Dr Michael Wilby

Senior Lecturer

Faculty:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School:Humanities and Social Sciences

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Philosophy

Research Supervision:Yes

Mike is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, and Course Leader for ARU's BA (Hons) Philosophy and BA (Hons) Philosophy and English Literature.

Mike works primarily within the philosophy of mind, with particular interests in the nature and the development of human social understanding and interaction.

[email protected]

Follow Mike on Twitter


Mike has been a Lecturer in Philosophy at ARU since 2010, and the Course Leader for Philosophy (and for Philosophy and English Literature) since 2017.

He had previously spent several years teaching English in Prague and London, before winning a Graduate Teaching Scholarship at the University of York, where he completed his PhD in 2008 on the role of social understanding in intentional thought.

He is the author of a range of articles and presentations relating to social cognition, collective intentionality, common knowledge and joint attention.

He was the winner of the inaugural 2010 Philosophical Explorations essay prize for his paper ‘The Simplicity of Mutual Knowledge’ and is the editor of ‘Joint Attention’ on the international philosophy database philpapers.com.

Mike is currently engaged with a range of cross-disciplinary issues clustered around the philosophy of artificial intelligence, developmental psychology, social agency and social cognition.

Research interests

  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Philosophy of Sociality
  • Collective Intentionality
  • Common Knowledge
  • Joint Attention
  • Philosophy of AI

Areas of research supervision

  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Philosophy of Sociality
  • Collective Intentionality
  • Wittgenstein’s Later Philosophy (especially On Certainty)
  • Hinge Epistemology
  • Philosophy of Psychology
  • Personal Identity
  • Philosophy of Temporal Experience
  • Philosophy of AI

Current supervision:

  • Maria Contrino – Practical Identity: Narratives, Embodiment and Negotiation
  • Alison Baalham – Reforming Reformed Epistemology: The Secularisation of Religious Belief
  • Charis Newman – About Time: The Social Nature of Temporal Experience


Mike currently teaches on the following modules:

  • Reason and Argument: An Introduction to Philosophy
  • Rights and Responsibilities
  • Descartes and the Rationalists
  • AI and the Philosophies of the Future
  • Mind and Cognition
  • Knowledge, Truth and Doubt
  • Concepts of Good and Evil


  • PhD in Philosophy - University of York
  • MA in Philosophy - University of Bristol
  • BA (Hons) in Philosophy - University of Sheffield
  • PGCert in HE - Anglia Ruskin University

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Authority
  • Member of International Society of Social Ontology
  • Member of Development and Lifespan research group (ARU Centre for Mind and Behaviour)
  • Director of ARU’s annual Royal Institute of Philosophy Public Lectures

Selected recent publications

2020. From Joint Attention to Common Knowledge (Critical Notice of Axel Seemann’s The Shared World). Journal of Mind and Behavior, 41 (3 & 4): 293-306

2020. Modest Sociality, Minimal Cooperation and Natural Intersubjectivity. In A.Fiebich (ed). Minimal Cooperation and Shared Agency. pp. 127-148. Springer: Switzerland

2019. Francis Bacon: The 17th Century Philosopher Whose Ideas Could Help Solve Climate Change Today. The Conversation (republished in 2020 for the World Economic Forum)

2012. Subject, Mode and Content in We-Intentions. Phenomenology and Mind (2): 78-87 

2012. Embodying the False-Belief Tasks. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Science. 11(4): 519-540

2010. The Simplicity of Mutual Knowledge. Philosophical Explorations, 13:2, 83-100

Recent presentations and conferences

March 2021. Common Knowledge: What it is and Why We Need It, Cambridge Festival, UK

July 2020. Moral Responsibility and Variable Frame Theory, Social Ontology, Switzerland

June 2020. Developing Artificial Minds: Joint Attention, AI and Developmental Psychology, Cambridge Science Festival, UK

October 2019. Transformative Experience, Cambridge Festival of Ideas, UK

June 2019. Common Knowledge and Hinge Epistemology, Social Ontology, Finland

November 2018. Hearts of Darkness: Extremes of Wrong-Doing from Augustine to Arendt, Cambridge Festival of Ideas, UK

April 2018. The Ethical Implications of AI, Computing and AI Workshop, UK

June 2016. Three Ways to Solve a Coordination Problem, Collective Intentionality 12, The Hague, Holland

July 2014. Collectivity and the Individual, Workshop on Collectivity, Bristol, UK

November 2013. Natural Intersubjectivity, 40 Years of Philosophy at ARU, Cambridge, UK

August 2012. The Sense in Joint Attention, Collective Intentionality 10, Manchester, UK