Dr Philip Tonner
- Lecturer in Education (History) (Pedagogy, Praxis & Faith)
Philip joined the School of Education at the University of Glasgow in August 2019 as Lecturer in Education (History).
Philip holds a PhD in Philosophy (on univocity, analogy, Duns Scotus and Martin Heidegger) from the University of Glasgow (2006), a DPhil in Archaeology (on 'dwelling' and prehistory), from the University of Oxford (2016), and a PGDE (2006) from the University of Strathclyde.
His recent book - Dwelling: Heidegger, Archaeology, Mortality - was described as follows by an anonymous reviewer for Routledge:
“There really isn’t any directly comparable book – it is unique...[Tonner]...presents a path-breaking work”. (See research interests for the full review).
Philip has taught at a number of Universities and secondary schools in the UK. He was an Honorary Research Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Glasgow from 2006-2011 and an Honorary Lecturer in Humanities, also at the University of Glasgow, from 2009-2011. Philip was an Associate Lecturer at the Open University from 2007-2011 and in June 2019 he was an Invited Visiting Research Scholar in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, at the University of Macau.
In 2011 Philip joined the Classics Department at Hutchesons' Grammar School in Glasgow, where he was later to become Head of the Department of Philosophy and Religion and a member of the Academic Senior Management Team. He joined the School of Education at the University of Strathclyde in 2016 as Lecturer in Social Subjects, leaving in 2019 to take up his current post. Philip has been both a verifier and marker for the Scottish Qualifications Authority.
Philip was seconded to the University of Glasgow from 2009-2011 as Lecturer, to help develop and deliver the then new Masters in Museum Studies offered in collaboration with Glasgow Museums, where he was Research Support Officer (in Research and Major Projects):
Philip led one of the core courses on the new programme and supervised students engaged in collections based research for their dissertations. While at Glagow Museums Philip worked on a number of major projects, including, memorably, the Tapestries from the Burrell Collection project funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation (£91,500) and the Burrell Trustees (£30,000):
https://issuu.com/esmeefairbairn/docs/annual_report_2008_-_final ; https://www.codart.nl/publications/catalogue-of-tapestries-in-the-burrell-collection-published/
Another highlight of his time at Glasgow Museums was taking part in the Full-Circle: Glasgow’s Ghost Dance Shirt Return 10th Anniversary Seminar, in July 2009, when he got to meet Marcella LeBeau (Secretary of the Wounded Knee Survivors Assocation) and other members of the Lakota accompanying her on her visit to Glasgow:
Philip was centrally involved in establishing the first school based research centre in Scotland:
Philip has also worked as a researcher for the BBC, on Andrew Marr's documentary, Age of Genius, about Adam Smith, David Hume, and the Scottish Enlightenment:
Philip holds Fellowships of the Higher Education Academy and The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and is a Co-Director of the new University of Glasgow ArtsLab theme Islands in the Global Age.
Philip's main published work has been in the history of philosophy and theology, in the development of the 'dwelling perspective' in anthropology/archaeology, and in heritage and the philosophy of museums. His recent REF return (2021) was in Humanities at the University of Glasgow, where 92% of his Unit of Assessment was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’,”. https://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/cca/news/headline_850187_en.html
Some of Philip's recent research on challenging histories and music was developed into a music and history education project. Guitars, mandolins, fiddles and other instruments that make up a contemporary traditional band resonate with historical associations and this project explores how music can aid the teaching of controversial histories: The Wayfarers https://thewayfarers.gla.ac.uk/?asdasdas=1
Some citations of Philip’s work (across 6 disciplines over the last 10 years):
During the publication process, his recent book - Dwelling: Heidegger, Archaeology, Mortality - was described as follows by an anonymous revierwer:
“There really isn’t any directly comparable book – it is unique. On the one hand, there are several books that make use of Heidegger’s thought in an archaeological context, but mostly in relation to landscape, material culture, or temporality. This book’s more focused interest in ‘dwelling’ is distinctive. On the other hand, while there is a huge literature on early humans, and a modest one on the emergence of mortuary practice, this is the only book to my knowledge that deals with these issues from a Heideggerian perspective.
This is a unique book that focuses on dwelling – a way of life in which agents are fully immersed in the practical concerns of everyday life, and in which there is no distinction between mind and body or thought and action – and identifies it with care, a condition in which the world ‘matters’ to one. Tonner argues that these features are not exclusive to anatomically modern Homo sapiens, and follows Heidegger in identifying an awareness of death with a distinctive way of being in the world. But he rejects the relict element of anthropocentrism in Heidegger’s thought, seeking to break down a simple division between humans and pre-humans. As such, he presents a path-breaking work”.
