School of Politics and International Relations

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Anthony Burns

Professor of Political Theory, Faculty of Social Sciences



Tony Burns is an Associate Professor in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham. He has a First Class BA (Hons) Degree in Philosophy and Politics from the University of Sheffield, a PGCE with Distinction from the University of Huddersfield, and a PhD from Nottingham Trent University.

Expertise Summary

M12070 Modern European Thought

M13061 The Politics of Science Fiction

M14021 The Philosophy of Social Research

Research Summary

The History of Political Thought

The Aristotelian Natural Law Tradition

The Hegel-Marx Connection

Continental Political Thought

Political Theory and Science Fiction

Current Research Projects

1. The relationship between science and politics in works of utopian/dystopian literature. 2. Slavery and the politics of recognition in the history of political thought before and after Hegel. 3. Questions of method in the history of political thought: strategies for reading texts.

Selected Publications

PhD Supervision

All of my research falls under the umbrella label of the history of (Western) philosophy and political thought. More specifically, it falls into four broad categories:

1. The history of political thought, insofar as it deals with natural law theory, or the history of the concept of natural law; and, latterly, the history of concepts more generally, together with the methodological issues associated with studying them.

2. The philosophy and political thought of Aristotle and the Aristotelian tradition, from the time of the ancient Greeks to the present, together with that of thinkers such as Alasdair MacIntyre, Martha Nussbaum, Leo Strauss and Hannah Arendt in the 20th and early 21st Centuries.

3. The philosophy and political thought of G. W. F. Hegel and Karl Marx, especially in relation to each other and to that of Aristotle and the Aristotelian tradition.

4. The history of political thought, with special reference to utopian/dystopian thought and literature, insofar as this touches on the role of science in society, that is to say, questions of science and politics as they are addressed in works of the creative imagination (sometimes called 'science fiction'). My work in this third area is interdisciplinary, straddling the boundaries between art, literature, cultural studies, science, philosophy, theology & religion, sociology, psychology, ethics, politics, economics and education.

Succesfuly Supervised PhDs as First Supervisor

I have been first supervisor for five students all of whom have completed their studies and have been awarded a PhD. No student that I have supervised has not been awarded a PhD.

Joe Pateman, July, 2021. Marxism-Leninism and Democracy.

Aref Ebadi, April, 2018. The Sceptical Foundations of Hayek's Political Thought.

Dilshad Khdhir, October, 2015. Dynamics of Kurdish Identity Formation in the Kurdistan Region-Iraq Between 1991-2014.

David Bell, November, 2012. Nomadic Utopianism: Deleuze and the Good Place That Is No Place.

Oliver Harrison, January 2011. Revolutionary Subjectivity in Post-Marxist Thought, published, under that title, by Ashgate books (2014).

Past Research

The Aristotelian philosophical and political tradition; the Aristotelian conception of natural law and its impact in the later history of political thought, and especially on the ideology of conservatism; the influence of Aristotle on the ethical and political thought of Hegel and Marx. The political thought of Leo Strauss.

