O'Hear was a Government special adviser on education for approximately ten years. He was especially influential during the time of Margaret Thatcher and John Major as Prime Minister when he was teaching at Bradford University. He continues to be active in conservative circles, especially in advocating social conservatism. His relationship with New Labour was more troubled. Tony Blair- who was himself criticised for having "exploited (her) death for political ends... gushing about the People's Princess, standing at the airport to receive her coffin as if he were the Head of State"- dismissed O'Hear as an "old-fashioned snob" for his views on Diana, Princess of Wales (views which obtained substantial media coverage). A. N. Wilson wrote in support of O'Hear's view: "When Professor Anthony O'Hear claimed that Diana represented "fake Britain", many a bosom will have returned an echo. His claim that she stood for "the evaluation of feeling, image and spontaneity over reason, reality and restraint" might have been ignored, had not its sour tone been almost justified by the response of the Prime Minister." O'Hear has, however, endorsed the cultural policies of the Attlee government.
His publications include:
- Karl Popper (1980)
- What Philosophy Is (1985)
- The Element of Fire (1989)
- An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science (1990)
- Beyond Evolution (1997)
- After Progress (1999)
- Introducing Christianity (2000)
- Philosophy in the New Century (2001)
- Plato's Children (2006)
- The Great Books: From The Iliad and The Odyssey to Goethe's Faust: A journey through 2,500 years of the West's classic literature (2007)
- Find My Past website
- Gibson, Robert (April 19, 1998). "Blair's Blast at the Diana `Snobs'". Sunday Mirror (London, England). Retrieved November 5, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- 1998. Author defends Diana criticism, BBC.
- 1998 Spectator article