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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Dr Jessica Begon

Assistant Professor in Political Theory in the School of Government and International Affairs

(email at

Jessica joined Durham in 2018 as an Assistant Professor in Political Theory. Between 2015-2018 she was a Postdoctoral Prize Research Fellow at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, and before that worked for a year each in the Politics Department at the University of York, and the Philosophy Department at the University of Sheffield. She completed her PhD, entitled ‘Policy without Paternalism: A Capability Approach to Legitimate State Action’, at the University of Sheffield.

Jessica’s research interests are in the area of moral and political philosophy, with a particular focus on justice and inequality, disability, paternalism, and epistemic injustice. Her current research is focussed on how disability should be justly treated in public policy, and the importance of mitigating the disadvantages often associated with physical and cognitive impairments without disrespecting those whom these policies affect. She is interested in both more applied questions, such as what disabled individuals are entitled to, the form in which this should be provided, and how policy-makers should approach these questions; as well as more abstract questions, such as how we should understand harm, how this relates to disability, and the status and reliability of individuals’ testimony, especially when they are the subjects of injustice. She is also continuing to work on the understanding of paternalism, and why it is important to avoid paternalist public policy.

Research Groups

School of Government and International Affairs

  • Political Theory

Research Interests

  • Capability approach
  • Disability
  • Distributive justice
  • Epistemic injustice
  • Liberal political thought
  • Paternalism
  • Well-being and autonomy

Selected Publications

Chapter in book

Journal Article

Book review

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