John Cottingham, MA, DPhil. (Oxon.)
John Cottingham was born in London and educated at Merchant Taylors’ School Northwood and St John’s College, Oxford University, where he gained double First Class honours in ‘Mods’ (Latin and Greek Languages and Literature) and ‘Greats’ (Philosophy and Ancient History). He later took his doctorate at Oxford University, writing a thesis on the philosophy of Descartes (supervisor: Anthony Kenny; examiners: Bernard Williams and L. J. Beck).
In his early career, John Cottingham held philosophy positions at The University of Washington, Seattle, and at Exeter College, Oxford University. Subsequently, he was for many years Head of Department and then Director of Research and Graduate Studies at the Philosophy Department at the University of Reading, where he is now Professor Emeritus of Philosophy. He is currently Professorial Research Fellow at the Centre for Philosophy of Religion, Heythrop College, University of London and Visiting Professor at King’s College London. He is also an Honorary Fellow of St John’s College, Oxford.
Awards, offices and visiting positions
Professor Cottingham has served as Chairman of the British Society for the History of Philosophy, as President of the Mind Association, and as President of the Aristotelian Society. From 1993-2012 he was Editor of Ratio, the international journal of analytic philosophy. From 2007-9 he was President of the British Society for the Philosophy of Religion and is a life member of the Council of the Society.
John Cottingham has held visiting appointments in the United States (Fulbright Scholar) and New Zealand (Erskine Fellowship), and in the UK has held the Radcliffe Research Fellowship in Philosophy. In 2002-4 he was Stanton Lecturer in the Philosophy of Religion at Cambridge University. From 2005-8 he was Director of the research project on Impartiality and Partiality in Ethics at Reading University, funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council. In 2013 he held a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Rhodes University, and in 2014 gave the Mangoletsi Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion at the University of Leeds. (for further details of education and appointments, click here)
Some principal publications
John Cottingham is the author of numerous articles on early-modern philosophy, and on ethics and the philosophy of religion. His many books include Descartes (Blackwell, 1986), The Rationalists (Oxford University Press, 1988), Descartes’s Philosophy of Mind (Orion, 1997), Philosophy and the good life: reason and the passions in Greek, Cartesian and psychoanalytic ethics (Cambridge University Press, 1998), On the Meaning of Life (Routledge, 2003), The Spiritual Dimension (CUP, 2005), Cartesian Reflections (OUP, 2008), Why Believe? (Continuum, 2009), and Philosophy of Religion: Towards a More Humane Approach (CUP, 2014). He is co-translator of the standard three-volume Cambridge edition of The Philosophical Writings of Descartes (CUP, 1985-91), and his edited collections include Reason, Will and Sensation (OUP, 1994), Western Philosophy: an anthology (Blackwell, 1996, 2nd edition 2008), The Cambridge Companion to Descartes (CUP, 1992) and the Oxford Readings volume on Descartes (OUP, 1998). He is also general editor of the Oxford Philosophical Texts series.
The Moral Life, a multi-authored collection of papers honouring his work in moral psychology, ethics and the philosophy of religion, together with his replies, appeared in 2008.
For further CV details see Appointments page