Dr. Jeremy Williams BA (Oxon), MSc, PhD (LSE)

Department of Philosophy
Birmingham Research Fellow

Contact details

ERI Building
University of Birmingham
Birmingham B15 2TT

I am a Birmingham Research Fellow, working in moral and political philosophy. My current research is about theories of public reason, and their implications for various questions in practical ethics.


I hold a BA in Modern History and Politics from Oxford, and an MSc and PhD in Political Theory, both from the London School of Economics. My PhD explored some questions about the extent of a woman’s right to choose an abortion, and was supervised by Cécile Fabre and Anne Phillips.


I joined the Philosophy Department at Birmingham in September 2011, as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, and became a Birmingham Research Fellow in January 2013. During my Leverhulme Fellowship, I was a visiting scholar at the Philosophy Department at Rutgers (Fall 2012), and at the Center of Bioethics at NYU (Spring 2013). I have also previously taught at the University of Reading (2009-10) and the Centre of Medical Law and Ethics, King's College London (2010-11).

Postgraduate supervision

I'm happy to supervise or co-supervise graduates in most areas of moral and political philosophy.


I am especially interested in the fields of bioethics, the ethics of killing, and liberal political theory. I have previously written on abortion, procreative ethics, and the allocation of dispositional rights in bodily material. My current focus is on how different models of public reason liberalism handle a range of important problems in practical ethics, such as abortion and war, and whether they can do so satisfactorily. You can find some of my thoughts on the latter questions in my recent paper, ‘Public Reason and Prenatal Moral Status’, below.


  • Invited Review: Rawls and Religion, ed.s Tom Bailey and Valentina Gentile, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, July 2015.
  • ‘Public Reason and Prenatal Moral Status’, Journal of Ethics 19 (2015): 23-52 (post-print version)
  • ‘Conscription’, in Catriona McKinnon (ed), Issues in Political Theory, 3rd Edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 24-7.
  • ‘Deliberative Polling’, in ibid, pp. 93-6.
  • ‘Torture and Counter-Terrorism’, in ibid, pp. 185-8.
  • ‘Sex-Selective Abortion: A Matter of Choice’, Law and Philosophy 31.2 (2012): pp. 125–159. 
  • ‘Wrongful Life and Abortion’, Res Publica 16.4 (2010): pp. 351-366.
  • ‘Resolving Disputes Over Frozen Embryos: A New Proposal’, Journal of Applied Philosophy 27.2 (2010): pp. 172–185.