Derrick Darby

Derrick Darby

Professor of Law
Professor of Philosophy
501 Green Hall

Derrick Darby, professor of law and philosophy, holds a joint appointment in the School of Law and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Kansas. He received a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh. His work on rights, race, inequality, and social justice connects philosophy with law, social science, and public policy. In addition to his numerous scholarly articles in a wide range of venues, he is the author of "Rights, Race, and Recognition" (2009) and the coeditor of "Hip Hop and Philosophy: Rhyme 2 Reason" (2005). The Spencer Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities have funded his research, and he received a KU Scholarly Achievement Award in 2011. He taught previously at Northwestern University and Texas A&M University, and has been a visiting professor of philosophy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He has collaborated with scholars in economics, sociology, psychology, history, and various professional schools. He is currently working on a coauthored book on why the origins of the racial achievement gap matter for theory and practice.

Courses Taught:
  • Topics in Law and Philosophy
  • Race and Law
  • Education and Law
  • Inequality and Law


Representative Publications

"Rights, Race, and Recognition" (Cambridge University Press 2009); "Hip Hop and Philosophy: Rhyme 2 Reason," coedited with Tommie Shelby (Chicago: Open Court Publishing 2005)

"Adequacy, Inequality, and Cash for Grades," Theory and Research in Education 9 (2011): 209-232; "Slaying the Inequality Villain in School Finance: Is the Right to Education the Silver Bullet?" (with Richard Levy), Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy 20 (2011): 351-387; "Educational Inequality and Affirmative Action in Brazil," Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice 22 (2010): 408-415; "Reparations and Racial Inequality," Philosophy Compass 5 (2010): 55-66; "Educational Inequality and the Science of Diversity in Grutter: A Lesson for the Reparations Debate in the Age of Obama," University of Kansas Law Review 57 (2009): 755-793; "Blacks and Rights: A Bittersweet Legacy," Law, Culture, and the Humanities 2 (2006): 420-439; "Unnatural Rights," Canadian Journal of Philosophy 33 (2003): 49-82; "Grounding Rights in Social Practices: A Defence," Res Publica 9 (2003): 1-18

Representative Presentations
"The As If Challenge to Racial Medicine,” University of Michigan, Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine (April 2013); “Colorblind Justice and Desegregation in Post-Racial America,” University of Michigan, Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program (April 2013); "Right, Race, and Recognition," Author Meets Critics Session, Eastern Division American Philosophical Association Meeting, Atlanta (December 2012); “How Not to Attack Luck Egalitarianism,” University of Torcuato Di Tella, School of Law, Buenos Aires (December 2012); “Egalitarianism and Perceptions of Injustice” with Nyla Branscombe, invited participant, Rethinking Inequality Workshop, University of Ottawa (November 2012); “The Source and Value of Human Rights,” invited participant, Rights Conference, University of New South Wales (August 2012); “Equality of What? A Conversation between Philosophers and Economists,” invited plenary speaker, World Bank Conference on Equity, World Bank Headquarters, Washington, D.C. (June 2012); "How Not to Attack Luck Egalitarianism,” Columbia University, Philosophy Department (May 2012); “The Experience of Moral Rights,” University of Amsterdam, Philosophy Department (March 2012); keynote address, Governor’s MLK Day Celebration for the State of Kansas, Topeka High School, Topeka (January 2012); “Reparations and Racial Inequality in the U.S.,” University of Hawaii, Manoa, invited plenary, East-West Philosophers’ Conference (May 2011); “Do Lawyers Know Enough? Complex Problems and the Need for Multidisciplinarity,” Shook, Hardy & Bacon, invited luncheon speaker, Kansas City, MO (April 2011); “Educational Inequality and Justice: Law, Philosophy, and Public Policy,” invited speaker, School of the Magistrates of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (March 2011); "Racial Inequalities in Education Post-Brown: A Brief Against Choice-Sensitive Egalitarianism,” Inequalities in the World System International Symposium, São Paulo, Brazil (September 2009).

Research Interests
Political philosophy, race, inequality, social justice.

Ph.D., philosophy, Pittsburgh, 1996; B.A., philosophy, Colgate, 1988.

Career History
Visiting Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Virginia, 1994-1995; Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Northwestern University, 1996-2004; Associate Professor of Philosophy, Texas A&M University, 2005-2007; Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Kansas, 2007-2012; Affiliated Faculty, School of Law, University of Kansas, 2007-2012; Affiliated Faculty, Institute for Policy & Social Research, University of Kansas, 2008-current; Professor of Philosophy, University of Kansas, 2012-present; Professor of Law, University of Kansas, 2013-present; Visiting Professor of Philosophy, University of Michigan, Winter 2013.

Why KU
  • One-third of full-time faculty have written casebooks used at U.S. law schools
  • 2 KU law faculty were U.S. Supreme Court clerks
  • KU’s Project for Innocence: 28 conviction reversals since 2009
  • 7,300+ alumni live in all 50 states and 18 foreign countries
  • Routinely ranked a “best value” law school
  • 12 interdisciplinary joint degrees
  • 26th nationwide for lowest debt at graduation. — U.S. News & World Report
  • 23rd nationally among public law schools. “When Lawyers Do the Grading,”
    —U.S. News & World Report
  • 70 percent of upper-level law classes have 25 or fewer students
  • 37th: for number of law graduates who are partners at nation’s largest law firms