridge University Press, 1999) and 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 (2018).  With her Illinois Law colleague Ralph Brubaker, she has a contract with Oxford University Press for a book on the moral underpinnings of personal bankruptcy entitled The Virtue of Bankruptcy.  She has given over 150 lectures and paper presentations across the United States, Canada, the U.K., Europe, Central America, and South America, as well as at universities in the Middle East, Africa, East Asia, and Australia, and she has provided testimony before the United States House Committee on the Judiciary on proposed criminal legislation.  

Professor Hurd received a B.A. (Hon.) from Queen’s University (Canada), an M.A. in Philosophy from Dalhousie University (Canada), and a J.D. and Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Southern California.  In 2016-17, Professor Hurd returned for a mid-career M.E.M. (Masters in Environmental Management) at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.


Research Interests

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


J.D., Ph.D. University of Southern California
M.A. Dalhousie University
B.A. Queen’s University

Additional Campus Affiliations

Professor, College of Law
Professor, Philosophy
H. Ross and Helen Workman Chair, College of Law
Professor, Women & Gender in Global Perspectives
Professor, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Recent Publications

Hurd, H. M. (2023). Climate Change, Natural Aesthetics, and the Danger of Adapted Preferences. In G. Pellegrino, & M. Di Paola (Eds.), Handbook of the Philosophy of Climate Change Springer.

Hurd, H. M. (2023). Partnering with the Dead to Govern the Unborn: The Value of Precedent in Judicial Reasoning. In T. Endicott, H. Kristjansson, & S. Lewis (Eds.), Philosophical Foundations of Precedent (pp. 523-536). (Philosophical Foundations of Law). Oxford University Press.

Hurd, H. M., & Brubaker, R. E. (2023). The Retributivism Case Against Debtors' Prisons. In G. Fletcher (Ed.), Herbert Morris: UCLA Professor of Law and Philosophy : in commemoration (pp. 78-111). Mazo Publishers.

Hurd, H. M., & Moore, M. S. (2021). The Ethical Implications of Proportioning Punishment to Deontological Desert. Criminal Law and Philosophy, 15(3), 495-514.

Hurd, H. M. (2021). Will the Biden Administration Continue to Protect the Environment Only When It Is Profitable to Do So? University of Illinois Law Review Online.

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