Philosophy of Religion and Ethics

Doctoral Studies

Philosophy of religion and Ethics are as old as religion itself: it is the rational reflection on statements, structures, arguments, implicit and explicit preconditions and consequences of religions and views of life. Rational reflection on religious and existential issues is worldwide and is present in all great wisdom traditions. What is the meaning of life? How can we know anything? Is there a higher being? What is love? What happens after death? How should we act responsibly and ethically? It seems integral to human existence to wonder and marvel at these issues. What is considered rational and sensible can vary in different contexts, though, and is in itself a philosophical question that is much discussed today. Religions are often perceived as problematic particularly with regard to reason, and especially in the science-oriented contemporary Western culture.

What do researchers do?

An academic subject since the 1700s, philosophy of religion and ethics was previously closely linked to systematic theology and thus the Christian faith. Today, they deal with all kinds of philosophical and ethical problems raised by religion and existential views of life. Some recent areas for philosophy of religion include questions on how philosophy can deal with things like rites or works of art, that is to say, not only analyse texts and dogmas but also other central religious elements. Feminist philosophy of religion and ethics, which emerged in the 1990s, is also stretching the traditional boundaries by bringing up issues concerning gender and intersectionality, in relation not only to the traditional questions about the image of God, rationality, sexuality etc. Other important research topics include questions about AI, transhumanism and the Anthropocene.

Concept analysis, critical reflection and the construction and testing of arguments, presuppositions and conclusions are common tools for scholars in philosophy of religion and ethics, as well as phenomenological and hermeneutical methods and deconstruction and other literary methods. To sum up, philosophy of religion and ethics aim at treating philosophical and ethical problems arising from religion and secular views of life. In doing this, they deal with classic central issues such as truth, meaning, knowledge, reality and rationality. They also provide tools to perform critical and constructive reflection on themes of importance to mankind and society today, such as religious freedom, religious pluralism, religiously motivated discrimination, free will, etc.

Current research at CTR

Research within philosophy of religion and ethics in Lund is characterized by diversity and openness to new perspectives. All possible and (seemingly) impossible philosophical and ethical questions that arise from religion and secular views of life can be treated and the issues that dominate at any given time therefore depend on the interests of research staff and doctoral students. To read more about current research at CTR, click the links in Staff.


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