‘I am here following Philip Tonner, Heidegger, Metaphysics and the Univocity of Being (Continuum 2010), in claiming that while analogy plays a role in Heidegger’s conception of being, it is nonetheless fundamentally univocal’. Henry Somers-Hall (Reader in Philosophy, Royal Holloway), 2012, ‘Deleuze’s Philosophical Heritage’ in The Cambridge Companion to Deleuze, CUP, p354.
‘Heidegger considers Scotus to have “a more extensive and accurate nearness (haecceitas) to real life, to its manifoldness and possible tensions than the scholastics before him”… Hence Tonner (2008: 153) argues that “it was the crucially important notion of haecceitas that gave Heidegger the insight required into the individuality of the individual”’. John Quay (Associate Professor at Melbourne Graduate School of Education), Education, Experience and Existence: Engaging Dewey, Peirce and Heidegger, Routledge (2013) p77.
‘In a variety of secondary sources and over the course of many years, several scholars have taken up the challenge of summarizing or highlighting the arguments advanced by Scotus. These previous readings offer an authoritative guide for my own reading of Scotus. These scholars include Allan Wolter, Richard Cross, Ludger Honnefelder, Mary Beth Ingham, Antonie Vos, Stephen Dumont, Philip Tonner, and others’. Daniel P. Horan, OFM, (Director of the Center for Spirituality and Professor of Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Theology at Saint Mary’s College (Indiana) in Notre Dame, IN, 2014, Postmodernism and Univocity: A Critical Account of Radical Orthodoxy and John Duns Scotus, Fortress Press, p158.
‘In particular, this must apply to our very talk of God’s being. Duns Scotus accordingly championed the ‘univocity of being’… (For a helpful discussion see Tonner 2007)’. Adrian W. Moore (Professor of Philosophy, Oxford), The Presidential Address to the Aristotelian Society: ‘Being, Univocity and Logical Syntax’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, New Series, Vol. 115 (2015), pp. 1-23.
‘Lastly, the very stimulating contribution by Philip tonner, ‘Between Medieval and Modern Beholding: Heidegger, Deleuze and the Duns Scotus affair’. This well-structured essay brings into the collection the refreshing contribution of philosophy in the interpretation of Scotus’ supposed heresy. Tonner uses philosophy in the longue durée to understand the impact of Scotus on both the contemporaries and later philosophers, and to assess the relevance and motivations of Scotus’ exiles from Paris to Cologne in the first decade of the XIV century. By bringing together political, theological and philosophical reasons, Tonner manages to disentangle the motives and urgency behind the removal of Scotus from Paris’. Sehepunkte 14 (2014), Nr. 9. Review of A.P. Roach & J.R. Simpson (eds): Heresy and the Making of European Culture, (Ashgate, 2013).
‘To this extent, Philip Tonner’s Deleuze-inspired claim that being has, for Heidegger, a univocal meaning as “the temporal configuration of meaningful presence” is entirely correct’. Jussi Backman, University of Jyväskylä, Complicated Presence: Heidegger and the Postmetaphysical Unity of Being, (SUNY Press, 2015), p9.
‘A very interesting examination of the notion of dwelling (“dwelling with” and “taking care”) and the archaeological record in relation to human mortuary practices can be found in P. Tonner, Dwelling: Heidegger, Archaeology, Mortality (Routledge 2018)’. Michael S. Dodson (Professor, Department of History, Indiana University Bloomington), Bureaucracy, Belonging, and the City in North India, 1870-1930, Routledge, 2020, p216.
‘Now the term ‘philosophical archaeology’ has been used by a number of thinkers. For instance, Stephen T. Asma has used it in the context of the interface between science and philosophy. In a variant of the expression, the term ‘archaeology of the soul’ has been used by a variety of writers, including the American classicist and philosopher Seth Bernadete (1930-2001), Antero Ali, and Robert L. Hall. Yet the term is most closely associated with the work of the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben (b. 1942), a chapter of whose Signatura rerum: Sul metodo (2008), translated in English as The Signature of All Things (2009), was published separately in English as a paper in Law and Critique. As a subject of a paper and of a chapter, Agamben’s concept of ‘philosophical archaeology’ has been discussed by several critics, including Colin McQuillan, William Watkin, and Leonard Lawlor. (And, most recently, Philip Tonner has drawn on recent developments in the field of the archaeology of mortuary practice to delineate a fresh approach to the insight of Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) that our awareness of our own mortality marks out a distinctly human way of ‘being-in-the-world’.)' Paul Bishop (Professor, German, University of Glasgow) ‘Digging Jung: analytical psychology and philosophical archaeology’ in, HISTORY OF EUROPEAN IDEAS 2022, AHEAD-OF-PRINT, 1-20.
