Accessibility statement

Tom Stoneham
Head of Department



In 1989 I undertook a BA (MA) in PPE from Oriel College, Oxford, before moving to Birkbeck College, London, to do my MPhil in 1991. After that I stayed at Birkbeck to do my PhD and then went to Oxford University 1994-96 to become a junior lecturer. Between 1996 and 2000 I was a fellow and tutor in Philosophy at Merton College Oxford, before coming to York in 2000 to take up a post as a lecturer here. In 2004 I became a Reader in Philosophy and in 2006 I took up the post of Head of Department, until 2014. I was made Professor of Philosophy in 2008 and in 2015, after stepping down as Head of Department, I took up a post as Dean of the Graduate Research School. In 2020 I again became Head of Department.

University roles

  • Head of Department
  • University Research Committee
  • Special Cases Committee
  • Standing Committee on Assessment
  • Employability Strategy Group
  • International Committee



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.

Available PhD research projects

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



  • Early Modern Philosophy
  • Intermediate Logic
  • Epistemology
  • Twin Earth
  • Atheism and Scepticism


  • MA: Metaphysics and Epistemology

External activities


  • AHRC Peer Review College (Strategic)
  • British Philosophical Association (Executive Committee from 2013)
  • Royal Society of Arts (Fellow from 2013)
  • Mind Association
  • Aristotelian Society
  • International Berkeley Society
  • British Society for the History of Philosophy

Editorial duties

  • Associate Editor of Mind
  • News Editor of the Berkeley Newsletter

A picture of Professor Tom Stoneham

Contact details

Professor Tom Stoneham
Head of Department
Department of Philosophy
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 322007