My Ph.D. Thesis

February 10, 2020

My Ph.D. thesis  ‘A Perspective on the Mind-Body Problem, with Particular Reference to the Philosophy of Spinoza’ is accessible at

Click to access Margaret%20Gullan-Whur%20-%20PhD%20Thesis.pdf

Search under ‘Browse’ choosing name ‘Gullan-Whur’.


February 10, 2020


Within Reason: A Life of Spinoza Jonathan Cape 1998. Hardback ISBN 0-224-05046-X

Within Reason: A Life of Spinoza Pimlico, 2000. Paperback ISBN 0-7126-6652-4

Within Reason: A Life of Spinoza St. Martin’s Press, New York, 2000 ISBN 0312-25358-3.

Spinoza: Een leven volgens de rede. Lemniscaat Rotterdam, December 2000 ISBN 90-5637-271-8

The Secrets of Your Handwriting. Thorsons, 1998. Paperback ISBN 0-7225-3733-6.

Ph.D. thesis: A Perspective on the Mind-Body Problem, with particular reference to the philosophy of Spinoza

Discover Graphology. Aquarian Press, Harper Collins 1991, Paperback ISBN 1-85538-059-5 .(A reprint with additions of The Graphology Workbook. 1986.)

The Four Elements (the traditional idea of the humours) Century Hutchinson 1987 ISBN 0-7126-1429-X

The Graphology Workbook Aquarian Press, Thorsons, 1986 Paperback ISBN 0-850-477-6

What Your Handwriting Reveals Thorsons (Aquarian Press) 1984 Paperback (3 Aquarian editions) ISBN ISBN 0-85030-412-1. Printed in Spanish, Hungarian and Indonesian.

IN DRAFT: 20 Reasons You Won’t Grow Old Like This: How ageing is changing in the 21st century. ISBN 978-0-9559542-0-7


Spinoza on religion in public life (blog) 2017

‘Baruch Spinoza’ in Great Thinkers A-Z , Continuum Books, 2004. An earlier version of this essay was first published as ‘Spinoza snapshot’ in The Philosophers Magazine (15) Summer 2001.

‘Biography, philosophy and the philosopher’s reputation.’ Avalon. University of La Coruna, (1) May 2003

‘Spinoza and the equality of women.’ Theoria. Vol. LXVIII, Part 2, Spring 2003

A Review of Kant, A Biography, (Cambridge University Press) The Philosophers Magazine (17) Winter 2002.

Struggling to be happy – even when I’m old.’ The Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol. 19 [1] Spring 2002.

‘Research Studies of Graphological Interest.’ The Graphologist, Vol.18 No.4 Issue 69, Winter 2000

‘A millenarian frenzy that came and went.’ The Tuesday Review, The Independent, 4 January 2000.

Extract from Within Reason: A Life of Spinoza. The Philosophers’ Magazine (5) Winter 1999 The Philosophers Magazine.

‘Telling stories of their lives.’ The Philosophers’ Magazine (7) Summer 1999

‘Spinoza – A Life Within Reason? The Graphologist (Journal of The British Institute of Graphologists) Vol. 17 No.2 Issue 63 1999 British Institute of Graphologists.

‘The function of the semiotic principle in establishing the claims of a pseudo or proto-science (graphology) to the status of empirical science.’ Semiotica (Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies) Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin, New York 102-3/4 (1994) 251- 278

‘The Prospects of Understanding for a Worm.’ Philosophy Now (4) Autumn 1992

‘Research Papers Relating to the Validity and Reliability of Graphology.’ 1991. Published by the British Institute of Graphologists.

Graphology – The Function of the Semiotic Principle in establishing the claims of a pseudo or proto-science (graphology) to the status of empirical science

September 15, 2013

Before going into academic philosophy as a mature student in 1986 I had published three books on graphology, and been the Research Officer for The British Institute of Graphologists.  On being challenged in philosophy departments about this “irrational” topic I argued that graphology is not esoteric, but intensely analytical. It is the study of regular patterns and shapes directly created by impulses from the brain. I wrote this paper as a response to criticism, and it was immediately published in Semiotica 102-3/4 (1994), 251-278.

Function of the Semiotic Principle ..

Struggling to be Happy – Even When I’m Old

September 5, 2011

Published in The Journal of  Applied Philosophy Vol.19 Issue 1 pp. 17-30 2002

Read online at


My thesis seeks to reduce what may be a natural human antipathy to ageing
and/or the elderly by working with one distinctive and consistently approved
feature of some older people. This feature is a bold and cheerful struggle
within a self-chosen project. The argument opens by distinguishing short-term
gratification from lasting, fulfilling happiness, and showing the link between
gratification and dependence. Three kinds of struggle (non-voluntary,
part-voluntary and positive) are then outlined and exemplified. Gerontological
and anthropological research suggest that attitudes to struggle are fixed early
in life, and while in the past they mitigated for or against successful
survival, they now influence happiness and coping in later life. I argue that
the negative effects of the first two kinds of struggle – which are often
misguided, grudging or ‘no-win’ struggles – are responsible for the rigidity,
narcissism and resentment disliked in some older people. Self-respect,
contrasted with self-righteousness, is shown to accrue only from the positive
(voluntary and congenial) struggle that seems at any age to deflect or
compensate for depression, disappointment, loneliness and illness.


Spinoza and the Equality of Women

July 14, 2011

Abstract   On the last page of A Political Treatise Spinoza denies that women are subject to men by convention only. He excludes females from participation in politics on the grounds that they are “by nature … necessarily” (that is, by the logical and causal necessity which are for him equivalent) unequal to men “in strength of mind and intellectual ability”. This claim is examined in relation to four of Spinoza’s foundational principles. It is found to be in tension with all four, and with the psychological, social, political and moral deductions Spinoza makes from them, and is moreover an internally weak argument.

Spinoza on religion in public life

July 8, 2011

Spinoza’s proposals for calming sectarian tensions.

Margaret Gullan-Whur Homepage

January 27, 2011

Homepage and blogsite of the author of Within Reason: A Life of Spinoza (Jonathan Cape 1998; Pimlico  2000)



February 5, 2010

20 Reasons – a report on how the generation that defied society in the 1960s is shattering stale images of ageing.  An eye-opener for people in their forties who are already sensitive to ageism and gloomy about the idea of working on to  seventy.   A stimulating read for age-defying 50-60-pluses who still see being old as their own aged parents’ thing, not their own.  A wake-up call for policymakers, health-care professionals and manufacturers who plan on treating the old of the future as more of the same, with the same old attitudes and needs.

Start reading online  …  the jacket note, Chapter Content list, what people who read the first draft had to say, and the INTRODUCTION


January 19, 2010

Book jacket imageThe traditional theory of psychological types (head-in-air, earthy, fiery, wet) and their place in religion, myth and modern-day personality profiling. A rare and valuable analysis used by students of homeopathy and central to all New Age philosophies.


SPINOZA BIOGRAPHY – Within Reason: A Life of Spinoza

January 19, 2010

Book jacket imageA biography, by an acclaimed Spinoza scholar, of the 17th-century philosopher, including a vivid historical picture of the Dutch Golden Age.

“A  remarkable blend of imagination and erudition.  Spinoza here ceases to be a saint and becomes a flesh-and blood character with quirks, flaws and passions.” Frederick Baiser, Times Literary Supplement.

Read more…