Thomas Moynihan

Visiting Researcher, March 2023 - February 2024

Thomas works on the history of ideas, primarily the ways changing theories about the wider universe have transformed human self-conceptions and practical priorities throughout the past, as a building sense of our placement within wider ranges of space, time, and natural history has been pieced together. He holds a DPhil from Oriel College, Oxford University, and was previously Visiting Research Associate in History at St Benet’s College, Oxford University. Prior work focused on the historical development of notions surrounding human extinction and global catastrophe. 

Currently, he is working on a book project exploring how history’s horizons have expanded throughout the past, as people have slowly woken up to the ways present action can scar the entire future for life on Earth, whether through climate disruption, biodiversity loss, or other means. The book aims to retell the story of how we came to grasp that not only are our own personal histories or the wider histories of our societies shot through with contingency, but that it’s likewise true that the eons-deep biography of the Earth itself could have gone drastically differently, and could still go very differently, depending on what might happen now. His writing has been featured in New Scientist, The Guardian, BBC Future, and Aeon, amongst others.

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