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Dr Michael Wilby

Senior Lecturer

Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
Humanities and Social Sciences
Areas of Expertise:
Research Supervision:
Courses taught:

Mike is Course Leader for ARU's BA (Hons) Philosophy degree. He works primarily within the philosophy of mind, with particular interests in the nature and the development of human social understanding and interaction.

[email protected]

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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 interaction in the constitution of rational and intentional thought.

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

Research interests

  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Collective Intentionality
  • Joint Attention
  • Common Knowledge
  • Wittgenstein’s Hinge Epistemology
  • Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence
  • Philosophy of Evil
  • The Concept of the ‘Public Sphere’

Areas of research supervision

  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Philosophy of Psychology
  • Epistemology
  • Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence
  • Collective Intentionality
  • Social Ontology

Recent PhD Students:

  • Dr Maria Contrino - The Practice of Identity: Narratives and Negotiation (completed 2022)

Current PhD Students:

  • Alison Baalham - Reforming Reformed Epistemology: The Secularisation of Religious Belief
  • Charis Newman – About Time: Social Ontology and Temporal Experience
  • Andrew Oyedola - Naturalising Epistemology: Wittgenstein and the African Model


Mike currently teaches on the following modules:

  • Reason and Argument:
  • Rights and Responsibilities
  • Descartes and the Rationalists
  • AI and the Future: A Threat to Humanity?
  • 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)

Selected recent publications

2023. The Humanistic Temperament: Reflections of AI and the Future, forthcoming. View preprint.

2023. Reactive Attitudes in Criminal Perspective, forthcoming in Blake M. Wilson (ed.). Philosophical Perspectives on Crime, Violence, and Justice, Budapest: Trivent

2023. The Form and Function of Joint Attention within Joint Action, Philosophical Psychology. 36 (1), 134-161

2023. The AI-Stance: Crossing the Terra Incognita of Human-Machine Interactions (co-authored with Anna Strasser), in R. Hakli (ed). Social Robots in Social Institutions. Amsterdam: IOS Press

2022. The Thin Moral Concept of Evil, Studies in the History of Philosophy, 13 (3), 39-62

2021. Review of ‘The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Psychology’, Metapsychology, 25(20)

2021. Review of ‘Surrounding Self-Control’, Metapsychology, 25(35)

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 2023. The Thin Moral Concept of Evil. The Uses and Abuses of The Language of Evil. University of Sussex

August 2022. The AI-Stance: Crossing the Terra Incognita of Human-Machine Interactions (with A. Strasser). Robophilosophy, Helsinki

June 2022. The AI-Stance: How to Understand Human-Machine Interactions, Re-Search for New Meanings, ARU, Cambridge

June 2022. Hinge Epistemology and the Problem of Evil, Third Hinge Epistemology Conference, Lisbon

August 2021. The Functions of Joint Attention, Social Ontology, San Diego, USA

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

Media experience

2021. How important is common knowledge? (The Big Idea: Abc Radio National, Australia)

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)