Dr Philip Tonner

  • Lecturer in Education (History) (Pedagogy, Praxis & Faith)


Philip is a philosopher and anthropologist based in the School of Education at the University of Glasgow. 

He joined the University in August 2019 as Lecturer in Education. Before arriving at Glasgow Philip taught at a number of secondary schools and Universities in the UK (see below). Philip has been both a verifier and marker for the Scottish Qualifications Authority and he was centrally involved in establishing the first school based research centre in Scotland. Philip has also worked in the museum sector: while with Glasgow Museums as Research Support Officer, he worked in a multidisciplinary context across the fields of Art and Design, Natural History, Human History and Transport and Technology. Part of his role there was to identify sources of funding for projects and to assist in the preparation of grant applications. Philip acted as project secretary on certain projects and was involved in organising conferences and seminars, and with other areas of museum research and practice more generally. 

Philip holds a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Glasgow (2006) and a DPhil in Archaeology from the University of Oxford (2016). This more recent project examined the development of "the hominin mind" from its earliest beginnings through the Upper Palaeolithic Revolution (ca 50,000 ya) to the period of the last 10,000 years. It included an examination of the event referred to as the ‘human revolution’, that has been associated with the appearance of language, with the cognitively fluid modularized mind, with evidence for the external storage of symbolic data and with the appearance of a theory of mind implicated in religious belief. Philip developed the 'dwelling perspective', an approach in the social sciences, in an evolutionary context that sought an integrated approach to questions in archaeology, anthropology, psychology, philosophy and human evolutionary studies, with particular reference to mortuary practice. Philip's earlier thesis in philosophy engaged with the concept of the univocity of being, and with the philosophers Aristotle, Duns Scotus, Martin Heidegger and Gilles Deleuze. It also critically engaged with Heidegger’s philosophy of art in relation to history.

Philip also holds a PGDE in Education from the University of Strathlcyde (2006). Between 2005 and 2011 Philip was an Honorary Research Fellow in Philosophy in the College of Arts at the University of Glasgow. He is the author of three books, Heidegger, Metaphysics and the Univocity of Being (Continuum 2010), Phenomenology Between Aesthetics and Idealism (Noesis Press 2015) and Dwelling: Heidegger, Archaeology, Mortality (Routledge 2018). In June 2019 Philip was an Invited Visiting Research Scholar at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Macau, where he collaborated with Professor Victoria Harrison on the 'Philosophy of Museums' entry for Oxford Bibliographies. Philip holds Fellowships of the Higher Education Academy, The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and the Royal Society of Arts. He is the PGR Convenor for Pedagogy, Praxis and Faith.

Some Previous Positions 

2017-2019, Lecturer in Education, School of Education, The University of Strathclyde.

2014-2017, Head of Philosophy and Religion & Director of the Hutchesons’ Centre for Research, Hutchesons’ Grammar School.

2013-2017, External Verifier for Philosophy (NQ), Marker for Higher Philosophy, The Scottish Qualifications Authority. Internal Verifier for Higher Philosophy, St Columba’s School, Duchal Rd, Kilmacolm, PA13 4AU. Verifier for CfE Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies and Higher Philosophy, The Scottish Qualifications Authority and Hutchesons' Grammar School.

2012-2014, Teacher with Responsibility for Philosophy, Hutchesons’ Grammar School.

2011-2012, Teacher of Philosophy, Hutchesons’ Grammar School.

2009-2011, Lecturer, The University of Glasgow (secondment from Glasgow Museums). 

2008-2011, Honorary Lecturer, College of Arts, School of Humanities (formerly the Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute) University of Glasgow.

2008-2011, Co-Director, Centre for Technology and Phenomenological Research, Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute (HATII), University of Glasgow.   

2008-2011, Research Support Officer, Research and Major Projects Section, Glasgow Museums, Culture and Sport Glasgow.

2008, Teaching Assistant, Department of Philosophy, University of Stirling. 

2007-2011, Associate Lecturer, Faculty of Arts, Open University.

2006-2011, Honorary Research Fellow, College of Arts, School of Humanities (formerly Department of Philosophy) University of Glasgow.

2006-2008, Teacher, Religious Education and Philosophy, Glasgow City Council.

2005, TV  Researcher, for Nations and Regions, BBC: ‘Age of Genius’, presented by Andrew Marr, series producer, Andrew Hutton, BBC4 and BBC2.

2002-2008, Graduate Teaching Assistant & Internal Examiner, Department of Philosophy, University of Glasgow.



Research interests

Philip is interested in a range of areas within philosophy, the philosophy of education, anthropology/archaeology/human evolution and museums and heritage. He has published widely in these fields, most recently at the intersection of anthropology, archaeology, psychology and philosophy in Dwelling: Heidegger, Archaeology, Mortality (Routledge 2018). Philip is also interested in history education, philosophy education and religious education. 

His current work focusses on the problematic of learning, as this is approached from the perspectives outlined above. 

Some representative publications:


Dwelling: Heidegger, Archaeology, Mortality, London and New York: Routledge, 2018.

