Dr Emily Thomas
Associate Professor / On research leave
|Associate Professor / On research leave in the Department of Philosophy|
|Associate Member in the Centre for Humanities Engaging Science and Society (CHESS)|
|Member of the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies|
Currently on research leave.
I’ve written a lot on space and time in seventeenth to early twentieth century philosophy. I’m also interested in the metaphysics of substance, change, motion, idealism, process, personal identity, and philosophy of religion. I'm fascinated by the philosophy of travel. I like digging out the work of rich but under-studied figures, including women philosophers who have traditionally been neglected in the history of philosophy.
I have published two scholarly books: Absolute Time: Rifts in Early Modern British Metaphysics (2018, Oxford University Press) and Early Modern Women on Metaphysics (2018, Cambridge University Press). I have also written a trade book, The Meaning of Travel: Philosophers Abroad (2020, Oxford University Press). It explores philosophical issues around travel, from the “Age of Discovery” to the present day, including maps, climate change, and wilderness. Amongst other places, it's been reviewed in The Wall Street Journal, The Spectator, and Literary Review.
In 2020, I won a Philip Leverhulme Prize for exceptional research. My earlier work has been supported by a Veni research grant from the Netherlands Research Council, a stipend from the John Templeton Foundation, and a Rising Star grant from the British Academy.
Recently I’ve begun a new, AHRC Leadership Fellows project, into early twentieth century metaphysics of time. Does the present moment move? Is the future real? Does time have a direction? At the turn of the twentieth century, why did British philosophers become so worried about these questions?
I am committed to getting philosophy out beyond the academy. You can listen to me talking about Bergson and time on BBC Radio 4's In Our Time; and about travel on BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week. My writing has appeared in venues such as Aeon, the New Statesman, History Today, and The Conversation.
I tweet regularly about philosophy @emilytwrites
In addition to my position at Durham, I am an Honorary Fellow at the ACU Dianoia Institute of Philosophy. Previously, I studied for my PhD at the University of Cambridge (2013), and held a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Groningen (2013-2016). I sit on editorial or advisory boards for the British Journal for the History of Philosophy, the International Association for the Philosophy of Time, and the Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Philosophers. At Durham, I am a Senior Fellow of University "Castle" College. For my popular books I am represented by United Agents.
For further information about my research, popular writing, and media work, please see my personal website www.emilythomaswrites.co.uk
- Space and time
- Early modern metaphysics
- Nineteenth & twentieth century metaphysics
- Women in the history of philosophy
- Philosophy of travel
- Pictures in the history of philosophy
- Thomas, Emily (Accepted). Victoria Welby. Cambridge University Press.
- Thomas, Emily (2020). The Meaning of Travel: Philosophers Abroad. Oxford University Press.
- Thomas, Emily (2018). Absolute Time: Rifts in Early Modern British Metaphysics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Thomas, Emily (2022). The Unknowable: A Study in Nineteenth-Century British Metaphysics, by W. J. Mander. Mind 131(521): 357-361.
Chapter in book
- Thomas, Emily (Accepted). Cavendish, Conway, and Cockburn on Matter. In The Routledge Handbook of Women and Early Modern European Philosophy. Detlefsen, Karen & Shapiro, Lisa Routledge.
- Thomas, Emily (Accepted). Locke, Newton, and Edmund Law. In The Lockean Mind. Gordon-Roth, Jessica & Weinberg, Shelley Routledge.
- Janiak, Andrew & Thomas, Emily (2022). Space and its Relationship to God. In Cambridge History of the Scientific Revolution. Miller, David & Jalobeanu, Dana Cambridge Cambridge University Press. 424-438.
- Thomas, Emily (2022). Metaphysical Idealists in Britain: Constance Naden, Victoria Welby, and Arabella Buckley. In Oxford Handbook of American and British Women Philosophers in the Nineteenth Century. Stone, Alison & Moland, Lydia Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Thomas, Emily (2020). The History of Philosophy and its Disappeared Women. In Philosophy by Women: 23 Philosophers Reflect on Philosophy and Its Values. Vintiadis, Elly Routledge.
- Thomas, Emily (2020). Travel Writing and Early Modern Experimental Philosophy. In Encyclopedia of Early Modern Philosophy and the Sciences.
- Thomas, Emily (2018). Anne Conway on the Identity of Creatures over Time. In Early Modern Women on Metaphysics. Thomas, Emily Cambridge Cambridge University Press.
- Thomas, Emily (2017). Creation, Divine Freedom, and Catharine Cockburn: An Intellectualist on Possible Worlds and Contingent Laws. In Women and Liberty, 1600-1800. Oxford Oxford University Press.
- Thomas, Emily (2016). Samuel Alexander’s Spacetime God: A Naturalist Rival to Current Emergentist Theologies. In Alternative Concepts of God. Buckareff, Andrei A. & Nagasawa, Yujin Oxford: Oxford University Press. 255-273.
- Thomas, Emily (2018). Early Modern Women on Metaphysics. Cambridge University Press.
- Thomas, Emily (2022). The Specious Present in English Philosophy 1749-1785: On David Hartley, Joseph Priestley, Abraham Tucker, and William Watson. Philosophers' Imprint
- Thomas, Emily (2022). Mary Calkins, Victoria Welby, and the Spatialisation of Time. British Journal for the History of Philosophy
- Thomas, Emily (2022). The Obsession with Time in 1880s-1930s American-British Philosophy. British Journal for the History of Philosophy
- Thomas, Emily (2022). Constance Naden’s Metaphysics: Hylo-Idealism’s Ideal Known World and Unknown Matter. Journal of the History of Philosophy
- Thomas, Emily (2021). Time through time: its evolution through western philosophy in seven ideas. Think 20(58): 23-38.
- Thomas, Emily (2020). Time and Subtle Pictures in the History of Philosophy. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 120(2): 97-121.
- Thomas, Emily (2020). Anne Conway as a Priority Monist: A Reply to Gordon-Roth. Journal of the American Philosophical Association 6(3): 275-284.
- Thomas, Emily (2019). The Idealism and Pantheism of May Sinclair. Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5(2): 137-157.
- Thomas, Emily (2019). The Roots of C. D. Broad’s Growing Block Theory of Time. Mind 128(510): 527-549.
- Thomas, Emily (2017). Time, Space, and Process in Anne Conway. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25(5): 990-1010.
- Thomas, Emily (2016). On the “Evolution” of Locke’s Space and Time Metaphysics. History of Philosophy Quarterly 33(4): 305-325.
- Thomas, Emily (2015). Henry More and the development of absolute time. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 54: 11-19.
- Thomas, Emily (2015). Hilda Oakeley on Idealism, History and the Real Past. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 23(5): 933-953.
- Thomas, Emily (2015). British Idealist Monadologies and the Reality of Time: Hilda Oakeley Against McTaggart, Leibniz, and Others. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 23(6): 1150-1168.
- Thomas, Emily (2015). Catharine Cockburn on Unthinking Immaterial Substance: Souls, Space, and Related Matters. Philosophy Compass 10(4): 255-263.
- Thomas, Emily (2015). In Defense of Real Cartesian Motion. Journal of the History of Philosophy 53(4): 747-762.
- Thomas, Emily (2013). Space, Time, and Samuel Alexander. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21(3): 549-569.
- Thomas, Emily (2013). Catharine Cockburn on Substantival Space. History of Philosophy Quarterly 30(3): 195-214.
- Thomas, Emily & Leech, Jessica (2013). Baking with Kant and Bradley. British Idealism and Collingwood Studies 19(1): 75-94.