Tom Stoneham

Tom Stoneham, MA, MPhil, PhD


Former affiliations

Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile

Research interests

Having spent most of my career working on topics in the philosophy of mind - including mental health - and metaphysics, often with an approach informed by the history of philosophy in the early modern period, my research has recently taken a sharp turn to practical philosophy, inspired by the issues raised by the rapid arrival of AI into our lives.

At the most abstract level, this means working on anarchist theories of political legitimacy and how these might change our understanding of the available options in ethical theory. However, the work is inspired and motivated by concrete issues in AI Ethics and Data Privacy.

From April 2024, I will be Ethics Lead for SAINTS, a UKRI multidisciplinary Centre for Doctoral Training in Lifelong Safety Assurance of AI-enabled Autonomous Systems, which will award the world's first PhDs in Safe AI.

I am also involved in some global collaborations on responsible AI:

- Responsible and Ethical AI for Future Actions
- NET-humAIN

I teach in these areas and have recently launched an MA in Applied Ethics and Governance of Data Privacy. I am also 'pretotyping' my research in a blog, and give expert opinions for policy development and journalists.

That said, I have been around a while. In that time my research has covered three areas:

  • British Philosophy from roughly 1620-1750, with an emphasis on idealism.
  • Consciousness and conscious states such as perception, memory, dreaming and hallucinations.
  • Modal Metaphysics, in particular time and the possibility of nothing.

I still produce the occasional chapter on early modern philosophy and work in collaboration with the Complex Trauma Institute on issues in the treatment of trauma.

I am happy to consider PhD applications on AI Ethics and Data Privacy, philosophy of mental health, and early modern philosophy.


I completed my PhD at the University of London in 1995 on the topic of Self-Knowledge. From 1994-2000 I taught at Oxford University, first as a Junior Lecturer in the Faculty of Philosophy, then as Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy at Merton College. I came to York in 2000, was appointed a Reader in 2004 and a Professor in 2008.

From 2006-14 I was Head of the Department of Philsoophy.  From January 2015 to August 2020, I was the inaugural Dean of the York Graduate Research School, while - intermittently - continuing with my research. In September 2020 I returned as Head of Department.

I am a Strategic Peer Reviewer and panel chair for the AHRC, President of the International Berkeley Society, Chair of the Editorial Board of the White Rose University Press, and past Treasurer of the UK Council for Graduate Education, past Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, past member of the Executive Committee of the British Philosophical Association.

I have supervised more than a dozen research students on Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Coleridge, and on self-knowledge, consciousness, folk-psychology, perception and the philosophy of history, from several countries including Greece, Sweden, South Korea, South Africa and the USA.

I sometimes discuss academic stuff on social media. It used to be Twitter but now Mastodon

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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