Skip to main content

Professor Christopher Insole

Professor of Philosophical Theology and Ethics

Professor of Philosophical Theology and Ethics in the Department of Theology and Religion+44 (0) 191 33 43939


After teaching at the Universities of London and Cambridge, Chris Insole took up his post at Durham in 2006, becoming Professor of Philosophical Theology and Ethics in 2013. Between 2018 and 2021, he was Head of Department. He has published extensively on realism and anti-realism, religious epistemology, the relationship between theology, metaphysics, and political philosophy, and on the thought of Immanuel Kant. His books include his two major studies of Kant’s philosophy of religion (Oxford, 2020 and 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. He is the PI for a two-year funded project on 'Negative Natural Theology: Freedom and the Limits of Reason'. This project is part of the major international initiative funded by the Templeton Religion Trust, 'Widening Horizons in Philosophical Theology'. See 

Professor Insole is also 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 concept of rational self-government, in contested, urgent, and concrete areas such as end-of-life legislation, disability, immigration, trauma, gender, and political sovereignty. The premise of the programme is that the notion of rational self-government does not belong exclusively within a Kantian and secular framework, but can be found in ancient and medieval sources, as well as in alternative modern frameworks, many of which are more receptive to, and shaped by, religious influences and commitments.

Research interests

  • Natural Theology and Philosophy of Religion
  • Thomas Nagel
  • Derek Parfit
  • Kant
  • Realism and Anti-Realism
  • Theology and Political Philosophy


Authored book

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article

Supervision students