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Durham University

Department of Philosophy


Publication details for Dr Emily Thomas

Thomas, Emily (2015). Hilda Oakeley on Idealism, History and the Real Past. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 23(5): 933-953.

Author(s) from Durham


In the early twentieth century, Hilda Diana Oakeley (1867–1950) set out a new kind of British idealism. Oakeley is an idealist in the sense that she holds mind to actively contribute to the features of experience, but she also accepts that there is a world independent of mind. One of her central contributions to the idealist tradition is her thesis that minds construct our experiences using memory. This paper explores the theses underlying her idealism, and shows how they are intricately connected to the wider debates of her period. I go on to explain how the parts of Oakeley's idealism are connected to further areas of her thought – specifically, her views on history and her growing block theory of time – to provide a sense of Oakeley's philosophy as a system. As there is no existing literature on Oakeley, this paper aims to open a path for further scholarship.