Faculty Biography

 Judith DeCew

Judith Wagner DeCew, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scholar; Professor Emerita
Department of Philosophy
Clark University
Worcester, MA 01610-1477

Phone: (508) 793-7414
Email: jdecew@clarku.edu

Curriculum Vitae [PDF]

Prof. DeCew received a B.A. from the University of Rochester in 1970 and an M.A. and Ph.D. in 1976 and 1978, respectively, from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She served on the faculty at MIT for eight years beginning in 1978, has been at Clark since 1987 and served as Associate Dean of the College from 1999-2001. Prof. DeCew has been a Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Wellesley College and a Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Harvard Summer School. During summer 2015 Prof. DeCew completed over a decade of service as Chair of the Philosophy Department at Clark.

Prof. DeCew is affiliated with Clark's programs in Women's and Gender Studies and Law and Society, and directed the Ethics and Public Policy concentration. Dr. DeCew served as Secretary-Treasurer for the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy (ASPLP) from 1997-2002. ASPLP is an international and interdisciplinary group of scholars in philosophy, law, and political science, with annual meetings which produce the Nomos volumes published by NYU Press. She has served as an elected member on the national American Philosophical Association's Committee on Philosophy and Law for two three-year terms concluding in July 2009.

In September 2010, Prof. DeCew was awarded Clark's Senior Faculty Fellowship, "presented to an outstanding senior faculty member who personifies the Clark ideal of excellence in teaching and excellence in scholarship."

In 2019 DeCew was presented with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award by Marquis Who’s Who, the world’s premier publisher of biographical profiles.

Current Research and Teaching

Prof. DeCew's research focuses on topics in theoretical and applied ethics, philosophy of law, social and political philosophy, and logic. She has been a Research Fellow at Harvard Law School, The Bunting Institute at Radcliffe, Harvard University, and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for Humanities, the American Council for Learned Societies, and the American Association of University Women. In 1993 she earned Clark's Hayden Faculty Fellowship for excellence in teaching and research. Prof. DeCew has offered an introductory course in Social and Political Ethics and a first year seminar in Privacy Protection in Law and Ethics. She also taught upper level courses in Theories of Ethics, Philosophy of Law, and Social and Political Philosophy.

Selected Publications


Unionization in the Academy The Pursuit of Privacy Theory and Practice

Unionization in the Academy: Visions and Realities. In the series "Issues in Academic Ethics," Steven Cahn, series editor, Rowman & Littlefield Publshers, Inc., 2003.

In Pursuit of Privacy: Law, Ethics, and the Rise of Technology. Cornell University Press, 1997.

Theory and Practice. Original Essays in Philosophy, Law, and Political Theory. Co-Edited with Ian Shapiro. New York University Press, 1995.


"Privacy." The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2018 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2018/entries/privacy/

“The Conceptual Coherence of Privacy As Developed in Law,” in Core Concepts and Contemporary Issues in Privacy, Ann E. Cudd and Mark C. Navin, eds., Springer International (2018), 17-30.

“Privacy and Its Importance with Advancing Technology,” 42 Ohio Northern University Law Review 471 (2016), 471-492.

“Connecting Tort, Fourth Amendment, and Constitutional Privacy”, in Privacy, Security and Accountability, Adam Moore, ed., New Jersey: Rowman & Littlefeld (2016), 73-88.

“Ethics and Public Policy,” in Practicing Professional Ethics in Economics and Public Policy, Elizabeth Searing, ed., Springer (2016), 245-253.

“The Feminist Critique of Privacy – Past Arguments and New Social Understandings,” in Social Dimensions of Privacy: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, B. Roessler and D. Mokrosinka, eds., Cambridge University Press (2015), 85-103.

“Information about Undergraduate Studies in Philosophy,” in Philosophy for the Curious: Why Study Philosophy, Kishor Vaidya, ed., ISBN 978-1-925128-46-8, Curious Academic Publishing, Canberra, Australia, Kindle version published 2015, chapter 15. Print version 2015, chapter 15.

"Privacy,"Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Edward N. Zalta, ed., 2013

"Privacy," Routlege Companion to Philosophy of Law, Andrei Marmor, ed., Routledge Press, 2012.

"Codes of Warfare" Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics. 2nd Ed., Ruth Chadwick, ed., Elsevier Press, 2011.

"John Stuart Mill" and "Paternalism," Encyclopedia of Global Justice, Deen Chatterjee, ed., Springer, 2011.

"Introduction" to "The Work of Jeffrie G. Murphy" Criminal Justice Ethics, 2008.

"The Philosophical Foundations of Privacy," Encyclopedia of Privacy, William G. Staples, ed., Greenwood Press, 2007.

"Free Speech and Offensive Expression," Social Philosophy and Policy, 2004.

"Privacy and Policy for Genetic Research," Ethics and Information Technology, 2004.

"Constitutional Interpretation and Originalism," American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Philosophy and Law, Theodore Benditt, ed., 2004.

"The Priority of Privacy for Medical Information," Social Philosophy and Policy, 2000.

"Alternatives for Protecting Privacy While Respecting Patient Care and Public Health Needs," Ethics and Information Technology, 1999.

"Discretion: Its Role in Judicial Decision Making," The Philosophy of Law: An Encyclopedia, Garland, 1999.

"The Combat Exclusion and the Role of Women in the Military," Hypatia, 1995.

"Introduction," with Ian Shapiro, Theory and Practice: Nomos XXXVII, NYU, 1995.

"The Feminist Critique of Privacy," American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Philosophy and Law and Feminist Philosophy, Rex Martin and Hilde Hein, eds., 1995.

"Women, Equality, and the Military," in Nagging Questions: Feminist Ethics in Everyday Life, D. Bushnell, ed., 1995.

"Drug Testing: Balancing Privacy and Public Safety," Hastings Center Report, 1994.

"Dynamic Negotiation in the Privacy Wars," with Ross E. Mitchell, Technology Review, 1994.

"Critical Legal Studies and Liberalism: Understanding the Similarities and Differences," Philosophical Topics, 1991.

"Moral Conflicts and Ethical Relativism," Ethics, 1990.

"Free Speech on Campus," Morality, Responsibility, and the University: Studies in Academic Ethics, Steven Cahn, ed., 1990.

"Threatening Constitutional Protection for Abortion: The Supreme Court's Decision," Radcliffe Quarterly, 1989.

"Constitutional Privacy, Judicial Interpretation, and Bowers v. Hardwick," Social Theory and Practice, 1989.  

"Moral Rights: Conflicts and Valid Claims," Philosophical Studies, 1988.

"Realities About Legal Realism," Law and Philosophy, 1985.

"Violent Pornography: Censorship, Morality, and Social Alternatives," Journal of Applied Philosophy, 1984.

"Brandt's New Defense of Rule Utilitarianism: Ideal Rules and the Motivation to Be Moral," Philosophical Studies, 1983.

"Conditional Obligation and Counterfactuals," Journal of Philosophical Logic, 1981.