Ellie Palmer

PhD Philosophy

  • Philosophy
  • School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Contact details



40 George Square

Post code


Ellie Palmer is a Hull-born PhD candidate specialising in the intersections between Eastern and Western philosophies. Her current research explores the realms of world/comparative philosophies with a particular focus on East Asian/Japanese metaphysics, death, and the spatio-temporality of identity. She has also worked closely within the areas of language, logic, and in particular, the teachings of Wittgenstein.


MA Philosophy - University of Liverpool (Distinction)

• BA (Hons) Philosophy - University of Hull (First-Class)

Responsibilities & affiliations

• International Society of East Asian Philosophy 2023 Conference Organising Committee Member & Moderator

• Panel judge for the 2022 St Andrews Ethics Cup (Merseyside Region)

• Research assistant/case writer for the 2024 St Andrews Ethics Cup

• Member of the European Network of Japanese Philosophy since Feb 2021.

• Admin of Edinburgh Philosophy Events (https://www.facebook.com/groups/edinburghphilosophyevents/)

Research summary

Identity | Death and time | Japanese philosophy | World and comparative philosophy

Current research interests

Much of her research interests involve the spatio-temporality of identity, and the intersection of space, time and identity in cultures across the world. Many western philosophers focus on this latter temporal aspect of identity, addressing issues such as sameness over time. However, she argues that the primary obstacle of ‘the problem of personal identity’ concerns spatiality, stemming from ambiguously defined physical and conceptual boundaries of identity, sameness and material constitution.

Past research interests

Language and linguistics | Logic | Wittgenstein | Semiotics

Project activity

Referring to Watsuji’s theory of the social self and ‘betweenness’ or “aida” (間), the first key part of her current project attempts to revise a theory of extended spatial identity, through expanding the idea of the social self to encompass a notion of identity which can be found embodied in both our interpersonal relationships, and our relationships with material artefacts.  After establishing this stance of an extended spatial boundary of identity, she explores the temporal implications of, for example, the self embodied by artefacts which may long outlive our bodily death. This involves the concept of symbolic immortality, whether our legacy and what we physically leave behind in the world has a deeper connection to our identity, and what this means for the existence and persistence of the self in the world after death. Her research also looks at the relevance of this theory on wider literature of Japanese culture and philosophy, as well as conceptions of self and death in Confucianism, Shintoism and Buddhism which influenced the historical formation of Japanese philosophy.


Assistant editor for J. Symes (2024) Philosophers on How to Live, Bloomsbury

Current project grants

School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Science Postgraduate PhD Scholarship

Conference details

World Philosophy Day Conference 2023, The University of Hull, invited speaker

ISEAP Conference 2023, organising committee member/moderator

'The Philosophy of the Yogasutra' 2023, VU Amsterdam, speaker

'Relating to Death, Relating to the Dead' conference 2024, The University of Edinburgh, speaker and organiser

Papers delivered

- Being and Death in Japanese Philosophy

- Self, Death and Impermanence in the Yogasutra


In the press

PPLS Perspectives Podcast - The philosophy of grief with Prof. Michael Cholbi https://www.ed.ac.uk/.../episode-one-the-philosophy-of-grief