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, inequality and social justice; freedom and responsibility; and a number of issues at the intersection of political philosophy and public policy (including taxation, monetary policy, financial regulation, corporate governance, and labour unions).

He welcome enquiries from potential PhD students interested in working on projects in these areas, or on related issues in political philosophy.

Martin's work has been supported by grants from organisations including the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust, the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), the Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF), and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. He is a Commissioning Editor of Renewal: a Journal of Social Democracy.

Martin is on departmental research leave during the Spring and Summer terms of 2017. During the 2017-18 academic year he will be on a research sabbatical funded by a Mid-Career Fellowship from the Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF), working on Democracy at Work: Power, Voice and Employment.

Martin's Academia.edu page is here: http://bit.ly/oneillwriting/

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

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


Martin's YorkTalk, "How to Build a More Equal Society", from January 2016, is available here on YouTube 

More details on the University of York website here, as part of the University Research Theme on 'Justice and Equality'.


Before coming to York in 2010, Martin was Hallsworth Research Fellow in Political Economy (2007-09), based in Politics at the University of Manchester, where he was a member of the Manchester Centre for Political Theory (MANCEPT), and of the Political Economy Institute (PEI). He spent Spring 2009 as a Visiting Hoover Fellow in Economic and Social Ethics at the Chaire Hoover d'éthique économique et sociale at the Université Catholique de Louvain.

Before his time at Manchester and Louvain-la-Neuve, Martin 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. At Cambridge, Martin taught students taking each part of the Philosophy tripos, and Part II students taking the Social and Political Sciences tripos (as it then was), as well as lecturing on Medical Ethics for students taking Part II Biological and Biomedical Sciences, and supervising MPhil students in Philosophy; History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine; and Political Thought and Intellectual History.

Martin 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). During his time as a graduate student at Harvard, Martin served for three years as a Teaching Fellow for various courses in Moral Reasoning for Harvard's Core Curriculum programme.

Departmental roles

Martin is Convenor of the Political Theory research cluster and of the York Political Theory Workshop.



Martin’s research is primarily in political philosophy. 

His topics of special interest include: 

  • normative dimensions of a variety of issues in public policy - especially taxation, monetary policy, banking and financial regulation, corporate governance, workplace democracy, labour policy, and welfare state regimes;
  • theories of equality and social justice, including global justice and intergenerational justice;
  • liberty, autonomy, choice and responsibility;
  • egalitarian political philosophy, especially the work of Barry, Cohen, Dworkin, Nagel, Rawls, Scanlon, and Young.
  • various issues at the intersection of political philosophy and political economy.



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

Martin’s current PhD students are:

Michael Bennett, working on markets and democracy

James Hickson, working on republicanism and economic precarity

Rossella De Bernardi, working on toleration, public reason and legal exemptions

Previous PhD students:

Adam Fusco, "Freedom and Political Status: a Republican Theory and Critique of the Politics of Self-Determination" (currently Associate Lecturer in Political Theory, University of York, since 2016)

Juliana Bidadanure, "Treating Young People As Equals: Intergenerational Justice in Theory and Practice" (Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute (EUI), 2014-15; Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Stanford University, since 2015) 

Elizabeth Kahn, "Global Poverty, Structural Injustice and Obligations to take Political Action" (Postdoctoral fellow at the Justitia Amplificata Center for Advanced Studies, Goethe-University Frankfurt, 2013-14; Lecturer in Political Theory, Durham University, since 2014)

External activities

Editorial duties

Martin is a Commissioning Editor of Renewal: A Journal of Social Democracy 

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

He has acted as a referee for article submissions for (inter alia): American Journal of Political Science (AJPS); American Political Science Review (APSR); Australasian Journal of Philosophy (AJP); British Journal for the History of Philosophy (BJPS); British Journal of American Legal Studies; British Journal of Political Science (BJPS); Business Ethics Quarterly (BEQ); Canadian Journal of Philosophy (CJP); Crítica Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía; Critical Review of International Social & Political Philosophy (CRISPP); Diacrítica; Economics and Philosophy; Ethical Perspectives; Ethical Theory and Moral Practice; Ethics; Ethics and International Affairs; European Journal of Philosophy; European Journal of Political Theory (EJPT); International Journal of Health Policy and Management; International Journal of Social Economics; Journal of Applied Philosophy; Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (JESP); Journal of Medical Ethics; Journal of Moral Philosophy; Journal of the American Philosophical Association (J-APA); Journal of Political Philosophy; Journal of Politics; Journal of Value Inquiry; Law and Philosophy; Law, Ethics and Philosophy (LEAP); Locke Studies; Mind; Pacific Philosophical Quarterly; Philosophical Papers; Philosophical Quarterly; Philosophical Studies; Political Studies; Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE); Public Reason; Ratio; Religion & Politics; Res Publica; Social Theory and Practice; Socialist Studies / Études Socialistes; Southern Journal of Philosophy; and Theoria

Martin regularly reviews grant proposals for bodies such as the European Institutes of Advanced Study (EURIAS); Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO); the Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF); the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Research Fund of the Government of Ontario; and the Ministry of Education of the Generalitat de Catalunya.

