Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)


The list below shows Durham University research staff who are members of IMEMS. Click the member's name to see a more detailed biography and department.

We also welcome anyone from outside the University with an interest in our work to join. Membership is free of charge. You will receive invitations to our programme of events, with a weekly emails digest about what is happening in the Insitute and further afield. To join IMEMS contact: admin.imems@durham.ac.uk

Dr Emily Thomas

(email at emily.e.thomas@durham.ac.uk)

Office Hours

By appointment. 


I’ve written a lot on space and time in early modern and early twentieth century philosophy. I’m also interested in lots of other metaphysical issues, including substance, change, motion, idealism, process, personal identity, and philosophy of religion. 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.

In 2018 I published two books: Absolute Time: Rifts in Early Modern British Metaphysics (Oxford University Press) and Early Modern Women on Metaphysics (Cambridge University Press). My earlier work was 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.

Over the last few years I’ve become fascinated by the philosophy of travel. What is travel? What is a map? What can travel teach philosophy, and how has philosophy affected travel? My popular book on these issues is forthcoming with Oxford University Press. 

Recently I’ve begun a new research 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? From 2020, this work will be supported by an AHRC Leadership Fellows grant.

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 and media work, see my personal website www.emilythomaswrites.co.uk

You can also listen to me talking about Bergson and time on BBC Radio 4's In Our Time, and follow me on twitter @emilytwrites

Teaching (2018-2019)

  • Knowledge & Reality 
  • Modern Philosophy I
  • MA Philosophical Perspectives

Administration Roles (2018-2019)

  • Tutor Manager
  • DELTA Co-ordinator
  • CHSS Co-ordinator 

Research Interests

  • Space and time
  • Early modern metaphysics
  • Early twentieth century metaphysics
  • Women in the history of philosophy
  • Philosophy of travel


Authored book

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article