Future Research

See above

  • BURNS, T., 2024. 'Social Theory and the Politics of Recognition in the Writings of Aristotle'. In: DAVID CARTER and BARBARA GOFF, eds., The Brill Companion to the Legacy of Greek Political Thought Brill. (In Press.)
  • BURNS, T., 2024. ‘Hegel and International Political Theory’. In: HOWARD WILLIAMS, DAVID BOUCHER, PETER SUTCH AND DAVID REIDY, ed., The Palgrave Handbook of International Political Theory Palgrave. pp. 321-37
  • BURNS, T., 2024. 'Marx and the Concept of a Social Formation,' Historical Materialism: A Journal of Critical Marxist Analysis.
  • BURNS, T., 2024. 'MacIntyre and Hegel on the Possibility of Resolving Philosophical Disagreements,' Philosophy & Social Criticism.
  • BURNS, T., 2024. ‘Between Sartre and Goffman: Alasdair MacIntyre and Hegel’s Theory of the Self,’. In: C. BERNACCHIO, A. FATTAH, D. KRETZ & M. LAZARUS EDS,, ed., Hegel/MacIntyre Routledge. (In Press.)
  • BURNS, T., 2024. ‘Marx, Automation and the Politics of Recognition Within Social Institutions,’ Critique: Journal of Socialist Theory. 97, (In Press.)
  • BURNS, T., 2024. 'Marxism and the Idea of a Fully Automated Machine Society: Science Fiction Utopia or Dystopian Nightmare?’. In: Technology, AI and Human Flourishing:: Automation and Alienation in the Age of Digital Capitalism Bloomsbury Press. (In Press.)
  • BURNS, T., 2023. ‘Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness’. In: BRYAN M. SANTIN, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the Twentieth-Century American Novel and Politics Cambridge University Press. pp. 285-96
  • BURNS, T., 2023. ‘Marx’s Capital and the Concept of Super-Exploitation,’ Capital & Class. pp. 1-21
  • BURNS, T., 2022. 'Marxism and the Concept of a Social Formation: An Immanent Critique of the Views of Jairus Banaji.' Science & Society. 86(1), pp. 38-65
  • BURNS, T., 2022. ‘The Concept of a Social Formation in the Writings of E. P. Thompson and Ellen Meiksins Wood,’ Capital & Class. 46(2), pp. 257-77
  • BURNS, T., 2022. ‘Alasdair MacIntyre on the Division of Goods and “The Corrupting Power of Institutions”,' Frontiers in Sociology. Front. Sociol. 7:986184., pp. 1-13
  • BURNS, T., 2022. ‘Amartya Sen and the Capabilities Versus Happiness Debate: An Aristotelian Perspective.'. In: FLORIANA IRTELLI and FABIO GABRIELLI, eds., Happiness: Biopsychosocial and Anthropological Perspectives InTech Open. pp. 1-19
  • BURNS, T., 2021. ‘St. Augustine and Administration: The Politics of Social Institutions in The City of God,’ The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms. 26(1), pp. 22-38
  • BURNS, T, 2020. Social Institutions and the Politics of Recognition: Volume 1, From the Ancient Greeks to the Reformation Rowman & Littlefield.
  • BURNS, T., 2020. Social Institutions and the Politics of Recognition: Volume 2, From the Reformation to the French Revolution Rowman & Littlefield.
  • BURNS, T., 2020. ‘Aristotle and the Politics of Recognition’. In: ANDRIUS BIELSKIS, ELENI LEONTSI & KELVIN KNIGHT, ed., Virtue Ethics and Contemporary Aristotelianism: Modernity, Conflict and Politics Bloomsbury Press. pp. 192-208
  • BURNS, T., 2019. Alasdair MacIntyre, Utopianism and the Politics of Social Institutions International Critical Thought. 9(3), pp. 1-16
  • BURNS, T., 2017. 'Aristotle'. In: DAVID BOUCHER and PAUL KELLY, eds., Political Thinkers: From Socrates to the Present. 3rd. rev. ed. Oxford University Press. pp. 84-101
  • BURNS, T., 2017. 'Marx, The Labour Theory of Value and The Transformation Problem' Capital & Class. 40(1), pp. 1-18
  • BURNS, T., 2016. ‘Marxism and Science Fiction: The Case of The Matrix'. In: EWA MAZIERSKA and ALFREDO LUIZ SUPPIA, eds., Red Alert: Marxist Approaches to Science Fiction Cinema Wayne State University Press. pp. 104-31
  • BURNS, T., 2016. 'Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four as a Critical Dystopia'. In: TOM HORAN, ed., Critical Insights: Nineteen Eighty Four Salem Press. pp. 42-54
