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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Dr. Clare Mac Cumhaill, BA Hons (TCD, Dublin), MA (SOAS, London), PhD (Edinburgh)

Associate Professor (Research Leave) in the Department of Philosophy

(email at


Office hours: On Leave 2019-2020

Clare Mac Cumhaill (pronounced Mc Cool!) is a philosopher of mind, working mostly on perception, but with interests in emotion and action, as well as aspects of the metaphysics of mind, and in topics relating to aesthetics. Most of her work is on perception of space, and spatial properties. Her doctoral thesis looked at the perception of empty space and she is still somewhat hung up on this topic, though the ambit of her interests has expanded into working out what explanatory work reflection on space can do, in particular in trying to characterize the nature of our experience in ways that make it immune to skeptical re-description.

With Rachael Wiseman (Liverpool), she is co-director of the In Parenthesis project, which focuses on the life, work and friendships of Iris Murdoch, Philippa Foot, Elizabeth Anscombe and Mary Midgley (sometimes called the Quartet). The project is investigating whether the collective corpus of these philosophers has the hallmarks of a distinct philosophical school. Read about it here: 

In future work, Clare plans to bring her interests in space and time into synchrony with themes from the Quartet.

Clare is also a founding member of the (S)PIN research collective which brings philosophers of perception in the north together to work on the kinds of projects that are detailed here:

In 2012-2013, before joining Durham, Clare was a postdoc with thumos, the Genevan research group for emotion, norms and values, with whom she still has an affiliation. She was awarded her PhD from Edinburgh in 2012.


Administrative Role

Director of Mind, Language and Metaphysics Research Cluster

Co-ordinator of Equality and Welfare in the Philosophy of Department/Athena Swan Submission Lead

Research Groups

Department of Philosophy

Research Interests

  • History of Philosophy
  • Metaphysics and Ontology of Mind
  • Philosophy of Action
  • Philosophy of Perception

Teaching Areas

  • Aesthetics (Third Year Module)

  • MA Mind and Action (Module Leader)

  • Philosophy of Mind (Second Year Module)

  • Reading Philosophy - Hume and Anscombe (First Year Module)


Authored book

  • Mac Cumhaill, Clare & Wiseman, Rachael (Forthcoming). The Quartet (Provisional). Chatto and Windus (UK), Doubleday (US).

Edited book

  • Mac Cumhaill, Clare & Crowther, Thomas (2018). Perceptual Ephemera. Oxford Oxford University Press.

Chapter in book

  • Mac Cumhaill, Clare & Wiseman, Rachael (Forthcoming). Sensation and the Grammar of Life: Anscombe's Philosophy of Perception. In Purpose and Procedure in Philosophy of Perception. Logue, Heather & Richardson, Louise Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Mac Cumhaill, Clare (2019). 'Raum' and 'room': Comments on Anton Marty on Space Perception. In Anton Marty and Contemporary Philosophy. Leblanc, H. & Bacligalupo, G. Palgrave McMillan.
  • Mac Cumhaill, Clare (2018). Nonsense and Visual Evanescence. In Perceptual Ephemera. Crowther, T. & Mac Cumhaill, C. Oxford University Press.
  • Mac Cumhaill, Clare (2017). Night Fight. In The Ontology of Emotions. Naar, H. & Teroni, F. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 187-208.

Journal Article