Silviya Lechner, Ph.D.

Chair of the Department of Political Science, Senior Lecturer International Relations & Diplomacy

Letenská 5, Prague 1


Dr. Silviya Lechner is a political theorist with parallel interests in the foundations of international ethics and international law, and the philosophy of social science (social practices, interpretation, language, and action). Within political theory, she draws inspiration from Hobbes, Kant, and Michael Oakeshott and their conceptions of the modern state, justice, and public reason. Recently she completed a book on practice theory and international relations (with Mervyn Frost, Cambridge 2018) as well as a single-authored monograph on Hobbes, which interprets him as a philosopher of right (Palgrave 2019). Lechner holds a Ph.D. from the University of Aberystwyth (Wales) and a visiting senior research fellowship at King’s College London, UK.

Currently, she is working on two projects. The first began its life under the auspices of SCRIPTS (Contestations of the Liberal Script) Center of Excellence at the Free University Berlin. The central question it addresses is whether states can have responsibilities in a global public realm, an idea traceable to Kant’s theory of international right. The proposal is to examine the tensions between public authorities (states) and private authorities (private networks, private military companies, transborder functional regimes) in the global realm from the normative standpoint of responsibility and by moving away from conventional accounts of legitimacy.

The second project, supported by the IREF institute, sets out to elucidate the relationship between trust, government, and technology. Its point of departure is the rise of social credit systems which are technologically advanced but radically depoliticized. As a new form of social organization, they threaten to undermine the bond of trust formed between the citizenry and publicly authorized rulers. This line of argument reflects Lechner’s interest in the ethics of technology and critiques of late modernity voiced by first-generation Critical Theory (Adorno).

Publications & Other Activities

Monographs and Special Issues

Silviya Lechner, Hobbesian Internationalism: Anarchy, Authority and the Fate of Political Philosophy.  Palgrave 2019

  • Book colloquium, European Hobbes Society, May-June 2020
  • Nomination for ECPR political theory prize, Jan 2021                   

Silviya Lechner and Mervyn Frost, Practice Theory and International Relations. Cambridge University Press, 2018  

  • Nominated for Susan Strange Award by Cambridge University Press (March 2019)
  • Nominated for Yale Ferguson Award by Cambridge University Press (April 2019)
  • Nominated for the ISA Theory Award by Cambridge University Press (June 2019)
  • Authors meet critics session, ISA, Toronto March 27, 2019
  • Special Issue of Global Constitutionalism, March 2020

Special Issue, Zeitschrift für Politische Theorie (Journal of Political Theory): The State of Nature between Context and Construction: On the Methodological Conditions of Political Theorising (organized with Oliver Eberl, Hannover). March 2022 – October 2022


  • ‘Anarchy in International Relations’, second revised edition, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of International Studies, ed. Renée Marlin-Bennett, Feb 2022. 
  • ‘Response to Critics of Practice Theory and International Relations‘ (with Mervyn Frost), Global Constitutionalism Vol. 9 No 1, 2020, pp. 220-239.
  • ‘War and the Morality of Risk’, St. Andrews’s International Review – Oxford, Vol. 14, No 2, 2019, pp. 37-57.
  • ‘Why Anarchy Still Matters for International Relations: On Theories and Things’, Journal of International Political Theory Vol. 13, No 3, 2017, pp. 341-359.
  • ‘Anarchy in International Relations’, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of International Studies, ed. Renée Marlin-Bennett, 2017. 
  • ‘Understanding International Practices from the Internal Point of View’ (with Mervyn Frost),  Journal of International Political Theory Vol. 12, No 3, 2016, pp. 299–319.
  • ‘Two Conceptions of International Practice: Aristotelian Praxis or Wittgensteinian Language-Games?’ (with Mervyn Frost) Review of International Studies Vol 42, No 2, 2016, pp. 334-350.
  • ‘Why Moral Bio enhancement is a Bad Idea and Why Egalitarianism Would Make it Worse’, American Journal of Bioethics Vol. 14, No. 4, 2014, pp. 31-32.
  • ‘Humanitarian Intervention: Moralism vs. Realism?’, International Studies Review, Vol. 12, No 3, 2010,  pp. 437–443. 
  • ‘Neuroscience: On Practices, Truth and Rationality’, American Journal of Bioethics: Neuroscience Vol. 1, No. 4, 2010, pp. 57-58. 
  • ‘Equality, Authority, and the Locus of International Order’, Research Papers on Constitutionalism and Governance Beyond the State [Currently, Global Constitutionalism], Jan. 2007, University of Hamburg.
  • ‘What Difference does Ius Inter Gentes Make? Changing Diplomatic Rights and Duties and the Modern European States-System,’ The Hague Journal of Diplomacy Vol. 1, No. 3, 2006, pp. 235-259.

Book Chapters

  • ‘Sovereignty and the Rise of the Modern State’, in Handbook of International Political Theory,  eds. Howard Williams, David Boucher, David Reidy, and Peter Sutch, Palgrave 2022, forthcoming.
  • ‘Poststructuralism and Postmodernism in International Relations’, in Theories of International Relations. Vol. 2, ed. Atanas Gotchev, Evgenia Vassileva, Boyan Hadgiev. Sofia: Albatross, Dec 2021.
  • Constructivism’, in Theories of International Relations. Vol. 2, ed. Atanas Gotchev, Evgenia Vassileva, Boyan Hadgiev. Sofia: Albatross, Dec 2021.
  • ‘Morality and History in Oakeshott’s System of Ideas,’ in Michael Henkel and Oliver Lembcke (eds.) Praxis und Politik -Michael Oakeshott im Dialog (Mohr Siebeck, 2013), pp. 77-94.
  • ‘Basic Rights and Global Justice: The Problem of International Coercion’, in Matthew Happold (ed.) International Law in a Multipolar World (London and New York: Routledge 2012), pp. 158-178. 

Book Reviews

  • ‘Wood’s Kantian Ethics: A Hermeneutics of Freedom’, Kantian Review Vol. 16, No 1, 2011, pp. 141-150.
  • ‘Kant’s System of Nature and Freedom: Selected Essays by Paul Guyer’, Kantian Review Vol. 13, No 2  2008, pp. 146-150.

Online contributions