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Durham University

Department of Philosophy


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

Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy

(email at


Office hours: Michaelmas 2018 - Monday 1-4pm

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, in trying to make sense of the character of wakeful consciousness, and of our knowledge of modality. She is working on a number of papers that bring these interests into synchrony, while also thinking, through working on the In Parenthesis project, about philosophical method and practice.

Clare is 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:

She is also an investigator on the In Parenthesis project, which focuses on the life, work and friendships of Iris Murdoch, Philippa Foot, Elizabeth Anscombe and Mary Midgley. The project is investigating whether the collective corpus of these philosophers has the hallmarks of a distinct philosophical school. Read about it 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.

Since 2016, Clare has been the Director of the Mind, Language and Metaphysics Research Cluster at Durham.


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

  • Aesthetics, Ethics and Politics
  • Applied Phenomenology
  • Mind, Language and Metaphysics

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)


Chapter in book

  • Mac Cumhaill, Clare (Accepted). 'Raum' and 'room': Comments on Anton Marty on Space Perception. In Anton Marty and Contemporary Philosophy. Leblanc, H. & Bacligalupo, G. Palgrave McMillan.
  • Mac Cumhaill, C. (2018). Nonsense and Visual Evanescence. In Perceptual Ephemera. Crowther, T. & Mac Cumnhaill, C. OUP.
  • Mac Cumhaill, C. (2017). Night Fight. In The Ontology of Emotion. Naar, H. & Teroni, F. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 187-208.

Edited book

  • Wiseman, R., Mac Cumhaill, C. & Dolezal, L. (Planned). Uncommon Sense Philosophy: Anscombe, Foot, Midgley and Murdoch Vols I-IV. Bloomsbury (under contract).
  • Mac Cumhaill, Clare & Crowther, Thomas (2018). Perceptual Ephemera. Oxford Oxford University Press.

Journal Article