Tom Stoneham

Tom Stoneham, MA, MPhil, PhD


Former affiliations

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Personal profile


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, past Treasurer of the UK Council for Graduate Education, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Chair of the Editorial Board of the White Rose University Press, and a member of the Executive Committee of the British Philosophical Association.

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

Research interests

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

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

I still produce the occasional chapter on early modern philosophy - recently concentrating on topics to do with religious belief - but most of my attention is taken by some fairly applied work on complex trauma and an emerging interest (obsession?) with the basis of digital rights and their application to privacy enhancing technologies like end-to-end encryption and virtual private networks.

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.

With the recent (2023) emphasis on Responsible AI, I have started collaborating with engineers of many kinds on projects from trust in AI manufactured medical devices to producing a game which teaches developers and users how to draw upon their own ethical wisdom to address problems in AI ethics.

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.

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or