Rex Martin received his B.A. degree, in History, from Rice University (in Houston, Texas) and his M.A. and Ph.D., in Philosophy, from Columbia University (in New York City). He also studied at New College, the University of Edinburgh (Scotland), for a year under a grant from the Society for Religion in Higher Education.
He has held a number of visiting teaching positions, independent research fellowships, and fellowships at research centers, most recently at the National Humanities Center (William C. and Ida Friday Senior Fellow, 2004-2005) and as a visiting fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (during April and May of 2008).
Martin retired at the end of May, 2009 from the University of Kansas, in Lawrence, where he had been for many years; he is now Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, there. For six years (1994-2000) he held, jointly with his position in the U.S., appointment as Professor of Political Theory and Government in the University of Wales Swansea, and was a Professorial Fellow at the Collingwood Centre there. He continues his academic connections with Britain as an Honorary Professor in Politics and International Affairs in the School of Law and Politics at Cardiff University and, in June 2005, was a Distinguished Visiting Professorial Fellow at Cardiff.
He has been active in the International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy (IVR) and was a member of the IVR Executive Committee, 1991-2003, and Vice President, 1995-2003. He was President of the American Section of IVR in 1993-1995. He also served as Chair of the American Philosophical Association's Committee on Philosophy and Law during that same period, 1992-1995.
His fields of major interest are political and legal philosophy (in particular rights, and economic justice), history of political thought, and philosophy of history. He is the author of articles in these fields as well as of three books: Historical Explanation: Re-enactment and Practical Inference (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1977; in Chinese translation, 2005), Rawls and Rights (Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 1985; in paper 1986), and A System of Rights (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993, in paper 1997; in Spanish translation, 2001). He and Mark Singer were the editors of G. C. MacCallum, Legislative Intent, and Other Essays on Law, Politics and Morality (Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1993). Martin edited the revised edition of R. G. Collingwood's Essay on Metaphysics for the Clarendon Press of Oxford University Press (1998, 2002 in paper). And, most recently, he and David Reidy were the editors of Rawls's Law of Peoples: A Realistic Utopia? Oxford: Blackwell, 2006.