Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of Reading.
Professorial Research Fellow, Heythrop College, University of London.
Visiting Professor, King’s College London.
Honorary Fellow, St John’s College, Oxford University.
For a brief career summary click here
Research and publications
John Cottingham has published thirty books – thirteen as sole author, a further nine editions and translations, plus (either as single or joint editor) eight edited collections – together with over 115 articles in learned journals or books. From 1993-2012 he was Editor of Ratio, the international journal of analytic philosophy. His main research interests are as follows:
Philosophy of Religion
How to Believe (Bloomsbury, 2015).
Philosophy of Religion: Towards a More Humane Approach
(Cambridge University Press, 2014)
Why Believe? (Continuum, 2009)
The Spiritual Dimension (Cambridge University Press, 2005)
Early Modern Philosophy, especially Descartes
Cartesian Reflections (Oxford University Press, 2008)
Western Philosophy (New augmented edition, Blackwell, 2007)
The Rationalists (Oxford University Press, 1988)
Partiality and Impartiality:
Morality, Special Relationships and the Wider World (Oxford University Press, 2010)
The Moral Life [Festschrift with Response] (Palgrave 2008)
On the Meaning of Life (Routledge, 2003)
Philosophy and the Good Life:
Reason and the Passions in Greek, Cartesian and Psychoanalytic Ethics (Cambridge University Press, 1998)
Click here for full list of books
Some recent and forthcoming articles:
‘Wittgenstein and Philosophy of Religon’, in H-J Glock and J. Hyman (eds), A Companion to Wittgenstein (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2017), Ch. 42, pp. 639-650.
‘Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality’, forthcoming in David McPherson (ed.), Spirituality and the Good Life: Philosophical Approaches (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), Ch. 1.
‘Love and Religion’, forthcoming in C. Grau and A. Smuts (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Love, Ch. 35.
‘Evil and the Meaning of Life’, forthcoming in C. Meister and P. Moser (eds), The Cambridge Companion to the Problem of Evil.
‘Theism and Meaning in Life’ in European Journal for the Philosophy of Religion 8/2 (2016), pp. 47-58. Theism-and-Meaning-in-Life.pdf‘
‘Saints and Saintliness’ in Oxford Handbook of the Epistemology of Theology, forthcoming 2017. Saints-and-Saintliness.pdf
‘The Spiritual and the Sacred: Prospects for Convergence between Religious and Non-Religious Accounts’ in Richard Norman and Tony Carroll (eds), Religion and Atheism: Beyond the Divide (London: Routledge, 2017), Ch. 11, pp. 130-139. Spiritual and Sacred: Prospects for Convergence
Intuition and Genealogy’, in S. G. Chappell (ed.), Intuition, theory and anti-theory in ethics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), pp. 9-23.
‘Authority and Trust: Reflections on Linda Zagzebski’s Epistemic Authority.’ European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 6/4 (2014), pp. 25-38.
‘Descartes and Darwin: Reflections on the Sixth Meditation’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume lxxxvii (2013), pp. 239-277. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8349.2013.00229.x
‘Dignity, Autonomy and Embodiment’, Ars Disputandi, Supplement, series 6, ed. M. Sarot (2013), pp. 181-196. Dignity Autonomy Embodiment
‘Conscience, Guilt, and Shame’, in R. Crisp (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Ethics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 729-43.
‘Human Nature and the Transcendent’, in Constantine Sandis and M. J. Cain (eds), Human Nature. Royal Institute of Philosophy supplement 70 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), pp. 233-254. Human nature and the Transcendent.pdf
‘The Desecularization of Descartes’, in Nathan Jacobs and Chris Firestone (eds), The Persistence of the Sacred in Modern Thought (Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University Press, 2012), pp. 15-37.
‘Cosmos, Consciousness, Meaning.’ Series of PBS/TV interviews on the Philosophy of Religion with Robert Kuhn, published on the Closer to Truth website. http://www.closertotruth.com/contributor/john-cottingham/profile
‘Descartes, God and Secularism.’ Paper given at Benedictus Academic Research Forum, Burlington House, London, June 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfdtV31F7Lk
’‘Design in Nature.’ Talk and panel discussion with Sarah Coakley and John Worrall for CPNSS and Forum for European Philosophy Thinking in Public series, London School of Economics, February 2013. podcast
‘Philosophy, Spirituality, and the Good Life.’ An Interview with John Cottingham by David McPherson (Marquette University), Philosophy & Theology, 24.1 (2012), pp. 85-111.
Why Believe? Talk on philosophy of religion for St John’s Nottingham Video Timeline Project, January 2012 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTxFrxmY9dg
Confronting the Cosmos: Scientific Rationality and Human Understanding. Talk at Ian Ramsey Centre, Oxford University, 2012. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en76K0bYvcY
Talk on René Descartes for St John’s Nottingham Video Timeline Project, January 2012 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abVVKe5zObU
‘Descartes: Cogito ergo Sum’. Broadcast discussion with Melvin Bragg, Susan James, and Stephen Mulhall, BBC Radio Four, 28 April 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b010mvcp
‘On the Meaning of Life’. Interview with Nigel Warburton; podcast produced by David Edmonds. May 2007.
‘Spinoza’. Broadcast discussion on In Our Time, with Melvin Bragg, Jonathan Rée and Sarah Hutton, BBC Radio Four, 3 May 2007.http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0079ps2
Click here for full list of broadcasts interviews etc.
Selection of recent talks and presentations
‘Science and the Sacred: Spirituality without Religion?’ Annual Walton Public Lecture delivered at Fordham University, New York, October 2016.
Renard Endowed Lecture on ‘Transcending Science: Humane Models of Human Understanding’, Creighton University, Omaha Nebraska; also given at Philosophy of Religions Workshop Series, University of Chicago, School of Divinity, April 2016.
‘How to Philosophize about Religion’. Royal Institute of Philosophy Invited Lecture, Keele University, March 2016.
‘Mercy and human nature’. Paper delivered at a symposium with Iain McGilchrist for the Von Hügel Institute lecture series on The Theme of Mercy, St Edmund’s College, Cambridge University, February 2016.
‘The pure light of reason? Layers of meaning in Descartes’s Meditations’. Opening paper given at two-day international conference on Descartes’s Meditations, Objections and Replies, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, January 2016.
‘Conscience: what is its history, and does it have a future?’ Paper given at Symposium on The History of Moral Concepts held at Millbank House, Westminster, London, hosted by the Centre for Global Studies and the University of Exeter, October 2015
‘Understanding evil: analytic versus humane perspectives’. Paper given at International Conference on The Argument from Evil in Analytic Philosophy: Prospects and Limits held at the Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology, Frankfurt, September 2015.
‘Hope and the Virtues.’ Opening paper at Thirty-Fifth Annual Philosophy of Religion Conference, Claremont Graduate University, California, February 2014.
‘Philosophy of Religion: metaphysical or anthropological?’ Paper presented at Conference on The Future for Philosophy of Religion: an exploration of recent ‘turns to the human’ in thinking about religion. Centre for Philosophy of Religion, Heythrop College, University of London, June 2013.