‘In conclusion, Philip Tonner’s Dwelling: Heidegger, Archaeology, Mortality, is a very useful book as regards interdisciplinary research between philosophy and archaeology … it succeeds in promoting theoretical reflection upon key-features of humanness and the ways in which such features may be sought in the archaeological record of the early hominins. As a result, it demonstrates that humanness should be seen as a process of continuous becoming, well embedded in the dynamic interaction between human beings and their environs. Such a dynamic and relational view of being human is not only in accord with current archaeological research trends, but also has the potential of widening their scope’. Giorgos Vavouranakis (Associate Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens); Book Review of Dwelling: Heidegger, Archaeology, Mortality in, European Journal of Archaeology 24 (2) 2021, 266–291.
Philip has been invited to review for the following journals:
Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology,
Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences,
Journal of Education for Teaching,
International Journal of Philosophy,
American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly,
The New Yearbook for Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy,
Time and Mind: The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness and Culture,
Citizenship, Social and Economics Education.
Some of Philip's recent talks
2021 ‘Reinterpreting The Declaration of Arbroath: Scotus, Freedom and questions for today’s world’, Round-table, Thinking Without Borders Festival, 2.12.21.
2021 ‘Response to George Pattison A Phenomenology of the Devout Life’, Living, Speaking, Loving: Being and the Human in the Work of George Pattison, The University of Glasgow, 29.11.21.
2021 ‘Wayfarers and Dwellers: implications from phenomenological anthropology for ‘roots’ music heritage research’, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies Lecture Series Fall 2021, The University of Macau, 24.11.21
2021 ‘Celebrating the lives of those we Love’, Book Week Scotland, East Dunbartonshire Libraries, EDLC, 21.11.21
2019 ‘Dwelling in the Speaking of Language: a tale from the Perilous Realm’, Symposium on Fantasy and the Fantastic, University of Glasgow, 10.5.2019.
2018 ‘A just measure of violence’, & Session Proposer for Fairy Tales, children and the ‘perilous realm’ at, Contemporary Childhood Conference: Children in Space, Place and Time, University of Strathclyde, 6th – 7th September 2018.
2018 ‘Kenneth White, dwelling and nomadism: a geopoetics education for the 21st Century’, Franco-Scottish Literary Exchanges: Translation, Diaspora and Nomad Thought, RSE-Funded Research Network in Existential Philosophy and Literature, University of Glasgow, 29.5.2018.
2018 ‘Promoting a Research Engaged Teaching Profession’, with Professor Kate Wall, Dr Anna Beck and Mr Jonathan Firth, Engage with Strathclyde, (2.5.2018).
2018 ‘The very, very long 19th Century: untimely exchanges between Scotland, Germany and France’, Scottish Network for Nineteenth-Century European Cultures, University of Strathclyde, 29th March 2018.
2018 ‘Dwelling at the Pit of Bones’, University of Glasgow Philosophy Society, 14.3.2018.
2018 ‘Dwelling in the Speaking of Language: a tale from the Perilous Realm’, School of Humanities Research Seminar, University of Strathclyde (14.2.2018).
2017 ‘Teacher engagement with research: a confused agenda?’ Roundtable, Scottish Educational Research Association Annual Conference, 22-24th November 2017, University of the West of Scotland.
2017 ‘The Univocity of Being: Scotus, Heidegger, Deleuze’, at The Scottish Philosophical Heritage in France (From the Medieval Period to the End of the 17th Century), International Conference of the Existential Philosophy and Literature The Franco-Scottish Connection: Past and Present, (RSE funded project).
2016 ‘John Duns Scotus and Modern Philosophy’, Theology and Religious Studies Seminars, Theology and Religious Studies, School of Critical Studies, The University of Glasgow, 9th November, 2016.
2016 ‘John Duns Scotus in Modern Beholding’, John Duns Scotus (Study Day) Festival 2016
2016 ‘Supporting the development of teacher research: an exploration of Hutchesons’ Centre for Research, with Anna Beck and Jonathan Firth, SERA conference 2016, The University of Dundee, 23-25th November.
2022, (with Mia Perry and Giovanna Fassetta) Mapping pathways to sustainability in education, (£3200).
2020, (with Mark McLay, Catriona MacLeod and Sarah Anderson) Podcasting the Past, (£1767) https://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/education/research/elp/news/headline_815508_en.html
2020, (with Oscar Odena) Wayfarers: confronting the past through history and traditional music education in schools (£4856). https://thewayfarers.gla.ac.uk/?asdasdas=1
2010, Research Support Grant, Kellogg College, The University of Oxford (£121).
