Janos Kis, Global Distinguished Professor of Philosophy

Janos Kis

Co-founder and first chairman of Hungary’s liberal party, Janos Kis was a leading member of the democratic opposition to the former communist regime in Hungary. He earned his degree in Philosophy at the Loránd Eötvös University, Budapest (1967). From 1967 through 1973, he was a researcher at the Institute of Philosophy at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and was dismissed after co-authoring a critical interpretation of the Marxian conception of socialism. He returned to academia in 1991, and taught at the Central European University in Budapest. The courses he taught include Contemporary Political Philosophy, Theories of Justice, Political Obligation and Democratic Theory.

Professor Kis was Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the underground political review Beszélõ from 1981 to 1989. L’Égale Dignité, his book on the nature and justification of the claim of human rights, appeared originally in the underground press (Le Seuil, 1989). He worked as a freelance translator, and his translations include treatises of Rousseau, The Vocation of Man by Fichte, and Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. Since his return to academia, he published many articles and books on political theory, including Political Neutrality and Constitutional Democracy. His latest book, Politics as a Moral Problem is forthcoming from the Central European University Press.

Although he is now out of politics for 15 years, Professor Kis continues to play a role as a public intellectual defending the liberal position on many controversial issues such as woman’s right to abortion, assisted suicide, freedom of expression and of assembly, separation of state and church, the issue of national minorities, and the war in Iraq.

Updated on 01/17/2012