Professor Christopher Insole
My work is concerned with the relationship between fundamental metaphysical and doctrinal commitments, and patterns of thought in meta-ethics and practical reasoning. This interest underlies publications on realism and anti-realism, the relationship between theology and political liberalism, the place of natural law language in the work of Edmund Burke, and (most recently) the role of theology within Kant's metaphysics, epistemology and ethics.
My recent book, Kant and the Creation of Freedom: a Theological Problem (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), shows that important features of Kant's philosophy were forged out of difficulties he had in reconciling his belief in God as creator with the concept of human freedom. For full details, see the following:
My current research involves investigating the implications of these difficulties (in relating divine action and human freedom) for Kant's account of autonomy, and his conception of happiness.
I teach on three undergraduate modules, 'Introduction to Christian Theology' (level 1), 'God, Freedom and the Soul' (level 2), and 'Christian Theologians and their Writings: Thomas Aquinas' (level 3).
At MA level, I offer a module called 'Principles of Theological Ethics'. We study a range of seminal texts from Augustine and Aquinas to Habermas, with a view to investigating the fundamental theological and philosophical options that underlie different ethical approaches.
I have supervised research students in the following areas:
Aquinas, theological ethics, Richard Hooker, Kant, Catholic theology of work, religious epistemology, political theology, philosophy of religion, realism and anti-realism, Gillian Rose.
- Immanuel Kant
- Edmund Burke
- Religious epistemology
- The relationship between theology, metaphysics and political philosophy.
- Thomism and the natural law tradition
- Truth, realism and anti-realism
- Insole, Christopher J. (2013). Kant and the Creation of Freedom: a Theological Problem. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Insole, Christopher J. (2006). The Realist Hope: a Critique of Anti-Realist Approaches in Contemporary Philosophical Theology. Farnborough: Ashgate.
- Insole, Christopher (2005). The Politics of Human Frailty: a Theological Defence of Political Liberalism. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2005.
- Insole, Christopher & Dwan, David (2012). The Cambridge Companion to Edmund Burke. Cambridge University Press.
- Insole, Christopher J & Harris, Harriet (2005). Faith and Philosophical Analysis: the Impact of Analytical Philosophy on the Philosophy of Religion. Farnborough: Ashgate.
- Harris, Harriet & Insole, Christopher J (2005). Political Liberalism, Analytical Philosophy of Religion and the Forgetting of History. In Faith and Philosophical Analysis: the Impact of Analytical Philosophy of Religion on the Philosophy of Religion. Farnborough: Ashgate. 158-170.
Essays in edited volumes
- Insole, Christopher (2012). Edmund Burke and the Natural Law. In The Cambridge Companion to Edmund Burke. Insole, Christopher & Dwan, David Cambridge University Press.
- Insole, Christopher (2011). Theology and Politics: the Intellectual History of Liberalism. In Theology, University, Humanities. Brittain, Christopher & Murphy, Francesca Cascade Books. 173-193.
Journal papers: academic
- Insole, Christopher J. (2012). A Metaphysical Kant: A Theological Lingua Franca? Studies in Christian Ethics 25(2): 206-214.
- Insole, Christopher (2011). Intellectualism, Relational Properties and the Divine Mind in Kant's Pre-Critical Philosophy. Kantian Review 16(3): 399-427.
- Insole, Christopher (2011). Kant's Transcendental Idealism and Newton's Divine Sensorium. Journal of the History of Ideas 72(3): 413-436.
- Insole, Christopher (2011). Kant's Transcendental Idealism, Freedom and the Divine Mind. Modern Theology 27(4): 608-638.
- Insole, Christopher J (2008). The Irreducible Importance of Religious Hope in Kant's Conception of the Highest Good. Philosophy 83(325): 333-351.
- Insole, Christopher J (2008). Two Conceptions of Liberalism: Theology, Creation and Politics in the Thought of Immanuel Kant and Edmund Burke. Journal of Religious Ethics 36(3): 447-489.
- Insole, Christopher J. (2007). The Truth Behind Practices Wittgenstein, Robinson Crusoe and Ecclesiology. Studies in Christian Ethics 20(3): 364-382.
- Insole, Christopher J (2006). ‘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 22(1): 111-143.
- (2006). Discerning the Theo-Political: a Response to William Cavanaugh's Re-Imagining of Political Space. Political Theology 7(3).
- (2004). Against Radical Orthodoxy: the Dangers of Overcoming Political Liberalism. Modern Theology 22(1): 213-241.
- Insole, Christopher J (2004). The Worship of Freedom: Negative and Positive Notions of Liberty in Philosophy of Religion and Political Philosophy. Heythrop Journal 45(2): 209-226.
- (2002). Ian Markham's Critical Realism. Heythrop Journal 43(3): 318-326.
- (2002). Metaphor and the Impossibility of Failing to Speak About God. International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion 52(1): 35-43.
- (2001). Anthropomorphism and the Apophatic God. Modern Theology 17(4): 475-483.
- (2000). Gordon Kaufman and the Kantian Mystery. International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion 47(2): 101-119.
- (2000). Seeing off the Local Threat to Irreducible Knowledge by Testimony. Philosophical Quarterly 50(198): 44-56.
- (2000). Why John Hick cannot, and should not, stay out of the Jam Pot. Religious Studies 36(1): 25-33.
- (1998). A Wittgensteinian Philosophy of Religion - or a Philosophy of Wittgensteinian Religion? Heythrop Journal 39(2): 148-157.
- (1998). Kierkegaard: a Reasonable Fideist? Heythrop Journal 39(4): 363-378.