Iain Thomson

Honors Advisor

Photo: Iain Thomson

Email: ithomson@unm.edu
Office: Humanities 523
Hours: Tuesdays 1:45pm to 3pm
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:

2.  Heidegger, Art, and Postmodernity (New York and Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2011).
1.  Heidegger on Ontotheology:  Technology and the Politics of Education (New York and Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2005).  
      1B:  Turkish translation:  Heidegger Ontoteoloji:  Teknoloji ve Eğitim Politikaları, Ekrem Ayyıldız, ed., Hüsamettin Arslan, trans. (Istanbul: Paradigma Yayinlari, 2012; 340 pp.). 
Edited Book
With Kelly Becker, The Cambridge History of Philosophy, 1945–2015 (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 53 chapters, 888 pages, November 2019). 
Chapters in Edited Volumes
Chapters in Edited Volumes
32.  “Death” (Tod),” in Mark Wrathall, ed., The Heidegger Lexicon (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2021), pp. 210–20.
31.  “Nothing (Nichts),” in Mark Wrathall, ed., The Heidegger Lexicon (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2021), pp. 520–28.
30.  (with Kelly Becker), “Introduction:  Philosophical Reflections on the Recent History of Philosophy,” in Kelly Becker and Iain Thomson, eds, The Cambridge History of Philosophy, 1945–2015 (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2019), pp. 1–12.
29.  “Rethinking the Analytic/Continental Divide,” in Kelly Becker and Iain Thomson, eds, The Cambridge History of Philosophy, 1945–2015 (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2019), pp. 569–89.
28.  “Technology, Ontotheology, Education,” in Aaron Wendland, Christos Hadjioannou, and Chris Merwin, eds, Heidegger on Technology (New York:  Routledge, 2018), pp. 174–93. 
27.  “Thinking Heidegger’s Postmodern Unthought:  From Ontotheology to Ontological Pluralism in Technology, Education, Politics, and Art,” in Richard Polt and Greg Fried, eds, After Heidegger? (London:  Rowman and Littlefield, 2017), pp. 323–34.
26. “Heidegger’s Nazism in the Light of his early Black Notebooks:  A View from America,” Alfred Denker and Holger Zaborowski, eds, Zur Hermeneutik der ‘Schwarzen Hefte’:  Heidegger Jahrbuch 11 (Freiburg:  Karl Alber, 2017), pp. 184–209.
25.  “Heidegger on Language as the House of Being,” in LM Rivera and Sharon Zetter, eds., Called Back Books: A Sampler (Santa Fe, New Mexico:  Called Back Books, 2017), pp. 57–62.
24.  “The Solitude of the Self or the Sociality of the Other?  Rethinking Levinas on Heidegger on Death,” in Gallina Tasheva and Johannes Weiß, eds, Die Jemeinigkeit des Mitseins: Die Daseinsanalytik Martin Heideggers und die Kritik der soziologischen Vernunft (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck Verlag, 2017).
23.  “Heideggerian Phenomenology and the Postmetaphysical Politics of Ontological Pluralism,” in S. West Gurley and Geoffrey Pfeifer, eds, Phenomenology and the Political (London:  Rowman & Littlefield, 2016), pp. 19–42.
22.  “The Failure of Philosophy:  Why Didn’t Being and Time Answer the Question of Being?”  In Lee Braver, ed., Division III of Heidegger’s Being and Time:  The Unanswered Question of Being (Cambridge, MA:  The MIT Press, 2015), pp. 285–310.
21.  “Rethinking Levinas on Heidegger on Death,” in Hans Pedersen and Megan Altman, eds, Horizons of Authenticity in Phenomenology, Existentialism, and Moral Psychology: Essays in Honor of Charles Guignon; Contributions to Phenomenology, vol. 74 (Dordrecht: Springer Publishing, 2015 [published November 2014]), pp. 239–62.
