Mathilde Cohen

Associate Professor of Law and Robert D. Glass Scholar
Professor Cohen headshot.
Office: Hosmer 207
  • Jurisprudence
  • Courts and Judges
  • Comparative and European Law

Mathilde Cohen is a legal scholar working in the field of legal philosophy, constitutional theory, and comparative law. Professor Cohen’s work examines the omnipresence of reason-giving as a recurring theme in everyday encounters with the law and in academic discourse. Specifically, she challenges the case for reason-giving according to which justifying legal decisions invariably represents a desirable progress in the realm of public action. Her methodology combines democratic theory with comparative and qualitative empirical approaches.

Currently, Professor Cohen is studying the way in which supreme courts in the U.S. and Europe make and justify their decisions, research that is being supported with a grant from “Droit et Justice,” the French Ministry of Justice’s research unit. Her article, “The Rule of Law as the Rule of Reasons,” earned her the IVR Young Scholar Prize at the 2009 World Congress of Philosophy of Law.

A graduate of the École Normale Supérieure and the Sorbonne in Paris, where she received undergraduate and graduate degrees in law and philosophy, Professor Cohen earned her LL.M. and doctorate as a Fulbright Scholar at Columbia University School of Law. While at Columbia, she was named a James Kent Scholar and served as the head articles editor for the Columbia Journal of European Law. Before joining the Law School faculty in 2012, Professor Cohen was an associate-in-law at Columbia Law and a research fellow at the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.

Mathilde Cohen, The Social Epistemology of Public Institutions in New Waves in Philosophy of Law 185 (Maksymilian del Mar, ed., Palgrave Macmillan, 2011)

Mathilde Cohen, Reasons for Reasons in Approaches to Legal Rationality 119 (Logic, Epistemology, and the Unity of Science Springer Series Vol. 20) (Dov M. Gabbay et al, eds., 2010)

Mathilde Cohen, Sincerity and Reason Giving: When May Legal Decision-Makers Lie?, 59 DePaul L. Rev. 1091 (2010)

Mathilde Cohen, The Rule of Law as the Rule of Reasons, 96 Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie 1 (2010)

Mathilde Cohen, Reason Giving in Court Practice: Decision-Makers at the Crossroads, 14 Colum. J. Eur. L. 257 (2008)