  • BURNS, T., 2016. 'Happy Slaves'? The Adaptation Problem and Identity Politics in the Writings of Amartya Sen International Journal of Social Economics. 43(12), pp. 1178-93.
  • BURNS, T., 2015. 'The Idea of "The Struggle for Recognition" in the Ethical Thought of the Young Marx and its Relevance Today'. In: MICHAEL THOMPSON, ed., Constructing Marx's Ethics: Critique, Normativity, Praxis. Leiden: Brill. pp. 33-58
  • BURNS, T., 2014. 'Hegel and Global Politics: Communitarianism or Cosmopolitanism?' Journal of International Political Theory. 10(3), pp. 325-44
  • BURNS, T. & S. THOMPSON, ed., 2013. Global Justice and the Politics of Recognition. London: Palgrave.
  • BURNS, T., 2013. Hegel, Cosmopolitanism and Contemporary Recognition Theory. In: BURNS, T and THOMPSON, S., eds., Global Justice and the Politics of Recognition. Palgrave. 64-87
  • BURNS, T., 2013. ‘“The Right to Have Rights”: Slavery, Freedom and Citizenship in the Thought of Aristotle, Hegel and Arendt'. In: GABRIEL R. RICCI, ed., Culture and Civilization, Volume 5. Transaction Publishers. 181-207
  • BURNS, A., 2013. Nussbaum, cosmopolitanism and contemporary political problems International Journal of Social Economics. 40(7), 648-662
  • BURNS, T. and S. THOMPSON, 2013. 'Introduction'. In: T. BURNS and S. THOMPSON, eds., Global Justice and the Politics of Recognition Palgrave.
  • BURNS, T, 2012. 'Alan Brudner and the Contemporary Significance of Hegel's Philosophy of Law,' Jurisprudence. 3(1), 211-18
  • BURNS, T., 2012. 'Science, Politics and Utopia in George Orwell’s "Nineteen Eighty-Four"'. In: KEITH BOOKER, ed., Critical Insights: Dystopia Salem Press. 91-108
  • BURNS, T., 2011. ‘Revolutionary Aristotelianism? The Political Thought of Aristotle, Marx and MacIntyre’. In: BLACKLEDGE, PAUL & KNIGHT, KELVIN, ed., Virtue and Politics: Alasdair MacIntyre’s Revolutionary Aristotelianism Notre Dame: Notre Dame University Press. 35-53
  • BURNS, T., 2011. Aristotle and Natural Law. Continuum Books.
  • BURNS, T., 2010. 'Strauss on Aristotle and the Idea of a “State of Exception”'. In: BURNS, T. and CONNELLY, J., eds., The Legacy of Leo Strauss. Imprint Academic. 43-66
  • BURNS, T., 2010. 'Aristotelianism'. In: BEVIR, MARK, ed., The Sage Encyclopaedia of Political Theory 1. London: Sage. 71-77
  • BURNS, T and CONNELLY, J., eds., 2010. The Legacy of Leo Strauss. Exeter: Imprint Academic.
  • BURNS, T. and CONNELLY, J., 2010. 'Introduction: Straussian Voices'. In: BURNS, T. and CONNELLY, J., eds., The Legacy of Leo Strauss Imprint Academic. 1-26
  • BURNS, T., 2010. 'Capitalism, Modernity and the Nation State,' Capital & Class. 235-55
  • BURNS, TONY, 2009. 'Aristotle'. In: BOUCHER, D and KELLY, P. J., eds., Political Thinkers: From Socrates to the Present 2nd. rev. ed.. Oxford University Press.
  • BURNS, A., 2008. Political theory, science fiction, and utopian literature: Ursula K. Le Guin and The dispossessed Lexington Books.
  • BURNS, T., 2006. 'Hegel, Identity Politics and the Problem of Slavery,' Culture, Theory and Critique. 47(1), 87-104
  • BURNS, T., 2006. 'Review of John Hoffman and Paul Graham, Introduction to Political Theory (London: Pearson Longman, 2006),' British Politics. 1(2), 428-29
  • BURNS, T., 2005. 'Whose Aristotle? Which Marx? Ethics, Law and Justice in Aristotle and in Marx,' Imprints: A Journal of Analytical Socialism. 8(2), 125-155
  • BURNS, T., 2005. 'Hegel'. In: Palgrave Advances in Continental Political Thought. Palgrave Macmillan Ltd, Basingstoke, UK. 45-58
  • BURNS, T, 2005. ‘Science and Politics in The Dispossessed: Le Guin and the “Science Wars’’'. In: DAVIS, L. & STILLMAN, P., ed., The New Utopian Politics of Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed. Lexington Books. 195-215
  • BURNS, T., 2004. 'Marxism and Science Fiction: A Celebration of the Work of Ursula K. Le Guin,' Capital & Class. 139-148
  • BURNS, T., 2003. 'The Tragedy of Slavery: Aristotle's "Rhetoric" and the History of the Concept of Natural Law,' History of Political Thought. 24(1), 16-36
