9780521604970

The Spiritual Dimension
Religion, Philosophy and Human Value
John Cottingham
Cambridge University Press, 2005

The Spiritual Dimension offers a new model for the philosophy of religion, bringing together emotional and intellectual aspects of our human experience, and embracing practical as well as theoretical concerns. It shows how a religious worldview is best understood not as an isolated set of doctrines, but as intimately related to spiritual praxis and to the search for self-understanding and moral growth. It argues that the religious quest requires a certain emotional openness, but can be pursued without sacrificing our philosophical integrity. Touching on many important debates in contemporary philosophy and theology, but accessible to general readers, The Spiritual Dimension covers a range of central topics in the philosophy of religion, including scientific cosmology and the problem of evil; ethical theory and the objectivity of goodness; psychoanalytic thought, self-discovery and virtue; the multi-layered nature of religious discourse; and the relation between faith and evidence.

“John Cottingham has followed up his excellent On the Meaning of Life with an equally fine book. I strongly recommend anyone interested in religion to read this humane, wide-ranging, judicious and highly suggestive book.”
Leslie Stephenson,
Philosophical Quarterly.

“Beautifully written . . . Cottingham articulates, in this fine book, a deeply attractive . . . account of what it is to be a religious person.”
Fergus Kerr,
The Tablet

“Compellingly articulates matters of the first importance.”
Christopher Howse,
Daily Telegraph

“There is something of the road to Damascus about this book … It appears to be the product of [an] awakening, which adds much to its appeal… Cottingham knows the complaints brought against religion by those who assume they can see right through it, and is able to address them from the other side.”
Janet Martin Soskice,
Times Literary Supplement

“His book will engage anyone who thinks spirituality is worth talking about - theist, atheist or agnostic. Clearly and humanely, he lays out the ground upon which any truly interesting philosophy of religion must be done.”
The Philosophers' Magazine


“Professor Cottingham has pulled off an unusually difficult combination of lucidity, comprehensiveness both of reference and of issue, common sense and profundity. There is evident throughout the book a generosity of mind and a clarity of vision which are quite exemplary.”
Denys Turner,
Professor of Religion, Yale University, and former Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity, University of Cambridge

“[a] wonderful book … Cottingham not only avoids the traps of superficiality …but offers ways out of those traps for the rest of us.”
Tim Chappell,
Mind.

'As efforts to re-contextualise spirituality within technology and religion are increasing, Cottingham's scholarly and aptly titled work makes a most useful contribution to these endeavours … Beautifully written … remarkably clear, this is an indispensable and timely study … A particular attraction of this study is the way in which Cottingham appeals to reason to justify his concern with spirituality … A broadly conceived book, it has much to recommend. It is rich, laden with insight, and bears careful study.'
Journal of Contemporary Religion

'… this is an original and stimulating work, which will profit specialist and general readers alike. It is highly recommended.' Philosophical Investigations



ISBN 0-521-60497-4 (PB) £14.99
ISBN 0-521-84377-4 (HB) £45.00