Research Networks and External Engagement

During 2012-15, Martin was a regular Visiting International Scholar at the Department of Political Science at the University of Belgrade, Serbia, under the auspices of the Academic Fellowship Programme of the Open Society Foundations. Since 2016 he has been external examiner and programme reviewer for foundation programmes in Humanities and Social Sciences at Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan.

Martin is an associated researcher (Chercheur Associé) for a SSHRC-funded research network on National Economic Policy and its International Normative Implications, organized by Professor Peter Dietsch of the University of Montréal (from 2013 – )

Martin is a founder member of an international research network on Normative Analysis of Economic Institutions and Systems, later shorted to Economics and Ethics, which includes researchers in the political philosophy of economic institutions and systems from the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, France, Israel, Canada, the US and UK. 

External Examining

Martin has acted as an external examiner for PhD and MPhil degrees in Politics, Philosophy, and Law, for the Universities of Cambridge (twice), Copenhagen, Cork (UCC), Essex, Manchester, Melbourne, Oxford (x3), Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona), Sheffield, Southampton, the Central European University (CEU), King's College London (twice), and University College London (UCL)(twice).

He was external examiner for the various M.Sc. programmes of the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method at the London School of Economics during 2011-14 & 2015-16.

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, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Turkey, Israel and China.

Some Recent Talks:

"Justice, Justification and Central Banks as Agents of Economic Policy", invited keynote address, Conference on "Finance and Social Justice", University of Bayreuth, November 2016

"Inequality: What's The Problem?", Conference on Capitalism and Inequality, Neubauer Collegium Program on "The Economy and Its Boundaries", University of Chicago, October 2016

“Justice and Predistribution”, Harvard-Fudan-NYUAD Conference on Justice, Fudan University, Shanghai, July 2016

“Post-Democracy, Social Equality and Trade Unions” (with Stuart White), Conference on Philosophical Foundations of Labour Law, UCL, June 2016

“Why We Should Care About Inequality”, Ford Foundation Seminar on “Perceptions of Inequality: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue”, The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), University of Oxford, June 2016

“As simple as possible, but not simpler: from the philosophy to the politics of non-intrinsic egalitarianism”, Celebration of the Philosophy and Teaching of T. M. Scanlon, Harvard University, April 2016 

“The Problem of Expertise: The Case of Monetary Policy”, British Academy conference on “Normative Interventions”, UCL, February 2016

“Property-Owning Democracy, Liberal Socialism, and the spaces in-between", Conference De la « passion de l’égalité » aux luttes contre les inégalités : réalités et representations, Centre for Critical Democracy Studies, American University of Paris, February 2016

“Social Equality and the Future of the Left”, British Academy / Leverhulme Trust workshop on Social Equality and Public Policy, UCL, January 2016


Martin's YorkTalk, "How to Build a More Equal Society", Jan 2016, is available here on YouTube

More details on the University of York website here

Media coverage

Martin has written for non-academic audiences for a variety of publications, including the New Statesman, The Guardian, The Big IssueTax Justice FocusAl Jazeera America and The Boston Review.

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.

Some recent writing for a non-academic audience:

"Orwell, Rawls and Trump: Citizenship and Democratic Culture," Daily Nous, December 2016

What We Owe Each Other: T. M. Scanlon’s Egalitarian Philosophy,” Boston Review, June 2016

"Labour After the Earthquake,” Verso Books Blog, June 2016

Creating a More Equal Future,” in Andre Harrop and Ed Wallis, eds., Future Left: Can the Left Respond to a Changing Society? (London: Fabian Society, 2016)

Piketty, Meade and Predistribution,” part of a Crooked Timber online seminar on Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, December 2015

James Meade and Predistribution: fifty years before his time,” Policy Network, series on The Classics of Social Democratic Thought, May 2015

Turning the Tide on Tax,” in Daisy-Rose Srblin, ed., Values Added: Rethinking Tax for the 21st Century, (London: Fabian Society, 2015)

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
  • Issues in Contemporary Political Philosophy
  • PhD Proposal in Political Theory (for MA students)
  • Political Research and Analysis (for PhD students)

Feedback and Guidance hours for this term - by appointment