I came back into education at a quite late point in my life, having worked at a variety of other jobs, from manual to clerical and business. I started taking Open University courses in my 30s with a view to building upon my interest in English Literature at school, but was side-tracked by a growing interest in philosophy, so that I ended by graduating in 1989 with a first-class degree that was primarily in philosophy with a literature minor. I built upon this interest by taking a part-time MA in philosophy at Birkbeck College in London, commuting there from darkest Essex two or three times a week in the days when British Rail still ran the trains. (And ran them pretty well.) Having taken my MA, achieving a distinction with a dissertation on personal identity, and having been made redundant from my last accounting job, I took the money and ran off to Norwich to take a PhD, writing a thesis on personal identity and the philosophy of Derek Parfit, which I did under the supervision of Nick Everitt. (My examiners, Martin Hollis and Bernard Williams, were kind enough to pass the thesis, so I achieved my doctorate in 1997.)
I have been teaching for the School of Economic & Social Studies and then the School of Philosophy and now the School of Politics, Philosophy and Language & Communications Studies, since 1994, sometimes on a part-time basis and occasionally as a full-time teacher. In addition, I have been teaching philosophy for The Open University since 1999, and introductory humanities for them from 2001 to 2008. (I have been a mentor and monitor of other teachers for the OU, and have also engaged in their programme of supplying teachers for OU philosophy students in prison.) And I taught and organised philosophy evening classes for adults for the School of Continuing Education (as it then was) at UEA from 2001 to 2008 on their Certificate and Diploma of Philosophy programmes, until such time as government funding changes forced the closure of these and many other adult education programmes.
In addition to teaching, I have held a number of other administrative roles. At UEA I was the School of Philosophy Undergraduate Admissions Officer, and also the PHI Teaching Director, relinquishing the latter post in the summer of 2014. I am responsible for the maintenance of the Martin Hollis archive, and was also joint editor of the now-defunct in-house journal UEA Papers in Philosophy. I also act as an examiner for the Open University, and have been an external examiner for the University of Cambridge's continuing education programme.
I am also a freelance editor, copy-editor, proof-reader and index, having helped to bring about the publication of Critical Thinking by Alec Fisher and Michael Scriven, Rousseau by Timothy O’Hagan, Trust Within Reason by Martin Hollis, Philosophy of Social Science by Martin Hollis, The New Hume Debate by Rupert Read & Kenneth Richman, Invitation to Philosophy (2nd edition) by Martin Hollis, and so on.
Additional Contacts: Academia.edu Personal Page
Review: Timothy Shanahan (2014), Philosophy and Blade Runner, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 240pp,
‘I Think You Ought to Know I’m Feeling Very Depressed’: Marvin and Artificial Intelligence,
in Philosophy and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
ISBN 978-0-230-29112-6Full Text UEA Repository
The trouble with thought experiments,
in Theoretical and Applied Ethics
pp. 7-12Full Text UEA Repository
Review: The real deal on Dealey,
pp. 42-44Full Text UEA Repository
A Philosopher Goes To The Cinema,
in Film as Philosophy.
Palgrave MacmillanFull Text UEA Repository
The Achievement of Personhood,
pp. 141-156Full Text UEA Repository
Parfit and the Sorites paradox,
in Philosophical Studies
pp. 113-120Full Text UEA Repository
Key Research Interests
I have completed a paper on the use of thought experiments in bioethics and a chapter on artificial intelligence and emotion for an invited collection. I am presently researching thought experiments in mind and metaphysics, and also drafting a larger paper on philosophical aspects of film, as well as a paper on critical thinking and conspiracy theories, which is going to need substantial revision in the light of the Brexit/Trump era.
Core topics: Personal identity and the philosophy of Derek Parfit, critical thinking, thought experiments, film and philosophy.
List of Publications
As a teaching rather than research-active member of staff, I am not expected to produce publications to the standard REF schedule. In the last few years I have produced a number of reviews, and an article in a collection which was put together by myself and Rupert Read. I have a forthcoming article and am working on other projects. But much of my writing, including a long project on the relationship between philosophy and film, is aimed at providing teaching material for my students. (Whether it could or should be published more widely remains to be seen...)
September 2005 ‘A Philosopher Goes To The Cinema’, in Read & Goodenough (eds.) Film As Philosophy.
March 2011 "The Trouble With Thought Experiments" Theoretical & Applied Ethics, Vol 1 No 2.
July 2012 "I Think You Ought To Know I'm Feeling Very Depressed', in Philosophy & The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, (Palgrave Macmillan)
- Modern Readings in Philosophy
- Philosophical Problems
- The Enlightenment
- Empiricists & Rationalists
- Film as Philosophy
- Social & Political Theory
- Political Philosophy
- Philosophy of Mind
- Theories of Knowledge
- Classic Readings in Philosophy
- Critical Theories of the Western Self (past)
- Supervised study and dissertation modules
I have also supervised a large number of dissertations on an enormous range of topics at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, and was for over ten years organiser of the undergraduate dissertation programme.