Department of Political Science


Dr Jeffrey Howard

Jeffrey smiles into the camera
Associate Professor of Political Philosophy and Public Policy
Room: 1.02, 31 Tavistock Square
Telephone: 0203 108 6939
Email: jeffrey.howard@ucl.ac.uk


I am Associate Professor of Political Philosophy and Public Policy at UCL. I hold a DPhil from Oxford University and an AB from Harvard University. At UCL I hold appointments in the Department of Political Science, School of Public Policy, and (by affiliation) Department of Philosophy. I am a UKRI Future Leader Fellow, British Academy Rising Star, and BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker. I was the recipient of the 2021 Berger Memorial Prize from the American Philosophical Association. My work on freedom of expression, social media, democracy, social contract theory, crime and punishment, and counter-extremism has appeared in many journals including Philosophy & Public Affairs, The Journal of Political Philosophy, Law and Philosophy, British Journal of Political Science, and the Annual Review of Political Science. I am currently writing a book on free speech in the age of social media. 
I have taught a wide range of courses in political, legal and moral philosophy, with an emphasis on ethics and public policy. I currently teach the ethics component of the leadership training course for civil servants within HM Treasury. At UCL I have twice won the departmental Prize for Outstanding Faculty Teaching, as well as a UCL Education Award for my educational leadership. At the University of Essex, where I previously taught, I won the Best Lecturer at the University Award, and the THINK course I created won The Guardian’s University Award for Student Experience. 
I am currently an Affiliated Faculty Fellow in the Conceptual Foundations of Conflict Project in the School of Philosophy at the University of Southern California, and I have previously been a visiting scholar in the School of Philosophy at the Australian National University.


I currently direct the UCL Online Speech Project, which produces empirically informed philosophical guidance on how to improve the digital public sphere. As part of this project, I am working on a range of normative questions concerning the ethics of content moderation, algorithmic amplification, and public discourse. My team synthesizes expertise in political and moral philosophy, the philosophy of language, law and regulation, and computational social science. 

I have previously published on a wide range of topics in political, moral, and legal philosophy. My recent publications have concerned freedom of speech and its limits, the moral duties of platforms, and the ethics of counter-speech. I have also published widely on the philosophy of crime and punishment and on topics in normative democratic theory.


Book chapters
Journal articles


I have previously taught courses on contemporary political philosophy, the history of political thought, practical ethics, ethics and public policy, liberalism, egalitarianism, the philosophy of crime and punishment, global justice, just war theory and the ethics of counterterrorism, and philosophical methodology.

I have supervised multiple doctoral dissertations to completion on a range of topics in contemporary political philosophy. I welcome applications from prospective doctoral candidates working on issues related to freedom of speech, social media regulation, and the ethics of democratic discourse.