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Iain Thomson

Honors Advisor

Photo: Iain Thomson

Office: Humanities 523
Hours: Thursdyas 3:15-4:30 and by appointment
Personal Website

  • B.A. (UC Berkeley, '91)
  • M.A. (UC San Diego, '94)
  • Graduate Work (UC Irvine, '94)
  • Ph.D. (UC San Diego, '99)

Research Interests:

19th and 20th Century Continental philosophy, esp. Heidegger

Teaching Interests:

Professor Thomson regularly teaches "Introduction to Philosophy," "Existentialism," "Modern Political Philosophy," and various courses on contemporary continental philosophy, focusing on figures such as Heidegger, Levinas, and Derrida, or on issues like the philosophical significance of death, technology, and nihilism.

Recent Publications:

Heidegger on Ontotheology: Technology and the Politics of Education (Cambridge UP, 2005)

"Can I Die? Derrida on Heidegger on Death," Philosophy Today 43:1 (1999), 29-42

"From the Question Concerning Technology to the Quest for a Democratic Technology: Heidegger, Marcuse, Feenberg," Inquiry 43:2 (2000), 203-16

"Ontotheology? Understanding Heidegger's Destruktion of Metaphysics," International Journal of Philosophical Studies 8:3 (2000), 297-327

"What's Wrong with Technological Essentialism? A Response to Feenberg," Inquiry 43:4 (2000), 429-44

"Heidegger on Ontological Education, or: How We Become What We Are," Inquiry 44:3 (2001), 243-68

"The Philosophical Fugue: Understanding the Structure and Goal of Heidegger's Beiträge," Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 34:1 (2003), 57-73

"Interpretation as Self-Creation: Nietzsche on the Pre-Platonics," Ancient Philosophy 23:1 (2003), pp. 195-213

"Heidegger and the Politics of the University," Journal of the History of Philosophy 41:4 (2003), pp. 515-542

"Ontology and Ethics at the Intersection of Phenomenology and Environmental Philosophy," Inquiry 47:4 (2004), pp. 380-412

"Heidegger and National Socialism," in Hubert L. Dreyfus and Mark A. Wrathall, eds, A Companion to Heidegger (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2005), pp. 32-48

"Deconstructing the Hero," in Jeff McLaughlin, ed., Comics as Philosophy (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2005), pp. 100-29

"Heidegger's Perfectionist Philosophy of Education in Being and Time,"Continental Philosophy Review 37:4 (2004) pp. 439-467

“Environmental Philosophy,” in Hubert L. Dreyfus and Mark A. Wrathall, eds., A Companion to Phenomenology and Existentialism (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006), pp. 445-63

“‘Even Better than the Real Thing’? Postmodernity, the Triumph of the Simulacra, and U2,” in Mark A. Wrathall, ed., U2 and Philosophy: How to Decipher an Atomic Band (Chicago and La Salle: Open Court, 2006), pp. 73-95

“On the Advantages and Disadvantages of Reading Heidegger Backwards: White’s Time and Death,” Inquiry 50:1 (2007), pp. 103-120

“Understanding Technology Ontotheologically, or: The Danger and the Promise of Heidegger, an American Perspective,” in Jan-Kyrre Berg Olsen, Evan Selinger, and Søren Riis, eds., New Waves in Philosophy of Technology (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), pp. 146-66

“Phenomenology and Technology,” in Stig Andur Pedersen, Jan-Kyrre Berg Olsen, and Vincent F. Hendricks, eds., A Companion to Philosophy of Technology (Oxford: Blackwell, 2009), pp. 195-201

“Rethinking Levinas on Heidegger on Death,” forthcoming in The Harvard Review of Philosophy, Vol. XVII (Fall 2010)

“Ontotheology,” in Daniel Dahlstrom, ed., Interpreting Heidegger: New Essays (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2010)

“Death and Demise in Being and Time,” forthcoming in Mark A. Wrathall, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Being and Time (New York: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2010)


National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Research Fellowship, 2007-2008

Gunter Starkey Award for Teaching Excellence, 2002-2003

Other Information:

For electronic offprints of some of these publications (which can be read/printed with Adobe Acrobat), please visit Professor Thomson's Homepage. For offprints of his other articles, please e-mail Professor Thomson directly.

Professor Thomson's books Heidegger, Art, and Postmodernity and Heidegger on Ontotheology: Technology and the Politics of Education, both from Cambridge University Press, can be ordered from Barnes & Noble or