Photo of Jay Drydyk

Jay Drydyk

Social and political philosophy; Interntional development ethics; Kant, Hegel, Marx, Sen, Nussbaum

Degrees:B.A. (Chicago), M.A. (Notre Dame), Ph.D. (Toronto)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 3824
Office:3A64 Paterson Hall


Office Hours

Thursdays, 2:30pm – 4:00pm or by appointment

Courses for 2023-24

  • PHIL 4300 – Seminar in Ethical Theory or Meta-Ethics
  • PHIL 5300 – Topics in Value Theory
  • EPAF 6100 – Public Reason


Jay Drydyk is interested in many questions of social and political philosophy but has focused on economic and social development (local and global) from a standpoint of public reason. With co-editor Lori Keleher he mobilized 40+ colleagues worldwide to produce the Routledge Handbook of Development Ethics in 2019. His analysis of empowerment and other values of development ethics resulted from two projects on development-induced displacement, in which he worked with colleagues in India to study ethical risks that arise when development displaces people and their communities. The results were published in Displacement by Development: Ethics, Rights and Responsibilities (Cambridge 2011), co-authored with Peter Penz and Pablo S. Bose.

He has also co-edited Human Rights: India and the West (with Ashwani Peetush, Oxford 2015) and Theorizing Justice: Critical Insights and Future Directions (with Krushil Watene, Rowman Littlefield 2016).

His current work addresses what can be known about social and global justice without resorting to ideal theory. One highlight of this work is a highly egalitarian idea of capability sufficiency as a goal for social and global justice. Another is a capability approach to oppression. He is past President of the International Development Ethics Association and current President of the Human Development and Capability Association.

Research Interests

  • Development ethics
  • The capability approach
  • Global ethics
  • Human rights
  • Public reason

Selected Publications


Displacement by Development: Ethics and Responsibilities, with Peter Penz and Pablo Bose. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Books Edited

Resettlement with People First: Counterfactual Pathways, co-edited with Susanna Price. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, Forthcoming in 2024.

The Routledge Handbook of Development Ethics, co-edited with Lori Keleher. Oxford and New York: Routledge, 2019.

Theorizing Justice: Critical Insights and Future Directions, co-edited with Krushil Watene. London and New York: Rowman Littlefield International, July 2016.

Human Rights: India and the West, co-edited with Ashwani Peetush. New Delhi: Oxford University Press (India), May 2015.

Global Justice, Global Democracy; Prospects for a New Internationalism, co-edited with Peter Penz.  Winnipeg and Halifax:  Society for Socialist Studies and Fernwood Publishing, 1997.

Other Significant Publications

With Susanna Price. Introduction. In Resettlement with People First: Counterfactual Pathways, ed. Susanna Price and Jay Drydyk, pp. xx-yy. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, forthcoming.

Development Ethics. In Elgar Encylopedia of Development, ed. Matthew Clarke, 3692 words. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, in press.

With Diana Velasco and Kerry O’Neill. “Empowerment and Poverty.” In The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy and Poverty, ed. Gottfried Schweiger and Clemens Sedmak.9399 words, in press.

With Lori Keleher. “Development Ethics in Policy and Practice.” In Handbook of Development Policy, ed. Habib Zafarullah & Ahmed Shafiqul Huque, pp. 126-36. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2021

Capability and Oppression, Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, 22/4 (2021): 527-550. Open access link.

Capabilities, Public Reason, and Democratic Deliberation. In The Cambridge Handbook of the Capability Approach, ed. Enrica Chiappero-Martinetti, Siddiqur Osmani, and Mozaffar Qizilbash, pp. 662-678. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020.

Accountability in Development: From Aid Effectiveness to Development Ethics. Journal of Global Ethics 15/2 (2019): 138–54.

The Multidimensionality of Empowerment: Conceptual and Empirical Considerations (with Alejandra Boni Aristizábal and Aurora López Fogués, Alexandre Apsan Frediani, and Melanie Walker). In Agency and Democracy in Development Ethics, edited by Lori W. Keleher and Stacy J. Kosko, 205-227. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2019.

Justice as a Virtue: What Can We Expect of Our Allies? In Theorizing Justice: Critical Insights and Future Directions, co-edited with Krushil Watene, 95-114. London and New York: Rowman Littlefield International, 2016.

Ethics in Development. In Handbook of International Development, ed. Dan Hammett and Jean Grugel, 55-76. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Two Concepts of Overlapping Consensus. In Human Rights: India and the West, co-edited with Ashwani Peetush. New Delhi: Oxford University Press (India), May 2015, 76-92.

Foundational Issues: How Must Global Ethics be Global? Journal of Global Ethics 10/1 (April 2014): 1-10.

Empowerment, Agency, and Power. Journal of Global Ethics 9/3 (December 2013): 249-262.

Ethics and the ‘Climate Migrants’. Ethics, Policy, and Environment 16/1 (Spring 2013): forthcoming, 13 pages.

A Capability Approach to Justice as a Virtue. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15/1 (January 2012): 23-38.

Responsible Pluralism, Capabilities, and Human Rights. Journal of Human Development, Special Issue on Human Rights, 12/1 (February 2011): 39-61.

“Participation, Empowerment, and Democracy: Three Fickle Friends,” in New Directions in Development Ethics: Essays in Honor of Denis Goulet, (Notre Dame, Indiana, University of Notre Dame Press, 2010), 333-356.


Graduate Supervisions since 2010

Philosophy MA Research Essays

Nikan Omidi Langroudi, Constituent Accountability: Legitimizing Participatory Development Efforts, May 2010

Michael Randall Barnes, Exploited Workers in Developing Countries and Fairness in International Trade and Labour, September 2011

Vikram Panchmatia. The Neo-stoic Empath and the Capabilities Approach. April, 2017.


Philosophy M.A. Theses

M.A. Thesis Josephine Nielsen, Broadening Multicultural Theory: Addressing Horizontal Inequalities and the Need for Group Mobilization, August 2011.

Ali Ramezani, Aging with Dignity, September 2011.

Hamid Andishan, Dignity of the Other: A Minimal and Common Perspective toward Equal Respect. May, 2014.

Phil Beriault. A Participationist Approach to Philosophical Anarchism. September, 2014.

Peter Ferri. Overlapping Consensus, Public Reason, and the Possibility of Exclusion. September, 2016.

Shoshana Arielle Stirling. Political Cosmopolitanism: A Humanized and Socialized Account of Global Citizenship in Action. April, 2017.

Thomas Pierlot. Marx in the Colonies: The Case of India, April 2020.


Ethics & Public Affairs PhD Theses 

Joanne Clifford, Accountability, Empowerment, and the Ethics of Military Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Operations, 2022

Jon Courtney, Priorities for Canadian Development Assistance, 2022

Sophia Sideris, International Responsibilities for Climate Migrants, (in progress)