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Durham University

Department of Philosophy


Publication details for Dr Emily Thomas

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.

Author(s) from Durham


In the early twentieth century, a rare strain of British idealism emerged which took Leibniz's Monadology as its starting point. This paper discusses a variant of that strain, offered by Hilda Oakeley (1867–1950). I set Oakeley's monadology in its philosophical context and discuss a key point of conflict between Oakeley and her fellow monadologists: the unreality of time. Oakeley argues that time is fundamentally real, a thesis arguably denied by Leibniz and subsequent monadologists, and by all other British idealists. This paper discusses Oakeley's argument for the reality of time, and Oakeley's attack on the most famous account of the unreality of time offered in her day: that of J. M. E. McTaggart. I show that Oakeley's critique of McTaggart can be extended to challenge all monadologists, including that of the great monad, Leibniz himself.