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Mr Terrence Thomson

Research project: Kant's Opus Postumum: Collapse, Caloric and Transcendental Distortion


My project focuses on Kant's unfinished work, the so-called Opus postumum. Kant's last work has been on the fringes of European philosophical scholarship for much of its life, but has recently attracted more attention from Kant scholars.

There are two inter-connected sides of my work: the first investigates Kant's proposed Transition from Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science to Physics and how this affects basic tenets of the critical edifice. I show how Transition instigates a collapse of the a priori/empirical distinction.

The second side argues that Kant's deduction of caloric/ether (the supposed universal medium through which matter travels) is made possible by this collapse. Caloric is considered to penetrate all matter, acting as a condition of possible experience. Yet there is a clash between the empirical materiality of caloric and its absence in intuition, meaning that our fundamental understanding of the transcendental must be distorted.

My aim is to contribute an original piece of writing to Kant scholarship on one of his most neglected texts, thus helping to open paths for further scholarly work in the English language.


I graduated from Central Saint Martins with a BA in Fine Art in 2010. I then worked for around seven years in a bookshop, and gained my MA in Modern European Philosophy from CRMEP in 2017.

Areas of research interest

  • Immanuel Kant
  • Opus postumum
  • 18th century continental philosophy
  • Philosophy of science


  • MA in Modern European Philosophy, CRMEP, London
  • BA in Fine Art, Central Saint Martins, London

Funding or awards received



Thomson, Terrence. (2017), 'Nonidentity, Materialism and Truth in Adorno's Negative Dialectics,' Cosmos and History, 13, vol 1, pp. 343-360

Thomson, Terrence. (2017), 'What Can Kant's Concept of History Teach us Today?,' The Wednesday Magazine, Issue 9, pp. 2-4

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