Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of Reading.
Professorial Research Fellow, Heythrop College, University of London.
Honorary Fellow, St John’s College, Oxford University.
For a brief career summary click here
Research and publications
John Cottingham has published eleven books as sole author and over a hundred articles in journals or books, plus (either as single or as joint editor) eight edited collections and a further eight editions and translations. From 1993-2012 he was Editor of Ratio, the international journal of analytic philosophy. His main research interests are as follows:
Early Modern Philosophy, especially Descartes
Cartesian Reflections (Oxford University Press, 2008)
Western Philosophy (New augmented edition, Blackwell, 2007)
The Rationalists (Oxford University Press, 1988)
Philosophy of Religion
Why Believe? (Continuum, 2009)
The Spiritual Dimension (Cambridge, 2005)
The Meaning of Theism (Blackwell, 2007)
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:
‘Meaningfulness, Eternity, Theism’, forthcoming in Beatrix Himmelmann (ed.) Meaning in Life (Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter, 2013).
‘Descartes and Darwin: Reflections on the Sixth Meditation’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume lxxxvii, pp. 239-277. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8349.2013.00229.x
‘Intuition and Genealogy’, forthcoming in T. Chappell (ed.), Intuition, theory and anti-theory in ethics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).
‘The Question of Ageing’, Philosophical Papers, Vol. 41, No. 3 (November 2012), pp. 371-396. The Question of Ageing.pdf
‘Meaningful Life’, in Paul K. Moser and Michael T. McFall (eds), The Wisdom of the Christian Faith (Cambridge University Press, 2012), pp. 175-196.
‘Philosophy and Self-improvement: Continuity and Change in Philosophy’s Self-conception from the Classical to the Early-modern Era,’ forthcoming in Michael McGhee, Michael Chase and Stephen Clark (eds), Philosophy as a Way of Life (Oxford: Blackwell, 2013).
‘Religion and the Mystery of Existence’, European Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 4/3 (October 2012), pp. 15-31.
‘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
‘Dignity, Autonomy and Embodiment’, Ars Disputandi, Supplement, series 6, ed. M. Sarot (2013), pp. 181-196.
‘Conscience, Guilt, and Shame’, in R. Crisp (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Ethics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 729-43.
‘The Source of Goodness’, in Harriet Harris (ed.), God, Goodness and Philosophy (London: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 49-62.
‘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.
‘Spirituality’, in C. Taliaferro, V. Harrison and S. Goetz (eds), The Routledge Companion to Theism (New York: Routledge, 2013), Ch 50, pp. 654-665.
‘Sceptical Detachment or Loving Submission to the Good: Reason, Faith and the Passions in Descartes.’ Faith and Philosophy, 28:1 (January 2011), pp. 44-53.
‘Freud’s Critique of Religion: How Damaging is his Account?’, in M. Andrew Holowchak (ed.), Radical Claims in Freudian Psychoanalysis (Lanham, MD, Aronson/Rowman and Littlefield, 2012), pp. 113-128.
‘Impartiality and Ethical Formation.’ In B. Feltham and J. Cottingham (eds), Partiality and Impartiality: Morality, Special Relationships and the Wider World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 65-83.
‘Integrity and Fragmentation’. Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol. 27, no 1 (2010), pp. 2-14. Integrity and Fragmentation.doc
‘Demandingness, moral development and moral philosophy’, in T. Chappell (ed.), The Problem of Moral Demandingness (London: Palgrave, 2009), pp. 86-103.
‘What is Humane Philosophy and Why is it At Risk?’ Philosophy, Supplement 65 (2009), pp. 1-23; and A. O'Hear (ed.), Conceptions of Philosophy, Royal Institute of Philosophy series (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009). What is Humane Philosophy.doc
‘Happiness, Temporality, Meaning’, in L. Bortolotti (ed.), Philosophy and Happiness (London: Palgrave, 2009), pp. 21-46.
‘The Lessons of Life: Wittgenstein, Religion and Analytic Philosophy,’ in H.-J. Glock and J. Hyman and (eds), Wittgenstein and Analytic Philosophy: Essays for P.M.S. Hacker (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 203-227. Lessons of Life.doc
‘The Self, The Good Life and the Transcendent,’ in N. Athanassoulis and S. Vice (eds), The Moral Life: Essays in Honour of John Cottingham (London: Palgrave, 2008), pp. 231-274.
‘The Good Life and the “Radical Contingency of the Ethical” ’. In D. Callcut (ed.), Reading Bernard Williams (London: Routledge, 2008), Ch. 2, pp. 25-43.Good Life Radical Contingency Ethical.doc
‘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.
Talk on René Descartes for St John’s Nottingham Video Timeline Project, January 2012 http://www.youtube.com/user/StJohnsNottingham?feature=mhee
‘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. (over 70,000 downloads to date)
‘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.
Recent talks and papers given
‘Reason, the Emotions and the Good Life’. Opening keynote paper at Fifth International Conference on Ethics and Applied Ethics on the theme ‘Moral Sentiments’. Universidade Federal de Santa Maria (UFSM), Santa Maria, RS, Brazil, June 2012.
‘Confronting the Cosmos: Scientific Rationality and Human Understanding.’ Plenary paper at 85th Annual Meeting of American Catholic Philosophical Association, St Louis, Missouri, October 2011.
‘Integrity and Human Flourishing’. Austin Hempel Public Lecture given at Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada, October 2011.
‘Knowledge of God: insider information or objective evidence?’ Paper given at St Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, NS, and Cape Breton University, Sydney, Canada, October 2011.
‘Descartes and “consciousness”: human thoughts and animal passions’. Paper given at Philosophy Colloquium, Dalhousie University and St Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia, Canada, October 2011; College de France, Paris, and Heidelberg University Philosophy Colloquium, June 2011.
‘Conversion, Self-Discovery and Moral Change’. Paper presented at at Thirty-Second Annual Philosophy of Religion Conference, on the theme Conversion, Claremont Graduate University California, February 2011.
‘Human Nature, Meaning and Ultimate Value’. Sullivan Lecture delivered at Fordham University, New York, October 2010.
‘Spirituality, Self-Discovery and Moral Change’. Plenary paper given at Conference on Spirituality, Theology and Mental Health, St John’s College, Durham University, September 2010.
‘Intuition and Genealogy.’ Paper given at OU Ethics Centre Conference on Intuition: Theory and Anti-Theory in Ethics, University of Edinburgh, July 2010.
‘Human Nature and the Transcendent’. Paper given at Royal Institute of Philosophy Conference on Human Nature, Oxford Brookes University, June 2010.
‘Faith, Reason and the Epistemic Bias’. Paper given at Annual Claremont conference in Philosophy of Religion, on the theme Skeptical Faith, February 2010.
‘Sceptical Detachment or Loving Submission to the Good? Descartes on Reason, Faith and the Passions.’ Paper given at John Templeton Foundation Symposium on Faith, Rationality and the Passions, Wolfson College, Cambridge University, January 2010.