Department of Philosophy

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Philip Goodchild

Professor of Religion and Philosophy, Faculty of Arts



I joined the University of Nottingham in January 2000, having previously taught for six years at the University of Cumbria. I originally studied at Cambridge (Mathematics, followed by Theology and Religious Studies) and Lancaster (Religious Studies), where my postgraduate research focused on Gilles Deleuze and Friedrich Nietzsche. I have served as Head of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, and have been Professor of Religion and Philosophy since January 2008. I joined the Department of Philosophy in September 2016.

Expertise Summary

My main expertise is in continental, especially French, philosophy, and its relation to religion. I also study the philosophy of political economy. My main books include: Gilles Deleuze and the Question of Philosophy (1996), Deleuze and Guattari: An Introduction to the Politics of Desire (1996), Capitalism and Religion: The Price of Piety (2002), Theology of Money (2007/2009), Philosophy as a Spiritual Exercise (2013), Credit and Faith (2020), Economic Theology: Credit and Faith II (2020) and The Metaphysics of Trust (2021). I have edited books in continental philosophy of religion, including Rethinking Philosophy of Religion: Approaches from Continental Philosophy (2002), Difference in Philosophy of Religion (2003), and coedited with Hollis Phelps, Religion and European Philosophy: Key Thinkers from Kant to Žižek (2017).

Areas where I can offer specific supervision include continental philosophy of religion and philosophical approaches to capitalism. I also have broader expertise in philosophy of religion, European philosophy, history of philosophy, political philosophy and philosophical theology.

Teaching Summary

I am now responsible for:

  • Philosophy of Religions
  • Continental Philosophy

I have taught most areas of a Theology and Religious Studies curriculum over the years, combining approaches from philosophy and theories of religion, history of religious thought, and Christian theology. I now focus on continental philosophy, philosophy from within religions, and recent philosophical engagement with political economy.

Research Summary

My recent research has been on credit and faith, linking economics and theology. The aim here is to explore the dimensions of economic life that consist in credit, trust, and beliefs about justice… read more

I am on research leave with external funding from Autumn 2021 - Autumn 2023 (inclusive).

Current Research

My recent research has been on credit and faith, linking economics and theology. The aim here is to explore the dimensions of economic life that consist in credit, trust, and beliefs about justice alongside the dimensions of the life of faith that are enacted in the ways in which people cooperate and interact in their material and social existence. Economics and theology can be understood in and through each other.

Past Research

The philosophy of Gilles Deleuze was my main focus during the 1990s. While my first monograph concentrated on his metaphysics (Gilles Deleuze and the Question of Philosophy, 1996), the second explored Deleuze and Guattari's political thought (Deleuze and Guattari: An Introduction to the Politics of Desire, 1996). I also edited a special issue of Theory, Culture and Society (1997) to commemorate Deleuze's death, and have published several articles.

Subsequently I moved on to Continental philosophy of religion: I initiated the first international conference in this field in 2000, edited two books exploring this new approach, and contributed my own major monograph, Capitalism and Religion: The Price of Piety (2002). I have also been editor of the book series New Slant: Religion, Politics, Ontology with Duke University Press.

More recently, I have turned to religion and political economy: my book, Theology of Money (2007, US edition 2009), broke new ground as the first systematic study of the faith system inherent in credit that underlies global capitalism, giving a fresh account of capitalism itself. I have also explored the role of money in the recent global credit and sovereign debt crises, both of which I had predicted.

My own thought on these matters developed significantly on these matters since these crises emerged, leading to an understanding of the role of trust, in the form of credit and faith, at the heart of economic, political and religious life. This culminated in a trilogy: Credit and Faith (2020), Economic Theology (2020) and The Metaphysics of Trust (2021).

Previously, I continued to explore how thinking can be transformative, with a creative and exploratory work, Philosophy as a Spiritual Exercise: A Symposium (2013), heavily influenced by Plato, Kierkegaard and Weil.

Future Research

Transvaluation and the Practice of Metaphysics

(To be funded by the Widening Horizons in Philosophical Theology project at St Andrews)

Recent calls for a renewal of metaphysics in philosophical theology incorporate much that has been learned from the continental critique of metaphysics: thinking is formed by participation in a living tradition, physical embodiment in sensation, modes of spiritual practice, attentiveness to what is given and what is possible, awareness of political implications, and the fostering of trust and creativity in order to point towards a shared metaphysical reality.

The challenge taken up in this project is to move beyond recommending a renewal of metaphysics towards forming an adequate set of metaphysical concepts. This project aims to illuminate the practice of metaphysics by:

  1. developing and refining a method of transvaluation for constructive metaphysical thought in philosophical theology;
  2. exploring the potential of this method by applying it to a specific case: reformulating ontological arguments for the existence of God;
  3. exploring how this transvalued metaphysical account of God can deepen an understanding of truth (as giving orientation to thought) and sin (as arising from disorientated thought).

Transvaluation removes the binding force of existing concepts and values by creating a fresh perspective, endowing a new sense and value to phenomena. Instead of seeking certainty, it seeks to express a compelling vision that illuminates the nature and order of reality. The first stage is to revise and develop Nietzsche's method of transvaluation, forged in the critique of metaphysics, for a contrary use in constructive metaphysical practice through dialogue with the French spiritualist metaphysicians (e.g. Boutroux, Bergson, Lavelle, Le Senne, Weil). The second stage is to explore how one might still move from thought towards existence by means of a transvaluation of ontological arguments. The third stage focuses on a transvaluation of concepts of truth and error (or sin) derived from this renewed metaphysical perspective. The outcome will be a monograph on the practice of metaphysics.

Department of Philosophy

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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