Dr. D. (Dorota) Mokrosinska

  • Assistant Professor
  • Program Coordinator of the Center for Political Philosophy Colloquia Series
  • Political Philosophy
  • Ethics

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 8985
E-Mail: d.m.mokrosinska@hum.leidenuniv.nl
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Instituut voor Wijsbegeerte
Office Address: P.J. Vethgebouw
Nonnensteeg 1-3
2311 VJ Leiden
Room number T1.10

Fields of interest

  • Democratic theory
  • Secrecy and transparency in democratic politics
  • Political legitimacy
  • Political obligation
  • Privacy


Dorota Mokrosinska is a laureate of an ERC Starting Grant awarded by the European Research Council. She is the leader of the ERC StG project entitled “Democratic Secrecy: A Philosophical Study of the Role of Secrecy in Democratic Governance”. The project, running from 2015 to 2020, is funded by the European Research Council.

The starting hypothesis of the project is that secrecy is not always inimical to democratic governance as conventional wisdom has it. Whereas the importance of transparency seems undisputed, many feel that complete transparency would undermine effective functioning of governments, and that some degree of secrecy is needed. Take the public responses to the Wikileaks disclosures: many of the disclosures were assessed favorably, but few people defended the idea of total transparency that inspired them.

If both complete secrecy and complete transparency are to be rejected, what ratio of secrecy and transparency in democratic politics should we seek? For example, does democratic commitment to transparency require that classified intelligence programs or closed-door political bargaining be abolished? Democratic theory leaves such questions unanswered. This project develops a theory of democratic secrecy centered around two theses:

1. Secrecy in exercising executive and legislative power can be democratically authorized;
2. Secrecy protects the integrity of democratic decision-making processes;

To complement the theory, the project develops:

1. Criteria for establishing which trade-offs between claims of transparency and those of secrecy in politics are acceptable, and which are not;
2. Criteria for political accountability with regard to wielding political secrets;
3. Criteria for assessing responsibility for unauthorized disclosures by civil servants and the media.

Curriculum vitae

Dorota Mokrosinska obtained her PhD in philosophy (cum laude) from the University of Amsterdam. Her dissertation won the 2008 National Biennal Dissertation Prize awarded by the Dutch Research School in Ethics. With the Rubicon grant awarded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, she spent time as a Visiting Scholar at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. On her return to the Netherlands, she took up a Postdoctoral Research position at the University of Amsterdam. In Spring/Summer 2013 she was a Departmental Guest at the Department of Politics at Princeton University. In 2014/2015 she worked as a Research Associate at the Department of Political Science of the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main.

Key publications

Rethinking Political Obligation. Moral Principles, Communal Ties, Citizenship, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012

The book presents a fresh analysis of the most influential theories of political obligation and develops a novel approach to this foundational problem of political philosophy. The theory of political obligation developed in the book extends the scope of the contemporary debate on political obligation by arguing that political obligation can be binding even under the jurisdiction of unjust states. The arguments pursued in the book are illustrated with the results of sociological research concerning the reasons that governed people's attitudes to the authoritarian communist regimes in East Europe viz. communist Poland. The book provides the first detailed argument of how a theory of political obligation can apply to subjects of an unjust state.

Social Dimensions of Privacy: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (co-edited with B. Roessler), Cambridge University Press, 2015

Written by a select international group of leading privacy scholars, Social Dimensions of Privacy endorses and develops an innovative approach to privacy. By debating topical privacy cases in their specific research areas, the contributors explore the new privacy-sensitive areas: legal scholars and political theorists discuss the European and American approaches to privacy regulation; sociologists explore new forms of surveillance and privacy on social network sites; and philosophers revisit feminist critiques of privacy, discuss markets in personal data, issues of privacy in health care and democratic politics. The broad interdisciplinary character of the volume will be of interest to readers from a variety of scientific disciplines who are concerned with privacy and data protection issues.

Last Modified: 11-12-2015