Baroness Onora O'Neill FBA

Ethics; Political Philosophy; Kant.

Elected 1993

UK Fellow
Philosophy, Politics

Onora O’Neill combines writing on political philosophy and ethics with a range of public activities. She comes from Northern Ireland and has worked mainly in Britain and the US. She was Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge from 1992-2006, President of the British Academy from 2005-9, chaired the Nuffield Foundation from 1998-2010, has been a crossbench member of the House of Lords since 2000 (Baroness O’Neill of Bengarve). She has chaired the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission from 2012-16 and served on of the Medical Research Council and the Banking Standards Board until 2018. In 2017, she was awarded the Holberg Prize and the Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture. She lectures and writes on justice and ethics, accountability and trust, justice and borders, as well as on the future of universities, the quality of legislation and the ethics of communication. 

Current post

Professor Emeritus, University of Cambridge; past President of the British Academy

Past appointments

University of Cambridge Honorary Professor of Ethics and Political Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy

Jan 2003 -

Newnham College University of Cambridge Principal

Jan 1992 - Jan 2006

University of Essex Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader then Professor

Jan 1977 - Jan 1992

Columbia University, New York Assistant, then Associate Professor, Barnard College

Jan 1970 - Jan 1977


Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics 2002

A Question of Trust 2002

Faces of Hunger 1986

Acting on Principle 2013 2nd edition

Rethinking Informed Consent in Bioethics 2007

Constructing Authorities: Reason Politics and Interpretation in the Work of Immanuel Kant 2016

Justice Across Boundaries: Whose Obligations? 2016

Constructions of Reason: Explorations of Kant's practical philosophy 1989

Towards justice and virtue 1996

Bounds of justice 2000

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