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Visiting Researcher,, University of Oxford

Thomas Moynihan is a UK-based writer. He holds a DPhil from Oriel College, Oxford, and is currently a Visiting Researcher at Cambridge University’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk. His motivating interests include how attitudes to time have changed throughout time. That is, how beliefs about deep history and the further future have become more capacious: or, how people have, across the ages, gradually discovered just how far the horizon of consequence seems to extend through space and time. Through his writings, he aims to shed light on how the sheer scope of contingency—of the ways in which what comes before can shape all that comes thereafter—came to be recognised across various fields of knowledge and science. He also is interested in nonhuman intelligence, and the ways encounters with other animal minds have shifted humanity’s own measure of itself.

He has been interviewed on CBC Radio, BBC Radio 4, and appeared on various podcasts such as 80,000 Hours and Hear This Idea; his writings have been featured in publications such as New Scientist, Aeon, The Conversation, The Guardian, The Independent, Salon, MIT Press Reader, Vice, and Tank Magazine.

Currently, he is working on a book exploring why concern for the far future—and our species’ vast potential—has emerged only relatively recently when considering the entire sweep of past human thinking.

His most recent book was 2020's 'X-Risk: How Humanity Discovered Its Own Extinction' (MIT Press/Urbanomic):

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  • 2023–present
    Visiting Researcher, CSER, Cambridge University
  • 2020–2023
    Visiting Research Associate in History, St Benet's College, Oxford University


  • 2019 
    Oriel College, Oxford, PhD in English
  • 2014 
    St Hugh's College, Oxford, MSt in English (1700-1830)
  • 2013 
    St Hugh's College, Oxford, BA Hons in English


  • 2020
    X-Risk: How Humanity Discovered It's Own Extinction,