Ian Ramsey Centre


Supernaturalism and Naturalism: Beyond the Divide

Seminars for Hilary Term 2017 on the theme of supernaturalism, convened jointly with the Humane Philosophy Project, and with the generous support also of the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Warsaw. These events are free and open to the public.

Thursday 9 March, 5pm-6:15pm, followed by drinks reception
Fiona Ellis, Heythrop College 
Supernaturalism and Naturalism: Beyond the Divide?

Gibson Building Theology and Religion Lecture Room, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6GG

Fiona Ellis is Reader in Philosophy at Heythrop College, University of London, and Director of its Centre for Philosophy of Religion. She did her graduate work at Oxford under the supervision of David Wiggins and Paul Snowdon, and Wiggins' work (as well as that of John McDowell) is central to the 'expansive' naturalism she defends in God, Value, and Nature (OUP 2014). She is currently editing a volume New Models of Religious Understanding (OUP 2017) which grew out of a project funded by the John Templeton Foundation and Fordham University. She is also co-directing another Templeton funded project - this time in conjunction with the University of Notre Dame where she has a non-residential fellowship to study the relation between religious experience and desire. The question of desire has been central to her recent research, and she has published papers on Schopenhauer, Levinas, and Wagner in this context. Most recently she had defended a disjunctive conception of religious experience - one which involves treating religious experience as a species of desire. An expansive naturalist framework is presupposed in this work, and she seeks to bring out the implications for an understanding of the relation between philosophy and theology, and the atheism/theism debate. It is crucial to her position that there is a defensible conception of supernaturalism, and in this respect she goes against the grain of much contemporary Anglo-American philosophy.