Dr Martin O’Neill
Senior Lecturer



Martin O’Neill works on a number of topics in moral and political philosophy. He is especially interested in equality and social justice, freedom and responsibility, and a number of issues at the intersection of political philosophy and public policy (including taxation, financial regulation, corporate governance, labour unions, insurance, climate change, the welfare state, education and health).

Martin is currently (2013-14) on research leave, funded by the Institute for New Economic Thinking, undertaking a research project on "The Significance of Inequality: from Economics to Philosophy".

His collection on Property-Owning Democracy: Rawls and Beyond, co-edited with Thad Williamson (University of Richmond, Virginia), was published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2012. Another collection, on Taxation and Political Philosophy, co-edited with Shepley Orr (UCL), is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

His personal webpage is here: http://bit.ly/martin_oneill

His academia.edu page is here: http://bit.ly/ae-mpon

His Google scholar page is here: http://bit.ly/gs-mpon

His PhilPapers page is here: http://bit.ly/pp-mpon


Before coming to York in January 2010, Martin was Hallsworth Research Fellow in Political Economy, based in the Manchester Centre for Political Theory (MANCEPT) at the University of Manchester (2007-09). Before that, he was Research Fellow in Philosophy and Politics at St John’s College, University of Cambridge (2004-07), and Director of Studies in Philosophy at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He holds a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) and a B.Phil. in Philosophy, both from Balliol College, University of Oxford. Martin wrote his Ph.D. dissertation, on “Freedom, Fairness and Responsibility”, under the supervision of T.M. Scanlon and Derek Parfit, in the Department of Philosophy at Harvard University (where he was awarded the Emily & Charles Carrier Prize in Social, Political and Moral Philosophy, and twice received the Francis Bowen Prize for Moral and Political Philosophy).

Martin has been a Graduate Fellow in Ethics at the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government; a Graduate Fellow in the Program on Justice, Welfare and Economics at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; and a Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. He has also been a Visiting Hoover Fellow in Economic and Social Ethics at the Chaire Hoover d'éthique économique et sociale at the Université catholique de Louvain in Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium), where he spent Spring 2009.



Martin’s research is primarily in moral and political philosophy.

His topics of special interest include: 

  • normative dimensions of a variety of issues in public policy - especially taxation, financial regulation, corporate governance, workplace democracy, labour policy, welfare state regimes, climate change, health policy and education;
  • theories of equality and social justice, including global justice and intergenerational justice;
  • liberty, autonomy, choice and responsibility;
  • the political philosophies of John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin, G. A. Cohen, Thomas Nagel and T. M. Scanlon.



Martin very much welcomes enquiries from prospective PhD students interested in any of the above topics, or interested in working on related areas of moral, political and legal philosophy.

Martin’s current research students are:

(As primary supervisor)

Michael Bennett, working on economic democracy

Juliana Bidadanure, working on basic income and justice between generations

(As secondary supervisor)

Adam Fusco, working on republicanism, self-determination and seccession

James Hodgson, working on realism, power and deliberative democracy

Elizabeth Kahn, working on global justice (PhD successfully defended Sept 2012; currently post-doc at Goethe-University Frankfurt, for 2013-14)

External activities

Editorial duties

Martin is a Commissioning Editor of Renewal: A Journal of Social Democracy (Lawrence & Wishart) (Renewal website here).

Martin has acted as a reviewer of book proposals and/or manuscripts for Cambridge University Press; Columbia University Press; Continuum; Oxford University Press; Palgrave Macmillan; Polity Press; Routledge; and Wiley-Blackwell.

He has acted as a referee for article submissions for (inter alia) the American Political Science Review; Australasian Journal of Philosophy; British Journal for the History of Philosophy; British Journal of American Legal Studies; Business Ethics Quarterly; Canadian Journal of Philosophy; Crítica Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía; Ethical Perspectives; Ethical Theory and Moral Practice; Ethics; Ethics and International Affairs; European Journal of Philosophy; European Journal of Political Theory; Journal of Applied Philosophy; Journal of Moral Philosophy; Journal of Political Philosophy; Locke Studies; Mind; Pacific Philosophical Quarterly; Philosophical Papers; Philosophical Quarterly; Philosophical Studies; Political Studies; Politics, Philosophy and Economics; Public Reason; Res Publica; Social Theory and Practice; Socialist Studies/Études Socialistes; Southern Journal of Philosophy; and Theoria.

External Examining

Martin has acted as an external examiner for Ph.D. degrees in Philosophy for the Universities of Melbourne, the University of Cambridge, the University of Sheffield, and University College Cork, in Politics for the University of Manchester, in Law for the University of Essex, and for the M.St. in Law at the University of Oxford.

He is currently (2011-14) external examiner for the various M.Sc. programmes of the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method at the London School of Economics.

Invited talks and conferences

Martin has given invited lectures and papers at a variety of conferences and University departments in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Ireland, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia and China.

Media coverage

Martin has written for non-academic audiences for a variety of publications, including the New Statesman (articles here), The Guardian (articles here), The Big Issue, and Tax Justice Focus.

His media appearances include discussing the politics and ethics of tax avoidance on BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours, as an 'expert witness' on rules, regulation and individual virtue for BBC Radio 4's The Moral Maze, and debating the politics of national holidays on the BBC World Service’s Europe Today.

Martin’s occasional tweets (@martin_oneill) can be found here, and his public bitly timeline, with various links, is here.

Martin O’Neill

Contact details

Dr Martin O'Neill
Department of Politics
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 323546




  • Contemporary Political Philosophy
  • The Idea of Liberty
  • Global Justice


  • Ethics and World Politics
  • Contemporary Political Philosophy
  • Political Research and Analysis

Feedback and Guidance hours for this term - n/a on research leave