Dr Tom Tyler

Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Culture

Tom graduated in Philosophy and History from Birmingham University before completing an MA and PhD in Cultural Studies at Leeds University. He has taught at Wolverhampton University, Derby University, the University College of Ripon & York St John, and at Leeds Metropolitan University. Tom joined Oxford Brookes University in 2004.


  • U75102 Understanding Media (2004-2009). The mass media are of profound importance to all of us living in today's instantaneous, globally-connected, advertising-saturated societies. But what are the media? And how do they affect us? This module introduces participants to key concepts and concerns in the study of the media. Analysing a wide range of contemporary examples we explore the ways in which the media are used for communication, consumption and control: from Derren Brown to Sex in the City, from The Times to The Matrix, we utilise a range of theories and probes to help us understand the impact and significance of the media.
  • U75105 Playing the Game (2005-2007). Digital games have come a long way since their emergence in the 1960s. Today's games are complex, multi-million pound creations providing sophisticated forms of interactive entertainment, education and professional training, medical therapy and healthcare, political and military simulation, and more. This module examines the unique pleasures and pains of digital gaming: we investigate how players become immersed and involved, and how they use and abuse games; we explore game design and development, the gendered nature of play, and the moral panics that have surrounded this new medium; and we consider the future potential of digital game culture.
  • U75108 Understanding Culture. This module introduces students to key concepts, theories and themes within the study of culture. It enables participants to investigate and reflect critically on different aspects of culture, and to explore the impact of contemporary culture on individuals and society. It asks how to make sense of cultural artefacts, activities and events, and to reflect on the relationship between culture and representation, identity and power. In doing so it presents students with a range of theories and key concepts with which to engage with contemporary culture.
  • U75131 Design for Online Communication. Designing a successful website requires specialist skills and knowledge. At its best, effective online communication combines theory, technical knowledge and creativity. This module considers issues of design, layout, usability and accessibility in the construction of contemporary websites, and examines what it takes to produce a site that is fit for purpose. Particants are introduced to the fundamental practical elements of webdesign, including HTML and CSS, and create a website of their own design using Dreamweaver and Photoshop. No prior experience of webdesign is required.
  • U75184 Subject to Culture. Everyone likes to think that they are unique, with their own personality and identity, their own beliefs and ideas, their own distinct sense of self. But are we really all so different, or are we subject to a variety of cultural and social pressures that determine who we are? Using a range of objects and artefacts chosen by participants this double honours module provides students with new and challenging ways of thinking about their place within culture, and about how culture places itself within individuals. From masks to mind-viruses, from plagues to prisons, from cyborgs to subversive sexualities, we investigate how we are all subject to culture.


My research is interdisciplinary, engaging with animal studies, cultural studies, critical theory, history of ideas, philosophy, media studies, game studies, and the conceptual dimensions of other fields. To date, I have pursued research into three related domains:

  1. Animals. I am interested in the ambiguous roles that non-human animals have been required to play, frequently unacknowledged, in the texts of philosophy, critical theory, and elsewhere. From Buridan's ass to Schopenhauer's porcupines, from Austin's pigs to Derrida's cat, we find a mischievous menagerie of animals pressed into service, or suppressed by the notion of an amorphous 'animality'. I have discussed the instructive animals and fabulous races that inhabited the bestiaries and monstrous manuscripts of the Middle Ages. I am especially interested in apes, ancient and modern, and have written on the taxonomy of the chimpanzee, to which genus Homo sapiens truly belongs.
  2. Anthropocentrism. I am interested in the variety of anthropocentric arguments and assumptions that permeate, but are rarely intrinsic to, a wide range of philosophies, from Kant's critical idealism to Moore's common sense realism, from Whorf's linguistic relativism to Heidegger's hyperhumanism. My work has traced the relations and disparities between a number of these human-centred starting-points and the philosophical systems into which they are imported. My writing has been informed particularly by Nietzsche's perspectivism, Wittgenstein's pragmatism, Foucault's historicism, and by the counter-teleological approach of evolutionary theory.
  3. Games. I am interested in digital games, especially in their impact and import as a medium or technology, and in the distinct forms of participation and engagement that they make possible. From the immersive environments of Civilization to the persistent play of In Memoriam, from the inviting alterity of Dog's Life's 'Smellovision' to the powers and capacities of Titan Quest's virtual creatures, digital games are endlessly illustrative of the pervasive play-element of culture. I have made particular use, in this regard, of McLuhan's provocative probes into the operation and effects of media technologies.


Funding, awards and fellowships

Editorships and memberships



  • Journal articles

Journal articles


Dr Tom Tyler

Tel: +44 (0)1865 488519
Fax: +44 (0)1865 483887

postal address

Selected Publications

CIFERAE: A Bestiary in Five Fingers CIFERAE: A Bestiary in Five Fingers, 2012

Animal Encounters Animal Encounters, 2009

Animal Beings Animal Beings, 2006