Thomas Holden

Professor of Philosophy
Vice Chair
Director of Undergraduate Studies

Office Hours

By appointment

Contact Phone


Office Location

South Hall 5710


  • 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.

Selected Articles

“Religion and the Perversion of Philosophy in Hume’s Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals,” in Jacqueline Taylor, ed., Reading Hume on the Principles of Morals (Oxford University Press, 2020)

“Berkeley on Inconceivability and Impossibility,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (2019), 107-22    

“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 53 (2015), 647-67

“Hume’s Absolute Necessity,” Mind 123 (2014), 377-413  

“Bayle and the Case for Actual Parts,” Journal of the History of Philosophy 42 (2004), 145-64