Our political and legal philosophers are interested in both the history of political and legal thought as well as contemporary issues.

We have a particular interest in the question of how to move from abstract political ideals to concrete policy proposals. We have strong links with think tanks and policymakers, advising on how to organise institutional structures to best achieve social egalitarian ideals.

Our staff are members of the York Centre for Political Theory and we have close links with colleagues in the Departments of Law, Politics, and Economics, as well as the School of Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

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Dr Martin O'Neill

Project spotlights

We have recently received funding from the Independent Social Research Foundation to fund two research fellowship projects:


  • Dr Hannah Carnegy-Arbuthnott
  • Social and political philosophy, especially liberalism and libertarianism, self-ownership, property rights, personal rights, and commodification.
  • Dr James Clarke
  • Post-Kantian practical philosophy, especially that of Erhard, Fichte and Hegel. Rousseau’s moral psychology and political philosophy and philosophy of law.
  • Dr Martin O'Neill
  • Social justice, equality and inequality and various issues at the intersection of political philosophy. Political economy and public policy including taxation, monetary policy, financial and money, corporations and economic governance, work and labour unions.
  • Professor Alan Thomas
  • Political philosophy and political economy with the theory of justice, inequality, republicanism.
  • Dr Annette Zimmermann
  • AI and algorithmic decision-making, democracy and collective decision-making, social justice, equality, risk and uncertainty, punishment, rule of law.
  • Nicholas Campbell (npc506@york.ac.uk)
  • The good of life-long learning (supervisors: Dr Martin O'Neill and Professor Matthew Festenstein (Politics))
  • Angus Hebenton (ah1876@york.ac.uk)
  • Equality, respect and workplace hierarchy (supervisors: Dr Martin O'Neill and Professor Alan Thomas)
  • Daniel Hind (dceh500@york.ac.uk)
    The Limits of Liberal Constitutionalism (supervisors: Dr Martin O'Neill and Professor Alan Thomas)

  • Robin Pawlett-Howell (rph512@york.ac.uk)
    Phenomenology, Self-Respect, and Justice: Creating a Dialogue Between French Phenomenology and a Rawlsian Approach to Justice (supervisors: Professor Matthew Ratcliffe and Dr Martin O'Neill)

  • Jo Payne (jo.payne@york.ac.uk)
    Inequality, Wellbeing, and Positional Goods (supervisor: Professor Alan Thomas)

  • Jane Wilson (jejw501@york.ac.uk)
  • A theory of forgiveness (supervisors: Professor Christian Piller and Dr Martin O'Neill)

Research degrees

Push the boundaries of knowledge in our supportive and stimulating environment.

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Dr Martin O'Neill