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Dr Anneli Jefferson

Visiting Research Fellow


Anneli received her PhD from King’s College London in 2010. From 2011 to 2014, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Neuroscience and Medicine at the research centre Jülich, Germany. Subsequently she worked on a project entitled ‘Costs and Benefits of Optimism’ with Lisa Bortolotti. At present, Anneli holds Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the University of Birmingham and is working on the effect psychiatric illness has on moral responsibility.

Research interests

  • Philosophy of Psychology
  • Philosophy of Language
  • Ethics
  • Philosophy of Science

Anneli is currently working on the relationship between mental disorders, brain disorders and moral responsibility. She is looking at the effect of psychiatric illness on moral responsibility and investigating the question whether presence of brain dysfunction should make a difference to responsibility judgments.


Ethics, Philosophy of Mind/Psychology, Philosophy of Language, Early Modern Philosophy

Selected publications

  • Jefferson, A.: Born to be Biased? Unrealistic Optimism and Error Management Theory. Forthcoming in Philosophical Psychology
  • Godman, M. and Jefferson, A. 2017: On Blaming and Punishing PsychopathsJournal of Criminal Law and Philosophy 11:1, 127-142
  • Jefferson, A., Bortolotti, L. and Kuzmanovic, B. 2017: What is unrealistic Optimism? Consciousness and Cognition 50, 3-11
  • Jefferson, A. 2014: Slippery Slope ArgumentsPhilosophy Compass. 9:10, 672-680 doi: 10.1111/phc3.12161 
  • Jefferson, A. 2014: Mental Disorders, Brain Disorders and ValuesFrontiers in Psychology 5, 1-3