About this blog

My day job is teaching and writing academic philosophy at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. (For more about my academic work see here.) But here on this personal blog and in my own time, I try to do a different kind of philosophy.

I am required to emphasise that although my university may appreciate any positive attention that attaching their name to mine brings them, the ideas I express here are entirely my own. Tilburg University cannot be held responsible for what I write here. My mistakes are my own.

Public Philosophy

First, I write for the general public rather than for a specialised sub-group of philosophers. You shouldn't need to have gone to grad school to understand what I'm talking about, or to care about the topics I discuss.

Second, I write about issues, from prison to love and robots, that I am not an expert on but that I want to try to think through by writing. This blog is not the kind of public service that reports or translates the discoveries of academic philosophy into something ordinary people can understand. I write for myself as well for my readers. What I am trying to do here are essays in Montaigne's sense: personal efforts at making sense of the world.

I do not claim - as I implicitly must do in my academic work - that what I write here qualifies as a definitive contribution to the sum of human knowledge. To the contrary, I am continuously revising my past essays as I reflect further, read further, and am persuaded by the comments of readers of errors of judgement, fact, or reason.

Published Essays

Several of my blog essays have been republished elsewhere, such as in Think, QuartzPhilosophy Now, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Religion and Ethics site, and Open Democracy.

I write a regular column for 3 Quarks Daily and I have also written original pieces for Aeon magazine and The Critique.


Several of my blog essays are available to republish directly under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. To discuss publishing other pieces or adaptations please write to me at thetomwells at gmail.com

A note on pseudonymity

For the first few years of this blog's life I wrote under a pseudonym (my middle name) because I felt a greater freedom to choose what to write about and how. Perhaps I was also afraid that my naive scribblings would get me laughed out of the academy. Now that I have my PhD I feel more confident putting my name behind my online writing and some sense of responsibility to do so.