School of Social and Political Science

Dr Tom O'Shea

Job Title

Lecturer in Political Theory

Photo of Tom
Personal website
Personal website

Room number


Building (Address)

Chrystal Macmillan Building

Research interests

Research interests

  • Freedom

  • Civic republicanism

  • Socialism and radical political thought

The main focus of my research is human freedom in history, theory, and practice. Most recently, I have been developing a socialist republican approach to the problem of economic domination. This builds on my earlier work on freedom and power in the social and legal regulation of disability. I have also written on medical consent and conscience in the history of moral thought, the relationship between autonomy and rationality, and the philosophy of sexual desire. In future research, I plan to investigate the idea of slavery in socialist, feminist, and black radical thought.



I joined the university in 2022 after having held posts at the Universities of Essex, Roehampton, and York. My own academic education has been in philosophy (including a doctorate from the University of Sheffield). But I now work largely at the intersection of political theory and the history of political thought. I take an ecumenical approach to political theory which combines analytical, critical, and historical methods, while being informed by wider research in the humanities and social sciences.


Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
O'Shea T. Godless conscience. European Journal for Philosophy of Religion. 2022 Oct 16;14(3):95-114.
O’Shea T. Eugene Debs and the socialist republic. Political Theory. 2022 Jun 29;1-28.
O'Shea T. The future of work: Radical republican perspectives. Athens: ENA Institute for Alternative Policies. 2022 Jun 27.
O'Shea T. The limits of self-legislation. In Herbert D, Cardenas P, editors, Theoretical and Practical Reason in Modernity . London: Palgrave Macmillan. 2022
O’Shea T. Sexual desire and structural injustice. Journal of Social Philosophy. 2021 Dec 1;52(4):587-600.
O'Shea T. Radical republicanism and the future of work. Theory and Event. 2021 Oct 1;24(4):1050-1067.
O'Shea T. What is economic liberty? Philosophical Topics. 2020 Oct 31;48(2):203-222.
O’Shea T. In defence of public ownership: A reply to Frye. Political Theory. 2020 Oct 1;48(5):581-587.
O’Shea T. Socialist republicanism. Political Theory. 2020 Oct 1;48(5):548-572.
O'Shea T. Civic republican disability justice. In Cureton A, Wasserman D, editors, The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Disability. Oxford University Press. 2020. p. 212-228
O'Shea T. Are workers dominated? Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy. 2019 Sep;16(1):1-24.
O’Shea T. Modern moral conscience. International Journal of Philosophical Studies. 2018 Aug 8;26(4):582-600.
O'Shea T. Consent: Historical perspectives in medical ethics. In Schaber P, Müller A, editors, The Routledge Handbook of the Ethics of Consent. Routledge. 2018. p. 261-271
O'Shea T. A civic republican analysis of mental capacity law. Legal Studies. 2018 Mar 1;38(1):147-163.
O’Shea T. Disability and domination: Lessons from republican political philosophy. Journal of Applied Philosophy. 2018 Feb 5;35(1):133-148.
O'Shea T. Freedom yet to come. In Gann T, editor, Labour's New Economics. London: New Socialist. 2018. p. 149-153
O'Shea T. [Review of] Autonomy and Mental Disorder, edited by Lubomira Radoilska. European Journal of Philosophy. 2017 Jul 19;25(2):564-569.
O'Shea T. Civic republican medical ethics. Journal of Medical Ethics. 2016 Dec 14;43(1):56-59.
O'Shea T. A law of one's own: Self-legislation and radical Kantian constructivism. European Journal of Philosophy. 2015 Dec 20;23(4):1153-1173.
O'Shea T. Autonomy and orthonomy. Journal of Moral Philosophy. 2015 Sep;12(5):619-637.
Freyenhagen F, O'Shea T. Hidden substance: Mental disorder as a challenge to normatively neutral accounts of autonomy. International Journal of Law in Context. 2013 Mar 1;9(1):53-70.
Martin W, Freyenhagen F, Hall E, O'Shea T, Szerletics A, Ashley V. An unblinkered view of best interests. British Medical Journal (BMJ). 2012 Dec 15;345:22-24.
O'Shea T. German idealism: Contemporary perspectives. British Journal for the History of Philosophy. 2009 Apr 24;17(2):440-444.
O'Shea T. Practically free. Philosophers' Magazine. 2009 Apr 1;(45):110-111.