Francis J. Beckwith

Professor of Philosophy (Department of Philosophy), and Affiliate Professor of Political Science


B.A., University of Nevada, Las Vegas
M.A., Simon Greenleaf University
M.A., Fordham University
Ph.D., Fordham University

M.J.S., School of Law, Washington University (St. Louis)


Francis J. Beckwith is a philosopher who teaches and writes in the areas of law, politics, ethics, and religion. Among the courses he frequently teaches at Baylor are Law and Religion in the United States (PSC 3339), Philosophy and Constitutional Issues (PHI 3318), Philosophy of Law (PHI 4318), and Contemporary Moral Problems (PHI 1308).

He is the author of over 100 academic articles, book chapters, reference entries, and reviews. Among his over twenty books are Politics for Christians: Statecraft as Soulcraft (InterVarsity Press, 2010), Never Doubt Thomas: The Catholic Aquinas as Evangelical and Protestant (Baylor University Press, 2019), Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice (Cambridge University Press, 2007) and Taking Rites Seriously: Law, Politics, and the Reasonableness of Faith (Cambridge University Press, 2015), winner of the American Academy of Religion’s prestigious 2016 Book Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in Constructive-Reflective Studies.

The 2016-2017 Visiting Professor of Conservative Thought and Policy at the University of Colorado, Boulder, he has also served as the 2008-09 Mary Ann Remick Senior Visiting Fellow in the de Nicola Center for Ethics & Culture at the University of Notre Dame, and as a 2002-03 Visiting Research Fellow in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions in the Department of Politics at Princeton University.

Here is a select list of some of his articles and book contributions:

  • “Moral Status and the Architects of Principlism” (with Allison Thornton). Journal of Medicine & Philosophy 45.4-5 (2020): 504-520
  • “Thomas Aquinas: Defending Reason and Faith” (with Shawn Floyd). A History of Apologetics: Biographical and Methodological Introductions.  Edited by Benjamin Kelly Forrest, Joshua D. Chatraw, and Alister McGrath. New York: Harper Collins, 2020. Pp. 231-250. 
  • “Gotta Serve Somebody?: Religious Liberty, Freedom of Conscience, and Religion as Comprehensive Doctrine,” Studies in Christian Ethics  33.2 (2020): 168-178 
  • “Now, I’m Liberal, But to a Degree: An Essay on Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination,” Cleveland State Law Review 67.2 (2019): 141-172.
  • “Or We Can Be Philosophers: A Response to Barbara Forrest.” Synthese 192, Supplement 1 (December 2015): 3-25.
  • ”Does Judith Jarvis Thomson Really Grant the Prolife View of Fetal Personhood in Her Defense of Abortion?: A Rawlsian Assessment." International Philosophical Quarterly 54.4 (December 2014): 443-451
  • “Justificatory Liberalism and Same-Sex Marriage.” Ratio Juris: An International Journal of Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law 26.4 (December 2013): 487-509.
  • “Potentials and Burdens: A Reply to Giubilini and Minerva.” Journal of Medical Ethics 39.5 (May 2013): 341-344.
  • Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties. Edited by Paul Finkelman. New York: Routledge. Pp. 397-98, 480-82, 511-12, 1174-75. Entries: (a) “Dawson, Joseph Martin”; (b) Edwards v. Aguillard (1987); (c) Epperson v. Arkansas (1968); and (d) Planned Parenthood v. Casey, (1992).
  • “Taking Theology Seriously: The Status of the Religious Beliefs of Judicial Nominee for the Federal Bench.” Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics, & Public Policy20.1 (2006): 455-71
  • “Gimme That Ol’ Time Separation: A Review Essay of Separation of Church and State by Philip Hamburger.” Chapman Law Review 8.1 (2005): 109-27.
  • "Thomson's `Equal Reasonableness' Argument for Abortion Rights: A Critique.” American Journal of Jurisprudence 49 (2004): 118-34.
  • "Cloning and Reproductive Liberty." Nevada Law Journal 3.1 (Fall 2002): 61-87.
  • "The `Nobody Deserves His or Her Talents Argument for Affirmative Action’: A Critical Analysis.” Social Theory and Practice vol. 25, no. 1 (Spring 1999)
  • "The Ethics of Referral Kickbacks and Self-Referral and the HMO Physician as Gatekeeper: An Ethical Analysis." Journal of Social Philosophy 28.3 (Winter 1996): 41-48.
  • "Pluralism, Tolerance, and Abortion Rights." In Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Political Issues, 9th edition, eds. George McKenna and Stanley Feingold. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1995. Pp. 272-277.
  • "The Epistemology of Political Correctness." Public Affairs Quarterly vol. 8, no. 4 (October 1994): 331-340.

To find out more about Professor Beckwith and his research and teaching, go to his personal webpage: Francis Beckwith.

Department of Political Science

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