Phenomenology Between Aesthetics and Idealism: An Essay in the History of Ideas, Aurora, Colorado: Noesis Press, 2015.

Heidegger, Metaphysics and the Univocity of Being, London and New York: Continuum, 2010.

Book chapters

‘Museums, Ethics and Truth: Why Museums’ Collecting Policies Must Face up to the Problem of Testimony’ in, Philosophy and Museums: Essays on the Philosophy of Museums, Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement: 79, ed. A. Bergqvist, V.S. Harrison and G. Kemp, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2016.

‘Did Homo erectus dwell? Heidegger, archaeology and the future of phenomenology’ in, Heidegger in the Twenty-First Century, Contributions to Phenomenology, Vol. 80, ed. T. Georgakis and P. Ennis, Springer, 2015.

‘Art, materiality and the meaning of being: Heidegger on the work of art and the significance of things’ in, Heidegger and the Work of Art History, ed. A. Boetzkes and A. Vinegar, Ashgate, 2014.

‘Between Medieval and Modern beholding: Heidegger, Deleuze and the Duns Scotus affair’ in, Heresy and the Making of European Culture: medieval and modern perspectives, ed. A. Roach and J. Simpson, Ashgate, 2013.

‘Are animals poor in the world? A critique of Heidegger’s anthropocentrism’ in, Anthropocentrism: Investigations into the History of an Idea, ed. R. Boddice, Brill 2011.

‘Archaeologies and Geographies of Value’ (with G. Higginbottom) in, Unquiet Pasts: Risk Society, Lived Cultural Heritage, Re-designing Reflexivity, ed. I. Russell and S. Koerner, Ashgate, 2010.


‘Heidegger, Heterotopic Dwelling and Prehistoric Art: An Initial Indication of a Field of Research’ in, Religions 2018, 9(12), 405.

‘Abstracta in Concreta: Engaging Museum Collections in Philosophical and Religious Studies Research’ (with V. Harrison), Learning at the Interface Case Study, University of Brighton, 2011. 

‘Making Connections: some initial thoughts on communication, constructivism and formative assessment’, in, Discourse: Learning and Teaching in Philosophical and Religious Studies, Volume 8, No.2, Spring 2009.

‘The Return of the Relative: Hamilton, Bergson, Merleau-Ponty and French Phenomenology’, in, Janus Head, Volume 11, Issues 1 & 2, Summer/Fall 2008.

‘Duns Scotus’s concept of the univocity of being: another look’, in, Pli: The Warwick Journal of Philosophy, Volume 18, Spring 2007.

Companion/Glossary entries

‘Philosophy of Museums’ in, Oxford Bibliographies: with V. Harrison (forthcoming). 

‘Interpretation’ in, Society for Archaeological Sciences, Encyclopedia of Archaeological Sciences, Editor in Chief, Dr. Sandra Lopez Varela, Wiley-Blackwell, 2018.

‘Foucault’, in, The Continuum Companion to Continental Philosophy, ed. J. Mullarkey and B. Lord, Continuum, 2009. 

‘Marx and Marxism’, in, The Continuum Companion to Continental Philosophy, ed. J. Mullarkey and B. Lord, Continuum, 2009.

‘Structuralism’, in, The Continuum Companion to Continental Philosophy, ed. J. Mullarkey and B. Lord, Continuum, 2009.



List by: Type | Date


2008, (with Victoria Harrison), The Higher Education Academy, Subject Centre for Philosophical and Religious Studies, Research training and professional development for doctoral students in philosophical and religious studies award for, ‘Abstracta in Concreta: Engaging Museum Collections in Philosophical and Religious Studies Research’, a collaborative research training one-day seminar. Department of Philosophy, The University of Glasgow and Glasgow Museums (£1881.50).


Philip is interested in supervising students in his areas of research interest.

Current PhD student(s): 

Kate Ramsay, thesis: 'Interpretation and the Museum'.


Philip teaches on a number of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, including:

PGT: Modern Educational Thought;

PGDE Secondary History and PGDE Primary Social Subjects;

M.Educ Social Studies: including the electives 'Heritage, Citizenship and Sustainability' and 'Cultural Studies in the Arts and Humanities'. 

Philip also supervises postgraduate students in his areas of research specialisation (see research interests and supervision). 


Additional information

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

He is a member of The John Dewey Society and of the International Network of Philosophers of Education. Philip is also an affiliate of the European Pragmatism Association.

Philip is a Member of Council of the Glasgow Archaeological Society and a volunteer leader (since 2006) with a Junior Archaeology Club (based at Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow). An early highlight of his involvement with the JAC was working with the kids, together with founder-leader of the club, Jim Devine, in their contribution to 'The Frontiers of the Roman Empire: The European Dimension of a World Heritage Site' project, which led to the Antonine Wall being designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. A further highlight of his involvement with the club was participating in the testing and development of the audio tour of the Glenlee (The Tall Ship) in Glasgow, which has subsequently been developed into a phone app. 

Philip is a Member of Archaeology Scotland's Archaeology Learning Working Group and in 2015 he 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/