Jamie Stephenson


I am currently a postgraduate research student and PhD candidate at the University of Leeds, supervised by Professor Martin Iddon and Dr James Mooney. I hold an MA in Cultural Studies, and a BA (Hons) in Journalism and Media, both from the University of Leeds.

My thesis title is Auditioning Ontology: Towards an Ambient Metaphysics. It, and my wider research, challenges what I perceive to be Western metaphysical realism’s erroneous parsing of being into either substance or process. This false opposition is symptomatic of a grammar of visualism that has increasingly permeated post-Kantian philosophical discourse. By collapsing the hylomorphic into the scopic, this dominant schema posits consciousness, the ocular, and the symbiosis of the two, as prerequisite factors in the arbitration of being.

I propose that any firm distinction between substance and process is untenable, and that being is neither solely one nor the other, but is located in the ambience between both. In pursuing a metaphysics of ambience, I examine the potential consequences of ‘auditioning’ ontology—of amplifying sonority as a means of conveying the nature of reality. In restoring and adapting a pre-Kantian openness to onto-aesthetic expression, I investigate the implications for contemporary metaphysics of articulating being through sound. And by putting orthodox ontological thought to atypical use, I explore the possibilities of subverting its more standard (that is, hylomorphic and anthropocentric) employment in philosophy, thus evidencing the value of ‘auditioning’ as an agent of methodological reorientation.

Research interests

  • sound
  • ontology
  • metaphysics
  • aesthetics
  • causation
  • time
  • speculative realism
  • epistemology
  • phenomenology
  • continental philosophy
  • mereology
  • theology


  • MA in Cultural Studies (University of Leeds)
  • BA (Hons) in Journalism and Media (University of Leeds)