I completed my BA in Philosophy & Theology at the University of Oxford, and then a DPhil, again at Oxford, under the supervision of Brian Davies and Richard Swinburne. I have held positions at King’s College, London, the University of Glasgow, where I was a Gifford Postdoctoral Research Fellow, the Australian Catholic University, the University of Exeter, and most recently the University of Leeds, where I was Professor of Philosophy and Religion from 2013 to 2020.
I am very willing to supervise across all the central fields of philosophical theology and philosophy of religion. In recent years, my own research has focused upon questions such as: the distinctive character of the goods to which religious and spiritual traditions are directed; the structure of such traditions, including the connection between their practical and creedal commitments; the relationship between the various vocabularies that are used to describe, from the insider’s perspective, progress in the spiritual life; the epistemic significance of tradition in religious contexts; and the relationship between the concept of God and accounts of spiritual well-being.
In general, my research rests on the thought that religious traditions constitute extended experiments in human possibilities -- and the belief that in some cases, the careful retrieval of those traditions can throw new light on contemporary questions about how to live well.
Research Centres & Projects:
I am currently leading a project, generously funded by the John Templeton Foundation, on God-Concepts and Spiritual Wellbeing. The focal questions for the project are: In what ways can God-concepts deepen or otherwise inform our conception of spiritual wellbeing? And to what extent can God-concepts be assessed by reference to their implications for spiritual wellbeing? The project draws on philosophical, theological and empirical perspectives.
Publications & Research Outputs:
Beginning with the Spiritual Life, in V. Harrison and T. McNabb, eds, Philosophy and the Spiritual Life (Routledge forthcoming).
Spiritual Practice and Divine Personhood, in S. Kittle and G. Gasser, eds, The Divine Nature: Personal and A-Personal Perspectives (Routledge 2022), pp. 235-50.
Truth and Christian Ethics: A Narratival Perspective, in E. Reed, ed., Truth, Lies and Christian Ethics, Studies in Christian Ethics, 2022, Vol. 35 (1), pp. 22-35.
Storied Identity: Reading the Bible Eucharistically, in E. Stump and J. Wolfe, eds, Philosophy, Theology and Biblical Exegesis, European Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 2021, Vol. 13 (4), pp. 45-64.
Comparing Empirical and Theological Perspectives on the Relationship Between Hope and Aesthetic Experience: An Approach to the Nature of Spiritual Well-Being, in M. Lee, L. Kubzansky, and T. VanderWeele, eds, Measuring Well-Being: Inter-Disciplinary Perspectives from the Social Sciences and Humanities (Oxford UP 2021), Ch 10.
Spiritual Traditions and the Virtues: Living Between Heaven and Earth (Oxford UP 2020).
Renewing the Senses: A Study of the Philosophy and Theology of the Spiritual Life (Oxford UP 2013).
Faith and Place: An Essay in Embodied Epistemology (Oxford UP 2009).
Emotional Experience and Religious Understanding: Integrating Perception, Conception and Feeling (Cambridge UP 2005).