Alec D. Walen


Professor of Philosophy and Law

Undergraduate Director for Program in Criminal Justice


Lucy Stone Hall, Room A362

Livingston Campus



Office Hours: By Appointment Only


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Dr. Alec Walen is the Undergraduate Director of the Program in Criminal Justice, as well as a Professor of Law in Rutgers School of Law, and a Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University--New Brunswick. He earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1998, he was a Graduate Fellow in the Harvard Program in Ethics Professions from 1996-1997, and he earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy from University of Pittsburgh in 1993. He has recently taught courses in criminal law, homeland security, counterterrorism law, and constitutional law, and he specializes in criminal law, constitutional law, jurisprudence, and national security/counterterrorism law.

Prior to joining the faculty at Rutgers, Walen was a research scholar at the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at the University of Maryland, during which time he taught both law courses (constitutional and national security law) and an interdisciplinary graduate course under the auspices of the Committed for Politics, Philosophy, and Public Policy. He has also taught at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, Aachen University in Germany, the University of Baltimore, Harvard University, and Lafayette College.

Walen won a National Melon Fellowship in the Humanities during his time at the University of Pittsburgh. He clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner (1998-1999), and worked for the D.C. office of what was then known at the law firm Mayer, Brown and Platt (1999-2000).

His academic work has ranged from topics in moral philosophy, constitutional law, national security law, and criminal law. He has published in a number of journals, including: the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Criminal Law and Philosophy, Law and Philosophy, Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs, the Journal of Value Inquiry, the International Journal of Constitutional Law, Constitutional Commentary, Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly, and a range of law reviews. Some of his publications include: “Wrongdoing Without Motives: Why Tadros is Wrong about Wrongdoing and Motivation” in Law and Philosophy (2012); ”Agents, Impartiality, and the Priority of Claims over Duties: Diagnosing Why Thomson Still Gets the Trolley Problem Wrong by Appeals to the ‘Mechanics of Claims’” in Journal of Moral Philosophy (2012); “A Punitive Precondition for Preventive Detention: Lost Status as an Element of Just Punishment” in San Diego Law Review (2011); “Criminalizing Statements of Terrorist Intent: How to Understand the Law Governing Terrorist Threats and Why It Should be Used Instead of Long-Term Preventive Detention” in Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (2011); and “A Unified Theory of Detention with Application to Preventive Detention for Suspected Terrorists” in Maryland Law Review (2011). His current projects can be grouped under two headings: (1) a liberal account of when detention is justifiable, and (2) an examination of rights, intentions, and permissibility.

Education Areas of Specialization
  • Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh (Philosophy)
  • J.D. Harvard Law School
  • Criminal Law
  • Counterterrorism Law
  • National Security Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • Moral Philosophy
  • Jurisprudence



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Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Lucy Stone Hall, Rm. A345
54 Joyce Kilmer Avenue
Piscataway, NJ 08854Front Page LSH

Advisor: 848-445-1170
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