Onora Sylvia O’Neill, now Baroness O’Neill of Bengarve (CBE, PBA), was born 23 August 1941.
She studied philosophy, psychology and physiology at Oxford University, before continuing her studies at Harvard, where she completed a doctorate under the supervision of John Rawls. She then taught philosophy and served as the principal of Newnham College, Cambridge, until October 2006.
She served as president of the Aristotelian Society from 1988 to 1989, as a member of the Animal Procedures Committee from 1990 to 1994, as chair of Nuffield Council on Bioethics from 1996 to 1998, as a member and then acting chair of the Human Genetics Advisory Commission from 1996 to 1999 and as a member of the select committee on BBC Charter Review. She currently holds many positions, including the chair of the Nuffield Foundation since 1997, a trustee of Sense About Science since 2002, a trustee of the Gates Cambridge Trust and president of the British Academy since 2005.
She was made a life peer as Baroness O’Neill of Bengarve, of The Braid in the County of Antrim in 1999, and is currently a crossbench, or unaffiliated, member of the British House of Lords.
She has written a variety of books on topics including political philosophy and ethics, international justice, bioethics and the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. Some of her books include Rethinking Informed Consent in Bioethics, with Neil Manson (2007); Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics (2002); Bounds of Justice (2000); Towards Justice and Virtue (1996); Constructions of Reason: Exploration of Kant’s Practical Philosophy (1989); Faces of Hunger: An Essay on Poverty, Development and Justice (1986); and Acting on Principle (1975).