Department of Political Science


Dr Jeffrey Howard

Jeffrey Howard

Dr Jeffrey Howard

Lecturer in Political Theory

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Jeffrey Howard writes and teaches about a variety of topics in contemporary political and legal philosophy, especially concerning crime and punishment, freedom of expression, and counter-terrorism. He is also interested in general questions about the nature of liberal political morality, the justification of democracy, and the duties of democratic citizenship.

He has published in The Journal of Political Philosophy, The Journal of Applied Philosophy, Law and Philosophy, Political Studies, the Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, and Criminal Law and Philosophy, on topics ranging from the ethics of paying ransoms to terrorists, the purpose of criminal punishment, the wrongness of criminal entrapment, and the relationship between contractualism and democracy. He is currently completing a project on incitement and hate speech, exploring the conditions under which it ought to be a crime to advocate or otherwise inspire criminal violence. He is continuing work on a project on the ethics of incarceration, focusing on the phenomenon of mass incarceration and the variety of unjust policies that generate it. And he is developing a new project on the moral duties of journalists and the ethics of press regulation, focusing on concerns about echo chambers, political polarization, and “fake news”.

He is the recipient of the British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award; a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Grant on "Dangerous Speech"; the UCL Department of Political Science Departmental Teaching Award; and the University of Essex Student Union Award for Best Lecturer at the University.

He earned his DPhil and MPhil in political theory from Oxford University, where he was a Clarendon Scholar at Nuffield College, working with Jeremy Waldron and David Miller. He has an AB in social studies from Harvard University.

You can see more about his papers, projects, and recent and upcoming talks, at jeffreywhoward.com

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    • “Free Speech and Hate Speech,” The Annual Review of Political Science (accepted)
    • “Ransoms,” in Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics (accepted)
    • “The Public Role of Ethics and Public Policy,” in Annabelle Leve and Andrei Poama (eds)., The Routledge Handbook of Ethics and Public Policy (forthcoming)
    • “Defending Broad Neutrality,” Critical Review of International Social & Political Philosophy (Early View: doi.org/10.1080/13698230.2018.1487232)
    • “Kidnapped: The Ethics of Paying Ransoms,” The Journal of Applied Philosophy (Early View: doi.org/10.1111/japp.12272)
    • “The Labors of Justice: Democracy, Respect, and Judicial Review,” Critical Review of International Social & Political Philosophy (Early View: doi.org/10.1080/13698230.2017.1334437)
    •  “Punishment as Moral Fortification,” Law and Philosophy 36, 1 (2017): 45-75.
    • “Moral Subversion and Structural Entrapment,” The Journal of Political Philosophy 24, 1 (2016): 24-46.
    • “The Instability of Democratic Contractarianism,” Political Studies Review 13, 2 (2015): 184-95.
    • “Democracy as the Search for Justice: A Defense of the Democracy/Contractualism Analogy,” Political Studies 63, 1 (2015): 259-75.
    • “Punishment, Socially Deprived Offenders, and Democratic Community,” Criminal Law & Philosophy 7, 1 (2013): 121-36.


“The Ethics of Democratic Debate” – TEDx Talk

“The End of Mass Incarceration” – UCL Lunchtime Lecture

“The Ethics of Paying Ransoms” – Animated Short

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