Accessibility statement

Professor Alan Thomas



I began my professional career in Philosophy as a lecturer at King’s College, London, between 1993 and 1998. Following this I moved to the University of Kent to take a position as senior lecturer there. In 2007 I was a visiting scholar at the University of British Columbia and in 2010 I held the position of Fellow of the Murphy Institute at Tulane University. Between 2010 and 2016 I was Professor of Ethics at Tilburg University. During that time I also held a visiting fellowship at the Australian National University (2015) and a visiting research professor position at St. Louis University (also 2015). In 2016 I came to York to be Professor of Philosophy and Head of Department.



My research interests are in political philosophy; political economy; moral philosophy; and social epistemology.


My main research interests are the theory of justice, inequality, republicanism and central topics in ethics.

  • I have a defended a liberal-republican account of a just society in Republic of Equals: Pre-distribution and Property-Owning Democracy (OUP 2017).
  • I am currently working on a research project entitled ‘The Moral Psychology of Inequality’. This is funded by the John Templeton Foundation via St. Louis University and the other team members are Alfred Archer and Bart Engelen (Tilburg University).
  • From 2016–17 I will also be participating in the John Templeton Foundation project, funded via Wake Forest University, on ‘Morally Exceptional Individuals’ with Archer, Engelen, and Niels van de Ven (Psychology, Tilburg University).
  • My other project in ethics is a research monograph entitled Ethics in the First Person: Moral Particularism and Its Consequences.

External activities


  • External examiner for the Open University and the University of London
  • External examiner for advanced research degrees
  • Advisor on senior appointments
  • REF consultant (“critical friend”).

Professor Alan Thomas, Head of Department

Contact details

Professor Alan Thomas

Tel: 01904 324177


Selected publications

Books: forthcoming

  • The Moral Psychology of Inequality [with Alfred Archer and Bart Engelen]
  • Ethics in the First Person: Moral Particularism and its Consequences, work in progress, ms currently 80 000 words.

Books: published 

  • 2017 Republic of Equals: Predistribution and Property-Owning Democracy – Oxford University Press (USA)
  • 2009/2015 Thomas Nagel, Originally published by Acumen Press and McGill/Queen’s University Press; now published by Routledge. Kindle edition 2015.
  • 2007 Bernard Williams (editor and contributor), Cambridge University Press. 
  • 2006/2010 Value and Context: the Nature of Moral and Political Knowledge, Oxford University Press (The Clarendon Press).  352pp. ISBN 0198250177. Paperback 2010.

Selected papers

  • 2015 ‘Integrity, Ground Projects and Reasons to be Moral’ in Beatrix Himmelmann and Burt Louden (eds) Why Be Moral?, De Gruyter, pp. 249–271.
  • 2014 ‘Should Generalism be Our Regulative Ideal?’ in T. D. C. Chappell (ed.) Intuition and Anti-Theory in Ethics, Oxford University Press. 
  • 2013 ‘Sen on Rawls’s “Transcendental Institutionalism”: An Analysis and Critique’, European Journal of Political Theory, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 241-263.
  • 2012 ‘Giving Each Her Due: Taurek Cases and Non-comparative Justice’, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice vol. 15, issue 5, pp. 661-676.
  • 2011 ‘Another Particularism: Reasons, Status and Defaults’, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 151-167.
  • 2009 'Perceptual Knowledge, Representation and Imagination' in 'Perceptual Intentionality: Themes from Sellars and McDowell', a special issue of Philosophical Topics.
  • 2003 'An Adverbial Theory of Consciousness', Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, vol. 2, no. 3 pp. 161-185.
  • 1997 'Kant, McDowell and the Theory of Consciousness' European Journal of Philosophy, (December) pp. 283-305.