Christopher Insole

Professor Christopher Insole

Professor Insole is Professor of Philosophical Theology and Ethics at the University of Durham, and Professorial Fellow at the Australian Catholic University. He has published extensively on realism and anti-realism, the relationship between theology, metaphysics, and political philosophy, and on the thought of Immanuel Kant. His books include his major study of Kant (Oxford, 2013). Since 2016, his research has moved into a more contemporary and constructive key, engaging with the category of natural theology. He is exploring the possibility of re-conceiving natural theology as a type of negative theology.

Professor Insole presented the 2013 McDonald Lectures (Oxford) in Christian Ethics and Public Life.

Professor Insole is the Lead Investigator for a major five-year programme, called 'Redeeming Autonomy: Agency, Vulnerability, and Relationality', funded and hosted by the Australian Catholic University, with co-investigators Dr David Kirchhoffer (ACU), Professor Jennifer Herdt (Yale), Professor Kristin Heyer (Boston), and Professor Yves De Maeseneer (Leuven). The programme brings together philosophers, theologians, social scientists, historians, anthropologists, policy-makers, political philosophers, lawyers, and literary scholars, in order to investigate the use and misuse of the (ancient, medieval, and modern) concept of rational self-government, in urgent concrete areas of policy, and practice, such as end-of-life legislation, disability, immigration, trauma, transgender rights, and political sovereignty.

Key publications

Authored books

  • Kant and the Creation of Freedom: a Theological Problem. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • The Realist Hope: a Critique of Anti-Realist Approaches in Contemporary Philosophical Theology. London: Routledge, 2006.
  • The Politics of Human Frailty: a Theological Defence of Political Liberalism. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2005.

Edited books

  • Co-edited with David Dwan, The Cambridge Companion to Edmund Burke. Cambridge University Press, 2012.
  • Co-edited with Harriet Harris. Faith and Philosophical Analysis: the Impact of Analytical Philosophy on the Philosophy of Religion. Farnborough: Ashgate, 2005.

Journal Articles

  • ‘Free Belief: the Medieval Heritage in Kant’s Moral Faith’. Journal of the History of Philosophy. Forthcoming 2019.
  • ‘Renewing Natural Theology: Divinity and the Limits of Reason’. Modern Theology. Forthcoming 2019)
  •  ‘A Thomistic Reading of Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals’. Modern Theology (2015). 31(2): 111-128.
  •  ‘Kant’s Transcendental Idealism and Newton’s Divine Sensorium’. Journal of the History of Ideas (2011) 72(3): 413-436.
  •  ‘Two Conceptions of Liberalism: Theology, Creation and Politics in the Thought of Immanuel Kant and Edmund Burke’. Journal of Religious Ethics (2008) 36(3): 447-489.
  •  ‘”Beyond glass doors: the sun no longer shining” English Platonism and the problem of self-love in the literary and philosophical work of Iris Murdoch’. Modern theology (2006) 22(1): 111-143.

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