  • BURNS, T., 2003. Aristotle. In: , ed., Political Thinkers: From Socrates to the Present Oxford University Press. 73-91
  • BURNS, T., 2002. Sophocles' "Antigone" and the history of the concept of natural law Political Studies. 50(3), 545-557
  • BURNS, T., 2002. Joseph Dietzgen and the history of Marxism Science & Society. 66(2), 202-227
  • BURNS, T., 2002. Dialectic and Enlightenment: A Critical Review of James Daly’s, Deals and Ideals: Two Concepts of Enlightenment Fealsunacht. 2, 58-62
  • BURNS, T., 2002. Hegel (1770-1831). In: Interpreting Modern Political Philosophy from Machiavelli to Marx Palgrave Macmillan Ltd, Basingstoke, UK. 162-79
  • BURNS, T., 2001. Karl Kautsky: Ethics and Marxism. In: , ed., Marxism's Ethical Thinkers Palgrave Macmillan Ltd, Basingstoke, UK. 15-50.
  • BURNS, T., 2001. Recognition Versus Distribution: Three Works on Equality Contemporary Politics. VOL 7(PART 4), 319-330
  • BURNS, T., 2000. Aquinas's Two Doctrines of Natural Law Political Studies. VOL 48(PART 5), 929-946
  • BURNS, T., 2000. Review of Sean Sayers, Marxism and Human Nature Radical Philosophy. ISSU 100, 64
  • BURNS, T., 2000. The Purloined Hegel: Semiology in the Thought of Saussure and Derrida History of the Human Sciences. VOL 13(PART 4), 1-24
  • BURNS, T., 2000. Marx and Scientific Method: A Non-Metaphysical View. In: The Hegel-Marx Connection MacMillan Publishers Ltd, London. 79-104
  • BURNS, T., 2000. Review of Gary K. Browning Hegel and the History of Political Philosophy Studies in Marxism. VOL 7, 160-161
  • BURNS, T., 2000. Introduction: An Historical Survey of the Hegel-Marx Connection. In: The Hegel-Marx Connection MacMillan Publishers Ltd, London. 1-33
  • BURNS, T., 2000. Materialism in Ancient Greek Philosophy and in the Writings of the Young Marx Historical Materialism. ISSU 7, 3-40
  • BURNS, T., 2000. Zamyatin's We and Postmodernism Utopian Studies. VOL 11(PART 1), 66-90
  • BURNS, T. AND FRASER, I. EDS., 2000. The Hegel-Marx Connection MacMillan Publishers Ltd, London.
  • BURNS, T., 2000. Review of M. B. Steger and T. Carver eds., Engels after Marx (Pennsylvania State University Press: Pennsylvania, 1999) Political Studies. 48,(4), 833
  • BURNS, T., 1999. The Source of the Encyclopedie Article 'Loi Naturelle (morale)'. In: Grotius, Pufendort and Modern Natural Law Ashgate Publishing Group, Aldershot & London.
  • BURNS, T., 1999. John Gray and the Death of Conservatism Contemporary Politics. VOL 5(NUMBER 1), 7-24
  • BURNS, T., 1998. Metaphysics and Politics in Aristotle and Hegel In: Contemporary Political Studies 1998. 387-399
  • BURNS, T., 1998. Aristotle and Natural Law History of Political Thought. VOL 19(NUMBER 2), 142-166
  • BURNS, T., 1997. Hegel's Interpretation of the Philosophy of Heraclitus: Some Observations In: Contemporary Political Studies 1997. 228-239
  • BURNS, T., 1996. Natural Law and Political Ideology in the Philosophy of Hegel Avebury, Aldershot.
  • BURNS, T., 1996. The Theoretical Underpinnings of Chicago Sociology in the 1920s and 30s Sociological Review. VOL 44(NUMBER 3), 474-494
  • BURNS, T., 1995. Hegel and Natural Law Theory Politics. 15(1), 27-32
  • BURNS, T., 1995. The Ideological Location of Hegel's Political Thought In: Contemporary Political Studies 1995. 1301-1308
  • BURNS, T., 1994. Review of S. C. Bosworth, Hegels Political Philosophy: The Test Case For Constitutional Monarchy (Garland, London and New York, 1991). Bulletin of the Hegel Society of Great Britain. 30, 64-71
  • BURNS, T., 1986. The Sources of the Encyclopedia Article on Justice: A Reply to Professor Thielemann Diderot Studies. 22, 27-40
  • BURNS, T., 1984. The Source of the Encyclopedie Article 'Loi naturelle (morale)' British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies. 7(1), 39-48
  • 'MacIntyre and Hegel on the Possibility of Resolving Philosophical Disagreements,' Philosophy & Social Criticism. (In Press.)
  • In: Hegel/MacIntyre (In Press.)

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