John Cottingham
Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of Reading.
Professor of Philosophy of Religion, University of Roehampton, London.
Honorary Fellow, St John’s College, Oxford University.


Email contact:
jgcottingham@mac.com


JGC 2016


Research and publications
John Cottingham has published over thirty books – fifteen as sole author, a further nine editions and translations, plus (either as single or joint editor) eight edited collections – together with over 150 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
Titles include:
In Search of the Soul (Princeton University Press, 2020)
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
Titles include:
Cartesian Reflections (Oxford University Press, 2008)
Western Philosophy (Revised 3rd edn, Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming 2020)
The Rationalists (Oxford University Press, 1988)

Moral Philosophy
Titles include:
Partiality and Impartiality (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:

‘Engagement, immersion and enactment: the role of spiritual practice in religious belief’, forthcoming in Victoria Harrison and Tyler McNabb (eds), Philosophy and the Spiritual Life (London: Routledge).

‘Religion without Magic: Responding to the Natural World’, in Michiel Meijer and Herbert De Vriese (eds),
The Philosophy of Reenchantment (London: Routledge, 2020), Ch. 2.

From desire to encounter: the human quest for the infinite’, Religious Studies (2019) 55, 375-388.

‘Brain Laterality and Religious Awareness’,
Religion, Brain and Behavior, 2019, DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/2153599X.2019.1604413.

‘Psychoanalysis and Religion’, in R. Gipps and M. Lacewing (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychoanalysis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019), pp. 537-552.

‘Loving Kindness and Mercy: their Human and Cosmic Significance’.
Philosophy, 94 (2019), pp. 27-42.

‘Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality’, in David McPherson (ed.), Spirituality and the Good Life: Philosophical Approaches (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), Ch. 1, pp. 11-28.

‘Transcending science: humane models of religious understanding’, in F. Ellis (ed.),
New Models of Religious Understanding (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), pp. 23-41.

‘Wittgenstein and Philosophy of Religion’, in H-J Glock and J. Hyman (eds), A Companion to Wittgenstein (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2017), Ch. 42, pp. 639-650.

‘Love and Religion’, in C. Grau and A. Smuts (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Love (2017), Ch. 35.

‘Evil and the Meaning of Life’, in C. Meister and P. Moser (eds), The Cambridge Companion to the Problem of Evil (2017).

‘Theism and Meaning in Life’ in European Journal for the Philosophy of Religion 8/2 (2016), pp. 47-58.

‘Saints and Saintliness’ in Oxford Handbook of the Epistemology of Theology, 2017.

‘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

Click here for full list of articles.


Selection of broadcasts, interviews and video presentations

On Understanding the Soul’ . Interview on Daily Life Lessons. (July 2020)

'Theory to No End'. Podcast interview with Camelia Raghinaru on Desire, Encounter and the Human Quest for the Infinite. (Recorded August 2020)

Why are we here?’ Interview with Ard Louis, Professor of Theoretical Physics at Oxford University and David Malone, produced by Tern TV for television documentary series. (Filmed September 2015).

‘Cosmos, Consciousness, Meaning.’ Series of PBS/TV interviews on the Philosophy of Religion with Robert Kuhn, published on the Closer to Truth website. https://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.
http://www.philosophybites.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=224621

‘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

‘The Human Longing for the Transcendent: Tragic Illusion or Intimation of Reality?’ Seminar paper given for the research project The Quest for God: Towards a Philosophically and Experimentally Based Theology of Desire, Kings College London, December 2019.

‘How to Believe’
. Annual Mary Ward Lecture 2019, sponsored by the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, delivered at the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge.

‘Perchè credere?’. Interview with Lucinda Buja and Giorgio Durante as part of the 2018-19
Riviera dei libri series, Oratorio di S. Caterina, Cervo, Liguria, Italy, May 2019.

‘Love, Transcendence and Value.’ Paper given at
conference on The Ontology of Love, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cambridge, April 2019.

‘ “Strength Made Perfect in Weakness”: Aristotelian versus Christian Conceptions of the Good Life.’ Paper given at end of year conference for research project on Virtues of Powerlessness: Faith, Love and Hope in a Secular World. Senate House, University of London, June 2018.

‘Humane Philosophy, Spiritual Experience and Religious Understanding’. Bennett Lecture given at
McMurry University, Abilene Texas, March 2018.

‘Why Does the History of Philosophy Matter?’ Inaugural lecture for annual lecture series of the British Society for the History of Philosophy, Kings College London, November 2017.

‘The Passions and Religious Belief: Early-Modern and Contemporary Perspectives.’ Paper given for Royal Institute of Philosophy 2017-18 lecture series on
The Passions and the Emotions, Gordon Square, London, October 2017.

‘Engagement, Immersion and Enactment: The Role of Spiritual Practice in Religious Belief’. Keynote lecture at British Society for the Philosophy of Religion Conference on Philosophy and the Spiritual Life, Oriel College, Oxford, September 2017.

Click here for full list of talks