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 and Co-Editor of the journal Political Philosophy. I hold a DPhil from Oxford University and an AB from Harvard University. At UCL I am appointed in the Department of Political Science and School of Public Policy, with an affiliate appointment in the Department of Philosophy. I direct the Digital Speech Lab, which produces empirically informed philosophical guidance on how to improve the digital public sphere. I am a UKRI Future Leader Fellow, British Academy Rising Star, BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker, and recipient of the Berger Memorial Prize from the American Philosophical Association. My work on freedom of expression, social media, democracy, crime and punishment, and counter-extremism has appeared in many outlets including Philosophy & Public Affairs, The Journal of Political Philosophy, Law and Philosophy, British Journal of Political Science, Annual Review of Political Science, The Journal of Practical Ethics, The Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, and The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. I am currently completing a monograph on free speech in the digital age, under contract with Princeton University Press.

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 Award for Best Lecturer at the University, and the THINK course I created won The Guardian’s University Award for Student Experience. 

I am currently a Senior Research Associate at the Oxford Institute for Ethics in AI.

I have served as a 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 Digital Speech Lab, which hosts a range of research projects on the proper governance of online communications. Its purpose is to identify the fundamental principles that should guide the private and public regulation of online speech, and to trace those principles’ concrete implications in the face of difficult dilemmas about how best to respect free speech while preventing harm. The research team synthesizes expertise in political and moral philosophy, the philosophy of language, law and regulation, political science, and computer science. We engage a wide range of decisionmakers in industry, civil society, and policymaking. The Lab is funded by a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship. 


Book chapters
Journal articles


I currently teach ethics for UCL’s executive training programme for senior policy advisers in the UK Treasury, which enables them to reflect analytically on ethical dilemmas they encounter in the course of their work for government. Please get in touch if you are interested in hearing about this work.

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.