20. (Co-authored with James Bodington), “Against Immortality:  Why Death Is Better than the Alternative,” in Russell Blackford and Damian Broderick, eds., Intelligence Unbound (Oxford:  Wiley-Blackwell, 2014), pp. 248–262.
19.  “Heideggerian Perfectionism and the Phenomenology of the Pedagogical Truth Event,” in Kevin Hermberg and Paul Gyllenhammer, eds, Phenomenology and Virtue Ethics (London and New York:  Bloomsbury, 2013), pp. 180–90.
18.  “Death and Demise in Being and Time,” in Mark A. Wrathall, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger’s Being and Time (New York:  Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 260–90.
17.  “Ontotheology,” in François Raffoul and Eric S. Nelson, eds., The Bloomsbury Companion to Heidegger (London and New York:  Bloomsbury, August 2013), pp. 319–28.  (This is a different essay from #16.)
16.  “Ontotheology,” in Daniel O. Dahlstrom, ed., Interpreting Heidegger:  Critical Essays (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp. 106–31.
15.  “Heidegger’s Aesthetics,” in Edward N. Zalta, ed., the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (February 2010; 36,705 words, revised in 2016, 2019).
14. “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.
13.  “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.  (Currently being translated into Arabic.)
12.  “‘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. 
            12B:  Translated into Portuguese and published in Brazil as U2 e a Filosofia, Mário Quintana, trans. (São Paulo:  Madras Editora, 2008). 
            12C:  Translated into German as ‘Even Better than the Real Thing’?  Postmoderne, der Triumph des Simulacra und U2,” in Mark A. Wrathall, ed., Die Philosophie bei U2, Stefan Pannor, trans. (Weinheim: Wiley-VCH Verlag, 2009).
11.  “What’s Wrong with Being a Technological Essentialist?  A Response to Feenberg,” reprinted in Tyler J. Veak, ed., Democratizing Technology:  Andrew Feenberg’s Critical Theory of Technology (Albany:  SUNY Press, 2006), pp. 53–70.
10.  “Thinking Beyond Ontotheology:  Philosophy in the 21st Century,” published in Japanese in Yasuo Kobayashi, ed., Ima Tetsugaku-towa Nanika [What Is Philosophy Now?] (Tokyo:  University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy:  2006), pp. 83–6.
9.  “Environmental Philosophy,” in Hubert L. Dreyfus and Mark A. Wrathall, eds., A Companion to Phenomenology and Existentialism (Oxford:  Blackwell, 2006), pp. 445–63. 
            9B:  translated into Portuguese in Dreyfus and Wrathall, eds., Fenomenologia E Existencialismo (Edições Loyola:  2012).
8.  “Deconstructing the Hero,” in Jeff McLaughlin, ed., Comics as Philosophy (Jackson:  University Press of Mississippi, 2005), pp. 100–29.
7.  “Heidegger and National Socialism,” in Hubert L. Dreyfus and Mark A. Wrathall, eds., A Companion to Heidegger (Oxford:  Blackwell Publishing, 2005), pp. 32–48.
6.  “Martin Heidegger,” in Julian Baggini and Jeremy Stangroom, eds., Great Thinkers A–Z (London and New York:  Continuum, 2004), pp. 115–17.
5.  “From the Question Concerning Technology to the Quest for a Democratic Technology:  Heidegger, Marcuse, Feenberg,” reprinted in Michael A. Peters, Mark Olssen, and Colin Lankshear, eds., Futures of Critical Theory:  Dreams of Difference (Lanham, MD:  Rowman & Littlefield, 2003), pp. 59–72.
4.  “Understanding Ontotheology as the Basis for Heidegger’s Critique of Technology,” in Junichi Murata, ed., The Proceedings for the University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy:  International Symposium on Pragmatism and Philosophy of Technology in the 21st Century, 2:2 (2003), pp. 82–103.
