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Tom Sorell


Professor of Politics and Philosophy

Email: t dot e dot sorell at warwick dot ac dot uk
Tel: 02476 528 031
Room: E2.26
Advice and Feedback Hours: Tuesdays 11 am


Prof Sorell leads the Interdisciplinary Ethics Research Group, including the Security and Ethics Group.





Tom Sorell is Professor of Politics and Philosophy and Head of the Interdisciplinary Ethics Research Group in PAIS. He was an RCUK Global Uncertainties Leadership Fellow (2013-2016). Previously, he was John Ferguson Professor of Global Ethics and Director of the Centre for the Study of Global Ethics, University of Birmingham. Before that he was Co-Director of the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex. In 1996-7 he was Fellow in Ethics at Harvard. He was also the Tang Chun-I Visiting Professor in Philosophy at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2013.

He has published extensively in moral and political philosophy, including four books, and dozens of journal articles. His most recent published work takes up (i) moral and political issues raised by emergencies, including terrorist emergencies; (ii) microfinance and human rights; (iii) human rights and hactivism; and (iv) the defensibiity of preventive justice.

He has worked on many European and RCUK funded research projects. He has also served as a consultant on security-sensitive material in UK universities and on the committee advising the AHRC on the Internet of Things.


Hobbes; contemporary liberal political philosophy; the scope of moral theory; scepticism about moral theory; emergency and its theory; ethics and security: counter-terrorism; ethics of surveillance; the value of privacy; financial justice: responsibilities for and in the financial crisis; ethics of financial exclusion and microfinance; assistive technology: ethics of telecare; ethics of care robotics; cyber ethics.


Edited volumes

  • with Katerina Hadjimatheou and John Guelke (2017) 'Security Ethics: The Library of Essays on Legal Ethics and the Enforcement of Law', Routledge
  • with Luis Cabrera (2015) 'Microfinance, Rights and Global Justice', Cambridge University Press

Recent contributions to books

  • with John Guelke (2016 - online; volume in press) 'Liberal Democratic Regulation and Technological Advance' in R. Brownsword, E. Scotford, and K. Yeung, eds. 'The Oxford Handbook of the Law and Regulation of Technology', Oxford Universtiy Press
  • with James Dempsey (2014) 'Ethics and Bank Taxation' in S. Chaudhry and A. Mullineux, eds. Taxing Banks Fairly, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar
  • 'Minority Rights’ in in L. Foisneau, J.C. Velasco Arroyo, Ch. Hiebaum (ed.), Open Democracies,(Hamburg, Springer, 2012) in press
  • ‘Hobbes, Public Safety and Political Economy’ in R. Prokhovnik and G Slomp,eds. International Political Theory After Hobbes (London: Macmillan, 2011) pp. 42-55.
  • ‘Hobbes, Locke and the State of Nature’ in S Hutton and P Schurmann, eds., Studies on Locke: Sources, Contemporaries and Legacy (Dordrecht: Springer, 2008) pp. 27-44
  • ‘Spinoza’s Unstable Politics of Freedom’ in. C. Hueneman, ed. Interpreting Spinoza: Critical Essays (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008) pp. 147-165.
  • ‘Thomas Hobbes’ in Encyclopaedia Britannica 2008
  • ‘Project Finance and the Special Responsibilities of Multinationals’ in M. Salmon et al. eds Shared Responsibilities: Human Rights and Development in the 21st Century (Interscientia, 2007), pp. 265-282
  • ‘Public Health, Parental Choice and Expert Knowledge: the strange case of the MMR vaccine’ in M Vereweij and A Dawsion, eds., Ethics, Prevention, and Public Health (Oxford, 2007), pp. 95-110.

Selected peer-reviewed papers

  • (2016) 'The scope of serious crime and preventive justice', Criminal Justice Ethics
  • (2016) 'Online grooming and preventive justice', Criminal Law and Philosophy
  • with John Guelke (2016 - in press) 'Violations of privacy and law: the case of stalking', Law, Ethics and Philosophy
  • (2015) 'Human rights and hactivism: the case of Wikileaks and anonymous', Journal of Human Rights Practice
  • (2015) 'The dogma of the priority of private morality', American Philosophical Quarterly
  • with Heather Draper (2012) ‘Telecare, Surveillance and the Welfare State’ American Journal of Bioethics
  • (2011) 'Preventive Policing, Surveillance and European Counter-Terrorism', Criminal Justice Ethics 
  • and Damery, S., Wilson, S., Draper, H., Greenfield, S., Ives, J., Parry, J., Petts J., (2010) Non-Professional Healthcare Workers and Ethical Obligations to Work during Pandemic Influenza, Public Health Ethics
  • (2010) ‘Cholera and Nothing More’ Public Health Ethics