Thomas Holden

Thomas Holden
Professor of Philosophy
Director of Undergraduate Studies

Office Hours

Th 2:30-4:30

Contact Phone


Office Location

South Hall 5710


Research Interests

  • Modern Philosophy


  • PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


My research focuses on the history of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century philosophy, particularly the metaphysics, natural philosophy and metaphilosophy of the period. Publications include Spectres of False Divinity: Hume’s Moral Atheism (Oxford, 2010), a critical examination of Hume’s case for the amorality of any first cause or designer, and hence the irrelevance of theological speculation for human practice or conduct. In The Architecture of Matter: Galileo to Kant (Oxford, 2004) I examined early modern debates over infinite divisibility, atomism and the ontology of material parts. More recently I’ve been working on Hobbes's philosophy of language and philosophy of religion, on the reception of Hume in the Romantic age, and on early modern accounts of the metaphysics of absolute necessity.



Spectres of False Divinity: Hume’s Moral Atheism. Oxford University Press,  2010.

The Architecture of Matter: Galileo to Kant. Oxford University Press,  2004.


"Berkeley on Inconceivability and Impossibility," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 98.1 (2019), 107-22.

"Hume on Religious Language and the Attributes of God," in Angela Coventry and Alex Sager, ed., The Humean Mind (Routledge, 2019), 182-92.

"Hobbes on the Authority of Scripture," Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy 8 (2018), 68-95.

“Hobbes on the Function of Evaluative Speech," Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (2016), 123-44.

“Hobbes’s First Cause," Journal of the History of Philosophy, (2015), pages 647–67.

“Hume’s Absolute Necessity," Mind, Vol.123 (2014), pages 377–413.

“‘The Modern Disciple of the Academy’: Hume, Shelley, and Sir William Drummond”, Journal of Scottish Philosophy, Vol. 9 (2011), pages 161–88.

“Robert Boyle on Things above Reason," British Journal for the History of Philosophy, Vol. 15 (2007), pages 283–312.

“Hume on Religious Affect," Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie, Vol. 89 (2007), pages 283–306.

“Religion and Moral Prohibition in Hume’s ‘Of Suicide’”, Hume Studies, Vol. 31 (2005), pages 189–210.

“Bayle and the Case for Actual Parts," Journal of the History of Philosophy, Vol. 42 (2004), pages 145–64.

“Infinite Divisibility and Actual Parts in Hume’s Treatise," Hume Studies, Vol. 28 (2002), pages 3-25.