3.  “Heidegger on Ontological Education, or:  How We Become What We Are,” reprinted in Michael Peters, ed., Heidegger, Education, and Modernity (Lanham, MD:  Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), pp. 123–50.
2.  “Ontotheology?  Understanding Heidegger’s Destruktion of Metaphysics,” reprinted in Hubert Dreyfus and Mark Wrathall, eds., Heidegger Reexamined (New York and London:  Routledge, 2002), pp. 107–37.
1.  “Martin Heidegger:  A Philosophical Snapshot,” The Philosophers’ Magazine (Summer 1998), pp. 30-1.  (1B:  Expanded version published in The Philosophers’ Web Magazine, Spring 1998–present, available at:  <http://denversyntax.com/issue5/essays/heidegger/heidegger.html>).
 Journal Articles and Essays
22.  We have never been postmodern,” Educational Philosophy and Theory 50 (2018), 1322-23.  (Special 50th anniversary issue on “What comes after postmodernism?”)
21.  “The Trouble with Martin,” Philosophy Now 125 (April–May 2018), p. 22 [https://philosophynow.org/issues/125/The_Trouble_with_Martin, accessed 24 March 2018]. 
20.  “Thinking Love:  Heidegger and Arendt,” Continental Philosophy Review 50:4 (2017), pp. 453–78.  
19.  “Nihilism as the Deepest Problem; Art as the Best Response,” IIIIXIII:  Four By Three Magazine (5: 2016) [http://www.fourbythreemagazine.com/issue/nihilism/iain-thomson, published 10 July 2016]. 
18.  “Rethinking Education after Heidegger:  Teaching Learning as Ontological Response-Ability,” Educational Philosophy and Theory, 48:8 (2016), pp. 846–861.  (Invited contribution to a special issue on “Heidegger and Education,” published online 12 May 2016.) 
17.  (Co-authored with Carolyn Thomas), “Heidegger’s Contributions to Education (From Thinking),” Chiasma:  A Site for Thought (2:  2015), pp. 96–108.  (Invited and refereed contribution to a special issue on ontology and education, titled:  “What Now, Professor?”)
16.  “In the Future Philosophy will be neither Continental nor Analytic but Synthetic:  Toward a Promiscuous Miscegenation of (All) Philosophical Traditions and Styles,” Southern Journal of Philosophy 50:2 (2012), pp. 191–205.  Solicited (and refereed) contribution for a special 50th anniversary issue of the Southern Journal of Philosophy on the topic:  “Continental Philosophy:  What and Where Will It Be?”
15.  “Thinking the Pedagogical Truth Event after Heidegger,” Purlieu: A Philosophical Journal 1:3 (2011), 73–83.  (Invited contribution to special issue on “Philosophy and the University.”)
14.  “Transcendence and the Problem of Otherworldly Nihilism:  Taylor, Heidegger, Nietzsche,” Inquiry 54:2 (2011), pp. 140–59.
13.  “Rethinking Levinas on Heidegger on Death,” The Harvard Review of Philosophy, Vol. XVI (Fall 2009) [published May 2010], pp. 23–43. 
12.  “On the Advantages and Disadvantages of Reading Heidegger Backwards:  White’s Time and Death,” Inquiry 50:1 (2007), pp. 103–120.
11.  “Heidegger’s Perfectionist Philosophy of Education in Being and Time,” Continental Philosophy Review 37:4 (2004), pp. 439–467 [published August, 2005].
10.  “Ontology and Ethics at the Intersection of Phenomenology and Environmental Philosophy,” Inquiry 47:4 (2004), pp. 380–412. 
10B:  10 translated into Chinese by Cheng Xiangzhan and Cao Miao; excerpted in Newsletter on Ecoaesthetics and Ecocriticism in April 2012 and forthcoming in full in Chinese translation.
9.  “Heidegger and the Politics of the University,” Journal of the History of Philosophy 41:4 (2003), pp. 515–42. 
