Dr. Amy Gutmann is an internationally renowned scholar whose research addresses some of the most salient issues in contemporary society, including democratic deliberation, religious freedom, equal opportunity, race and multiculturalism, education, health care, and ethics and public affairs. Please download Dr. Gutmann’s full CV (PDF), and visit the “Meet the President” page for her extended biography.

In 2012, Dr. Gutmann and Dennis Thompson, of Harvard, published The Spirit of Compromise: Why Governing Demands It and Campaigning Undermines It, arguing that uncompromising mindsets lead ultimately only to the preservation of the status quo. The authors demonstrate that it is not political partisanship—strong partisans in fact often are effective in the art of political compromise—but rather the advent of “the perpetual campaign cycle” that contributes most to political stasis.

Dr. Gutmann’s systematic analysis of the role of education was summarized in Democratic Education, published in 1987, and expanded in 1999. This book has been translated into a dozen languages, and is widely taught in schools of education and in liberal arts curricula throughout the world. Democratic Education began a scholarly debate on the democratic governance of schools, and informs arguments on school choice, school vouchers, parental authority in education, and education for citizenship. Democratic Education was also the touchstone both for Dr. Gutmann’s subsequent work on deliberative democracy and for the values that she has advanced as a scholar and University president: freedom, opportunity, and mutual respect.

Another major scholarly contribution by Dr. Gutmann was made in the field of political philosophy: She and Thompson developed the conceptual framework for deliberative democracy as well as many of its applications in contemporary democracies. In Democracy and Disagreement, widely seen as the definitive book on this approach to democratic theory, the authors proposed deliberation not as a panacea, but rather as an antidote and alternative to coarseness, intransigence, and extremism degrading politics and public discourse in America. In 2004, Dr. Gutmann and Thompson followed up with Why Deliberative Democracy?

Dr. Gutmann’s scholarship in practical ethics grew from her foundational work on deliberative democracy. Her case study textbook (authored with Thompson) Ethics and Politics: Cases and Comments (fourth edition, 2005) builds on a course in ethics and public policy that she taught for many years at Princeton, and her vision of how deliberative democracy can be applied to pressing matters in practical ethics, including bioethics.

Dr. Gutmann’s 2004 Identity in Democracy focused on “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of identity politics. Identity-group politics, Gutmann showed, is not aberrant but inescapable in democracies because identity groups represent who people are, not only what they want—and who people are shapes what they demand from democratic politics. Rather than trying to abolish identity politics, Gutmann called upon society to distinguish between those demands of identity groups that aid and those that impede justice. Her book does justice to identity groups, while recognizing that they cannot be counted upon to do likewise to others.

Color Conscious: The Political Morality of Race was co-written by Dr. Gutmann and K. Anthony Appiah and published in 1998. The duo cleared the ground for a discussion of the place of race in politics and in peoples’ moral lives. Provocative and insightful, their essays tackled different aspects of the question of racial justice; together they provided a compelling response to a vexing problem in the U.S. “Color Conscious is an extremely welcome addition to the discourse on race,” world-renowned writer and Nobel laureate Toni Morrison said. “In different but complementary ways, Appiah and Gutmann articulate with precision and subtlety those intricate issues of race that confound us all.”


The cover of 'Everybody Wants to go to Heaven But Nobody Wants to Die'

An eye-opening look at the inevitable moral choices that come along with tremendous medical progress, Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven but Nobody Wants to Die is a primer for all Americans to talk more honestly about health care.

See more selected books

Dr. Amy Gutmann Curriculum Vitae (57k PDF)

President Gutmann in the News

Paul Farmer is awarded the $1 million Berggruen Prize

The New York Times | 2020-12-16
President Amy Gutmann spoke about Paul Farmer, the recipient of the 2020 Berggruen Prize, for which Gutmann was juror. “Dr. Farmer’s call to improve public health systems is a matter not only of science but also of politics, economics, and ethics,” she said. “In this crisis, like the ones that preceded it, our knowledge far outpaces our will to put effective solutions into action.”

Russian-born Internet mogul Yuri Milner donates $10 million to Wharton for Israeli students

Philadelphia Inquirer | 2020-09-15
Yuri Milner is donating $10 million to the Wharton School to fund scholarships for Israeli students. “Yuri’s philanthropy has been as visionary as his distinguished business career. He is one of the founders of the acclaimed Breakthrough Prize, which recognizes pioneering achievements in the sciences,” said President Amy Gutmann.