School of Social and Political Science

Dr Tom O'Shea

Job Title

Lecturer in Political Theory

Photo of Tom
Personal website
Academic website

Room number


Building (Address)

Chrystal Macmillan Building

Research interests

Research interests

  • Freedom
  • Civic republicanism
  • Socialism and radical political traditions

The main focus of my research is human freedom and its relationship to social power. 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 legal regulation of disability.

As well as publishing in political theory, I have also written on topics in social philosophy, metaethics, the history of moral thought, philosophy of religion, medical ethics, and the study of autonomy. In future research, I plan to investigate conceptions 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.

At Edinburgh, I lead courses on Freedom and Slavery in Political Thought and War and Justice, as well as lecturing on Political Thinkers. Currently, I convene the Political Theory Research Group and act as Associate Director of the CRITIQUE Centre. For the next few years, I am also the external examiner on a cluster of philosophy and PPE undergraduate programmes at the University of Swansea.


Staff Hours and Guidance

To attend my office hours, please book a meeting slot.

For appointments outside of term time, please get in touch via email.

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
O'Shea T. In the interests of all. 2023.
O’Shea T. Eugene Debs and the socialist republic. Political Theory. 2022 Dec;50(6):861-888. Epub 2022 Jun 29. doi: 10.1177/00905917221095084
O'Shea T. Godless conscience. European Journal for Philosophy of Religion. 2022 Oct 16;14(3):95-114. doi: 10.24204/ejpr.2022.3447
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 Modern Philosophy. London: Vernon Press. 2022
O’Shea T. Sexual desire and structural injustice. Journal of Social Philosophy. 2021 Dec 1;52(4):587-600. Epub 2020 Nov 10. doi: 10.1111/josp.12385
O'Shea T. Radical republicanism and the future of work. Theory and Event. 2021 Oct 1;24(4):1050-1067. doi: 10.1353/tae.2021.0058
O'Shea T. What is economic liberty? Philosophical Topics. 2020 Oct 31;48(2):203-222. doi: 10.5840/philtopics202048220
O’Shea T. In defence of public ownership: A reply to Frye. Political Theory. 2020 Oct 1;48(5):581-587. Epub 2020 Jul 4. doi: 10.1177/0090591720936609
O’Shea T. Socialist republicanism. Political Theory. 2020 Oct 1;48(5):548-572. Epub 2019 Sept 20. doi: 10.1177/0090591719876889
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 Sept;16(1):1-24. Epub 2019 Jul 1. doi: 10.26556/jesp.v16i1.631
O’Shea T. Modern moral conscience. International Journal of Philosophical Studies. 2018 Aug 8;26(4):582-600. Epub 2018 Jul 26. doi: 10.1080/09672559.2018.1497074
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. doi: 10.1017/lst.2017.7
O’Shea T. Disability and domination: Lessons from republican political philosophy. Journal of Applied Philosophy. 2018 Feb 5;35(1):133-148. Epub 2015 Aug 10. doi: 10.1111/japp.12149
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. Epub 2016 Sept 29. doi: 10.1136/medethics-2016-103697
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. Epub 2013 Aug 25. doi: 10.1111/ejop.12044
O'Shea T. Autonomy and orthonomy. Journal of Moral Philosophy. 2015 Sept;12(5):619-637. Epub 2015 Sept 10. doi: 10.1163/17455243-4681051
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.