2009, Kellogg College Research Studentship (academic merit bursary), The University of Oxford (£300).
2008, (with Victoria Harrison), ‘Abstracta in Concreta: Engaging Museum Collections in Philosophical and Religious Studies Research’, (£1881.50), a collaborative research training day, The Higher Education Academy, Subject Centre for Philosophical and Religious Studies, Department of Philosophy, The University of Glasgow, and Glasgow Museums. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/6176874.pdf
2000, Cross Trust Summer Research Bursary, for research into the Human Genome Project in relation to Identity and Ethics (£500).
Philip is interested in supervising students in his areas of research interest.
Current PhD student(s):
Dorothy Munro (Co-supervisors, Dr Sally Zacharias and Dr Jennifer Farrar), 'An analysis of the impact of cross-curricular incorporation of metaphor awareness as a tool for enhanced literacy and increased attainment in both the English classroom and other secondary school subjects'.
Marcus Russell Slater (Co-supervisor Prof. James Conroy), 'Discovering Medieval monastical rhythm’.
Craig Agnew (Co-supervisor Dr Ramona Fotiade (SMLC)), 'I am therefore I am'.
Some past topics supervised at masters level:
'Decolonizing museum education in the Middle East';
'Comparing the Approaches and Outcomes of Community-Led vs. Institution-Led Environmental Education'.
'Scottish Universities in the Age of Enlightenment';
'A Nietzschean Pedagogy: Education as Philosophy';
'A comparison of Confucius and Plato on the philosophy of education'.
'Rising Tides – climate change education through an online video tour of a museum exhibition'.
- Slater, Marcus Russell
Discovering Medieval monastical rhythm
Philip currently teaches on a number of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, including:
In development: PGT 'Great Thinkers on Education'.
Some current teaching:
PGT: MEd & MSc core course, 'Modern Educational Thought'.
PGDE Secondary History, and PGDE Primary Social Subjects - History;
Master of Education, History.
Some past teaching:
The University of Strathclyde, (2016-2019) Courses: PGDE Modern Studies; Fairytales: Reuse, Retelling and Resilliance.
The Open University, (2007-2011) Courses: Islam in the west: the politics of co-existence; The Arts Past and Present and Philosophy and the Human Situation.
The University of Stirling, (2008) Course: Metaphysics and Morality.
The University of Glasgow, (2002-2008) Courses: Morality, Politics and Authenticity; Right and Wrong; Philosophy of Religion; Sense and Reason; Introduction to Moral Philosophy; Introduction to Phenomenology; Masters in Museum Studies.
Philip also supervises postgraduate students in his areas of research specialisation (see 'research interests and supervision').
Some of Philip's recent work in History and Education has been toward realising the following projects:
Podcasting the Past -
brings together Scottish history teachers with researchers and trainee teachers at the University of Glasgow. Designed to act as a point of reference for new teachers, or those coming to a particular topic for the first time, it offers c.30 minute discussions of topics in the Higher History curriculum.
Higher History Annual Conference and YouTube Channel -
A new series of history texbooks from Hodder Gibson, Connecting History Series (textbooks x14) -
For National 4 & 5 and Higher History. Fresh stories, fresh scholarship and a fresh structure. Connecting History informs and empowers tomorrow’s citizens, today.
Bringing together lesser-told narratives, academic excellence, accessibility and a sharp focus on assessment success, this series provides a rich, relevant and representative History curriculum.
- Seven units for Higher (publishing in 2022)
- Seven units for National 4 & 5 (publishing in 2023)
- Available in paperback and eBook formats
- Supporting digital resources
Philip is joint Convenor (with Dr David Lewin) of the SERA Theory and Philosophy of Education Research Network.
He is the Branch Secretary (Glasgow) for the joint Strathclyde-Glasgow Branch of The Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain: https://www.philosophy-of-education.org/about/branches.html
Philip is an affiliate of the European Pragmatism Association and is a Member of Archaeology Scotland's Archaeology Learning Working Group.
In 2015 Philip was involved in establishing The John Duns Scotus Network for the Study of Existential Philosophy, Literature and the Arts, which quickly morphed into the Royal Society of Edinburgh funded network 'Existential Philosophy and Literature - The Franco-Scottish Connection: Past and Present', under the guidance of Dr Ramona Fotiade, Prof. Alexander Broadie and the network team: https://existentialnetwork.com/welcome/
During the Existential Network Project Philip worked with school pupils who took part in the project. Thier work can be found here:
Philip has conducted interviews and discussions with a number of scholars, most recently with Prof. Tim Ingold. These interviews are available here: https://philiptonner.com/the-interview-pages/
Recordings of Philip's presentations at the RSE Existential Network are available here: https://philiptonner.com/research