Arudra V. Burra

Visiting Associate Fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi

Graduate Associates

 Centre for the Study of Developing Societies<br />29 Rajpur Road<br />Delhi 110 054<br />India

 Curriculum Vitae

I studied philosophy, mathematics, and computer science at Brandeis University (2000), earned a JD from the Yale Law School (2007), and completed my PhD in Philosophy from Princeton University in 2011. My philosophical interests are mainly in moral, political, and legal philosophy, but include epistemology, ancient philosophy, and the philosophy of science. 

In my dissertation, "Coercion, Deception, Consent: Essays in Moral Explanation," I examined these three concepts and their role in our moral and legal thought. What is it to coerce or deceive another person, and what explains why it is wrong to do so, or why agreements induced by coercion or deception are invalid? Why is consent a matter of fundamental moral importance, and what are the conditions under which consent can count as valid?

I am also interested in comparative law and legal history -- especially questions relating to the ways in which laws laws and legal institutions are able to survive very drastic changes in the political regimes that support them. I am particularly interested in the specific case of Indian independence from British colonial rule in 1947.

I was actively involved for many years with the Right to Food Campaign, an informal network of groups and individuals committed in various ways to realizing the right to food in India. The Campaign played a key role in the enactment of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the world's largest public works program. Another notable success was the introduction of cooked mid-day meals in all primary schools in the country following a Supreme Court order of April 2004 in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in which the Campaign is involved.

I am also a member of the Law and Social Sciences Research Network, an attempt to bring together activists and academics with shared or overlapping interests relating to the law in South Asia. I created and managed the website for the first and second LASSNet Conferences, held in New Delhi in January 2009 and in Pune in December 2010.




1. The cobwebs of imperial rule (Seminar 615, "We the People," November 2010)

2.The Indian Civil Service and the nationalist movement: neutrality, politics and continuity (Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics 48:4, 2010) [special issue on Politics and Administration in India in Comparative Perspective: Essays in honour of David Potter]


1. Arguments from Colonial Continuity: The Constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1951 [draft, December 2008]

2. The Indian Civil Service and the Raj: 1919-1950 [draft, February 2007]



1. The Folk Concepts of Intention and Intentional Action: A Cross-Cultural Study (with Joshua Knobe, Journal of Cognition and Culture 6:1-2, 2006) [special issue on Folk Conceptions of Mind, Agency and Morality]

2. Experimental Philosophy and Folk Concepts: Methodological Considerations (with Joshua Knobe, Journal of Cognition and Culture 6:1-2, 2006) [reply to comments]

Drafts (please email me for copies)

1. Coercion and Moral Explanation [draft, June 2012]

2. The Significance of Consent [draft, October 2011]

3. Deception and the Structure of Moral Principles [draft, November 2010]