Nomos: American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy

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NOMOS: American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy includes the Nomos series, launched in 1958 by the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy (ASPLP). This highly regarded series includes scholarly works from some of the most distinguished and accomplished scholars in political and legal philosophy. It is discoverable in the Law Journal Library with a two-year embargo, or from your HeinOnline homepage and its own collection.


In 1958, Harvard University Press published the first volume of NOMOS, the yearbook of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy. Nomos, from Ancient Greek, stands for the body of law governing human behavior, or the “spirit of the law” in Greek mythology.

Edited by Carl Friedrich, and entitled Authority, it began a series of annual volumes published or currently in production. These thematic collections have been staples of political and legal philosophical scholarship and, in many cases, have become the first place for scholars to turn to for any given theme. The essays continue to be a valuable resource for interdisciplinary research and undergraduate and graduate education.

NOMOS has published work by some of the leading political and legal theorists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, from a wide range of ideological and methodological perspectives. Notable authors include Danielle Allen, Hannah Arendt, Isaiah Berlin, Jon Elster, Richard Epstein, Lon Fuller, Jean Hampton, Catharine MacKinnon, Frank I. Michelman, Robert Nozick, Martha Nussbaum, Richard Posner, John Rawls, Nancy L. Rosenblum, Judith Shklar, Cass Sunstein, Jeremy Waldron, Michael Walzer, Sheldon Wolin, and Iris Marion Young.

Over the years, the General Editors of NOMOS have been:

  • Carl J. Friedrich, volumes I-VIII
  • J. Roland Pennock, IX-XXXI, and John W. Chapman, volumes IX- XXXV
  • Ian Shapiro, volumes XXXV- XLII
  • Stephen Macedo, volumes XLII-XLVI
  • Sanford Levinson, volumes, LII, LIV, LVI
  • James E. Fleming, volumes, L, LII-LIII, LV
  • Jack Knight, volumes LVII-LXI
  • Melissa Schwartzberg, volumes LVIII, LX-LXV

The American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy (ASPLP) is a learned society founded in 1955 by political theorist Carl Friedrich. Its aim is to bring together scholars in political science, law, and philosophy who are interested in interdisciplinary exploration of a range of problems in political and legal philosophy. The ASPLP’s main activities are to hold an annual conference, on a topic chosen in advance by the membership, and to publish the papers, along with formal commentary and invited additional essays, in NOMOS, its yearbook. As Friedrich explained in the Preface to Authority, the first yearbook: “We are calling the series NOMOS, which is the broadest Greek term for law, because in this term there are also traditionally comprised the notions of a basic political order and of customs and a way of life.” He continued: “It describes reasonably well, and perhaps better than any term of modern English, what must be the focus of a society such as ours, uniting the several social sciences, law, and philosophy.” That commitment to interdisciplinary normative inquiry has characterized the ASPLP and the NOMOS series ever since.

Using the Database

Within the NOMOS database, users can utilize the search bar listed above the volumes or the Full Text tab for searching. For example, if you were researching pluralism in relation to religion, you could plug in the world pluralism into the search bar.

From the results page, choose religion from the Topics facet on the left.

Use the available MyHein options to organize your research or email selected results to a friend or colleague.

Select an article to download it or view various citations formats. Be sure to check out the More Like This option, where we use natural language processing and machine learning tools to provide you with similar articles.

NOTE: Volumes 7-16 are available as indexing only, pending licensing.

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