Dr Edward Thornton

Educational background

BA Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge

MA Birkbeck College, University of London

PhD Royal Holloway, University of London

Research interests

My research concerns the history of European philosophy. My specific interests include 20th century European philosophy, metaphysics, metaphilosophy, political philosophy, and post-structuralism. I also have research interests in the history and theory of psychoanalysis, especially in the field of institutional psychotherapy.


I am currently working on a metaphilosophical problem concerning the institutional boundaries of the discipline of philosophy. In brief, I am interested in trying to distinguish what philosophy can do, from what it cannot. This work touches on a number of perennial philosophical problems, for example the question of the possibility of metaphysics.


My PhD, which was completed at Royal Holloway in 2018, was titled 'On Lines of Flight: A Study of Deleuze and Guattari's Concept'. This project offered an analysis of the philosophical and political implications of the collaborative work completed by the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze and the psychoanalyst and militant Félix Guattari. The project was supported by a full AHRC scholarship (awarded by the TECHNE Research Consortium) and was supervised by Professor Nathan Widder and Dr Henry Somers-Hall. The external examiner was Professor Daniel W Smith (Purdue University) and the internal examiner was Dr John Sellars.


While at Royal Holloway I have taught a wide range of core philosophy modules. I am currently the course convenor for the third-year module ‘Modern European Philosophy 2: Critical Theory to Post Structuralism’ (PY3003) and the first-year module ‘Tutorial Special Study’ (PY1102). In previous years I have been the convenor for ‘Introduction to Modern Philosophy’ (PY1002), ‘Introduction to Logic’ (PY1103), and ‘Mind and Consciousness’ (PY1105). I have also provided teaching support for ‘Introduction to Ancient Philosophy’ (PY1541), ‘Introduction to Political Philosophy’ (PY1104), ‘Classic and Contemporary Readings in Politics and International Relations’ (PR1500), ‘Epistemology and Metaphysics’ (PY1101), and ‘Philosophy and the Arts’ (PY2005).


In 2019 I was awarded a College Excellence Teaching Prize for a special initiative I devised to help teach formal logic in a practical setting. The initiative was called Russell’s Parabox and you can read about it here: https://intranet.royalholloway.ac.uk/staff/teaching/teaching-learning/russell's-parabox-a-live-action-game-for-the-logical.aspx


If you are interested in working with me as your undergraduate dissertation supervisor, please do get in touch.

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