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

Dr Jeremy Williams

Department of Philosophy
Birmingham Research Fellow

Contact details

ERI Building
University of Birmingham
Birmingham B15 2TT

I am a Birmingham Research Fellow in the Department of Philosophy, and member of the Centre for the Study of Global Ethics, working in the fields of 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 am a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Birmingham. I have been at Birmingham since 2011, having previously held the posts of Leverhulme Early Career Fellow and 'Birmingham Fellow'.

Prior to coming to Birmingham, I taught at the University of Reading and the Centre of Medical Law and Ethics at King's College London. I wrote my PhD about the ethics and political philosophy of abortion in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics. 

Postgraduate supervision

I'm happy to supervise or co-supervise graduates in most areas of moral and political philosophy, especially where connected to my research interests.

Find out more - our PhD Philosophy  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My research interests are, broadly speaking, in moral and political philosophy, with a particular focus on bioethics, the ethics of killing, and liberal political theory. I have previously written on topics including public justification, abortion, prenatal screening, procreative ethics, and the allocation of dispositional rights in bodily material.My current research concerns a number of intersecting questions concerning defensive violence, toleration, and moral status (especially prenatal moral status).


Recent publications


Williams, J 2021, 'On anti-abortion violence', Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. https://doi.org/10.1111/phpr.12756, https://doi.org/10.1111/phpr.12756

Williams, J 2017, 'Death and Consensus Liberalism', Philosophers' Imprint, vol. 17, no. 20, pp. 1-30. <http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.3521354.0017.020 >

Williams, J 2017, 'War and Global Public Reason', Utilitas, vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 398-422. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0953820816000376

Williams, J 2015, 'Public reason and prenatal moral status', The Journal of Ethics, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 23-52. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10892-015-9190-9

Williams, J 2015, 'Review of Rawls and Religion', Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. <http://ndpr.nd.edu/news/59524/rawsl-and-religion/>

Williams, J 2012, 'Sex-Selective Abortion: A Matter of Choice', Law and Philosophy, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 125-159. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10982-011-9118-x

Williams, J 2010, 'Resolving Disputes Over Frozen Embryos: A New Proposal', Journal of Applied Philosophy, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 172-185. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5930.2009.00476.x

Williams, J 2010, 'Wrongful Life and Abortion', Res Publica, vol. 16, pp. 351-366. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11158-010-9135-x

Other chapter contribution

Williams, J 2014, Conscription. in C McKinnon (ed.), Issues in Political Theory, Third Edition. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 24-7.

Williams, J 2014, Deliberative Polling. in C McKinnon (ed.), Issues in Political Theory, Third Edition. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 93-6.

Williams, J 2014, Torture and Counter-Terrorism. in C McKinnon (ed.), Issues in Political Theory, Third Edition. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 185-8.

Other contribution

Williams, J 2019, The ethics of voting for the lesser evil. politics.co.uk. <https://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2019/11/27/election-2019-the-ethics-of-voting-for-the-lesser-evil/?cmpredirect>

Williams, J 2018, The ethics of sex-selective abortion isn't simple. The Conversation . <https://theconversation.com/the-ethical-case-against-sex-selective-abortion-isnt-simple-103806>

Parry, J & Williams, J 2018, When does a foetus have moral status?. The Conversation . <http://theconversation.com/when-does-a-foetus-have-moral-status-94885>

View all publications in research portal