Massimo Renzo

Massimo Renzo

Professor of Politics, Philosophy and Law, Dr

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Personal profile

Research interests

Professor Renzo works primarily in legal and political philosophy. His main research interests are in the following four areas:

  1. Political authority, with a focus on the questions of what justifies the right of states to create and enforce moral obligations, as well as to claim control over certain territories and their natural resources; the question of the relationship between political authority and practical reasoning; the questions of justified disobedience and conscientious objection. 
  2. Just war, with a focus on the question of what justifies lability to be killed in war; the question of whether there can be a duty to obey an order to fight an unjust war; the question of the justification of humanitarian intervention and of wars fought in order to protect political goods. 
  3. Philosophy of the criminal law, with a focus on the question of the philosophical foundations of self-defence and complicity; the question of how we should understand the authority of international criminal law; the question of the justification and the limits of criminalization.
  4. Human Rights, with a focus on the questions of how we should conceptualize human rights and of what justifies their existence.

Professor Renzo is happy to supervise students working in any of these areas.



  • Jurisprudence
  • Authority & Democracy
  • Harms & Wrongs

Biographical details

Massimo Renzo is Professor of Politics, Philosophy & Law at King’s College London. He has held visiting appointments at the Australian National University, the universities of Virginia and Arizona, the Murphy Institute, the National University of Singapore and the Nathanson Centre for Transnational Human Rights, Crime & Security.  He is an affiliated researcher at the Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War & Peace and the Honorary Secretary of the Society for Applied Philosophy.

He is also one of the editors of the journal Criminal Law & Philosophy. He works primarily in legal and political philosophy. His main research interests are in the problems of political authority, international justice and the philosophical foundations of the criminal law.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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