8.  “Interpretation as Self-Creation:  Nietzsche on the Pre-Platonics,” Ancient Philosophy 23:1 (2003), pp. 195–213.  
7.  “The Philosophical Fugue:  Understanding the Structure and Goal of Heidegger’s Beiträge,” Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 34:1 (2003), pp. 57–73. 
6.  “Heidegger on Ontological Education, or:  How We Become What We Are,” Inquiry 44:3 (2001), pp. 243–68.  
5.  “What’s Wrong with Being a Technological Essentialist?  A Response to Feenberg,” Inquiry 43:4 (2000), pp. 429–44.
4.  “Ontotheology?  Understanding Heidegger’s Destruktion of Metaphysics,” International Journal of Philosophical Studies 8:3 (2000), pp. 297–327. 
3.  “From the Question Concerning Technology to the Quest for a Democratic Technology:  Heidegger, Marcuse, Feenberg,” Inquiry, 43:2 (2000), pp. 203–16.
2.  “Can I Die?  Derrida on Heidegger on Death,” Philosophy Today, 43:1 (1999), pp. 29–42.
            2A.  Translated into Turkish and published in Sadık Erol Er, ed., Heidegger and the French (forthcoming).  
1.  “The Silence of the Limbs:  Critiquing Culture from a Heideggerian Understanding of the Work of Art,” Enculturation 2:1 (1998) <http://www.enculturation.net/2_1/thomson.html> 
Book Reviews
5.  Martin Heidegger, Country Path Conversations, in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (1 October 2011). 
4.  Santiago Zabala, The Remains of Being: Hermeneutic Ontology after Metaphysics, in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (12 October 2010). 
3.  Miguel de Beistegui, The New Heidegger, in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (12 September 2006). 
2.  Martin Schönfeld, The Philosophy of the Young Kant:  The Precritical Project, in The Review of Metaphysics 55:2 (December 2001), pp. 218–20.
1.  “Great Expectations:  A Review of Richard Polt’s Introducing Heidegger,” The Philosophers’ Magazine (Summer 1999), p. 53. 
“Rethinking Heidegger’s Critique of Technology:  Interview with Professor Iain Thomson,” Gao Haiqing, Journal of Wuling 41:6 (Nov., 2016), pp. 25–33.  (11,759 words in English.)
 “Iain Thomson, interviewed by Laureano Ralon,” Figure/Ground Communications, 11 October 2010 (see <http://figureground.org/interview-with-iain-thomson/>).  (6,888 words.)
“Iain Thomson:  The Ereignis Interview” (interviewed by Peter Ferreira, September 2006 (see http://www.webcom.com/paf/IainThomsonInterview.html).  (8105 words.)  Also translated into Spanish by Ramiro Palomino (see http://www.scribd.com/doc/32184225/Ereignis-Iain-Thomson), and partly translated into Malay (translator unknown, seehttp://selak.blogspot.com/2009/03/ereignis-iain-thomson-1.html).  
“Phenomenology Panel Interview” (with William Blattner, Taylor Carman, Hubert Dreyfus, Sean Kelly, and Mark Wrathall), Logos III:1 (2005), pp. 66–108.  
“Author Discusses How Philosopher’s Theories Apply to Today,” Winthrop Quigley, The Albuquerque Journal, June 26, 2005.  
“Time and the River (and Heidegger),” Peter Monaghan, The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 10, 2005. 
Documentary Films
“Being-in-the-World,” directed by Tao Ruspoli (2010); winner, Best Documentary Award, Vail Film Festival, Berkeley Film Festival. 
“Only A God Can Save Us,” directed by Jeffrey van Davis (2009).


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 Old Homepage or his page on Academia.edu. 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 Educationand (with Kelly Becker), The Cambridge History of Philosophy, 1945–2015, all from Cambridge University Press, can be ordered from Amazon.com and other booksellers.