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Department of Theology and Religion


Professor Christopher Insole

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43939
Room number: Abbey House 201

Contact Professor Christopher Insole (email at


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.

Research Interests

  • 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


Books: authored

  • 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.

Books: edited

  • 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.

Books: sections

  • 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