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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: Thursdays 3-4pm, Fridays 10-11am.


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). He was Tang Chun-I Visiting Professor in Philosophy at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2013. 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 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) the defensibility of preventive justice; ethics and artificial intelligence; (iv) digilantism; and (v) bulk collection.

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. He is vice-chair of the Home Office Biometrics​ and Forensics Ethics Group and is on the data ethics committee of the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner. In 2020 he was appointed Chair of the West Midlands Police General Ethics Committee.


Hobbes; contemporary liberal political philosophy; the scope of 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; ethics and artificial intelligence; ethics and the internet of things, including connected vehicles.


Edited volumes

  • with James Dempsey, Moral Responsibility and the Financial Crisis. Midwest Studies in Philosophy (2018)
  • with Chris Cowton and James Dempsey, Business Ethics After the Financial Crisis (Routledge, 2019)
  • 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

  • T. Sorell, ‘Bulk Collection, Intrusion and Domination’ in Andrew I Cohen ed. Essays in Philosophy and Policy (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018).
  • Hobbes on Obedience to God and Man: ch 15’in O Hoffe ed. Hobbes: De cive (de Gruyter 2018) pp. 161-174.
  • Emergencies in Sober Hobbesianism’ in P. Auriel, O. Beaud, C. Wellman, The Rule of Crisis: Terrorism, Emergency Legislation and the Rule of Law (Springer, 2018), pp.37-60.
  • ‘Poverty, Exclusion, and the Design of Microfinance Institutions’ in J van der Hoeven, S. Miller and T Pogge eds. Designing In Ethics (Cambridge U P, 2018), pp. 119-140.
  • ‘Hobbes on Serious Crime’ in S. Courtland ed. Hobbesian Applied Ethics and Public Policy’ (Routledge, 2017) pp. 214-228.
  • 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
  • ‘Hobbes, Public Safety and Political Economy’ in R. Prokhovnik and G Slomp,eds. International Political Theory After Hobbes (London: Macmillan, 2011) pp. 42-55.
  • ‘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
  • ‘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

  • T. Sorell and Monica Whitty, ‘Online Romance Scams and Victimhood’ Security Journal (2019)
  • Tom Sorell, Steve Taylor, Brian Pickering, Michael Boniface et al. ‘Responsible AI – Key Themes, Concerns & Recommendations for European Research and Innovation-- Summary of Consultation with Multidisciplinary Experts’ (2018)
  • (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