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Dr Peter Woodford

Dr Peter Woodford

TWCF Postdoctoral Fellow in Theology, Philosophy of Religion, and the Sciences

Office Phone: 01223336682


Dr. Peter Woodford works on the philosophy of religion, its history in the modern Continental and Anglo-American traditions, and in particular on the relationship between philosophy, religious thought, and the biological sciences.  He completed his Ph.D. at Stanford University in the area of Modern Western Religious Thought, Ethics, and Philosophy, where he wrote his dissertation on the reception of Darwin in the 19th-century German movement of “Life-Philosophy” that grew out of the work of Friedrich Nietzsche.  This project reconstructed the way in which a new picture of “life” that was seen to emerge from evolutionary biology created a set of questions about the origins, persistence, and normative validity of cultural values.  These questions informed a unique theory of religion and its relation to science, and the project also examined the major criticisms of such "naturalistic" approaches put forward by Neo-Kantian philosophers at the beginning of the 20th century.  Dr. Woodford is currently finalizing a book manuscript that has expanded this original project to address widespread debate about naturalism and the place of science and philosophy in the study of religion.

Since September 2014, Dr. Woodford has been housed in Prof. Tim Clutton-Brock’s Large Animal Research Group in the Department of Zoology at Cambridge, where he is learning from on-going theoretical and empirical work on social behavior and its evolution.  He is turning his attention to the ways in which work on cooperation in animal societies, and at various levels of biological organization throughout what have come to be called the "major transitions" in the history of life, has generated renewed interdisciplinary interest on problems that lie at intersection of biology and ethical theory, and debate over the compatibility between religious and scientific reflection on nature.


Research Interests

Philosophy of Religion

Religious and Philosophical Ethics

Religious Naturalism

Philosophy of Biology

Evolutionary Biology



Key Publications

“Specters of the Nineteenth Century: Charles Taylor and the Problem of Historicism,” Journal of Religious Ethics 40, no. 1 (2012): 171-192.

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New book to encourage sixth-formers to consider studying theology

Feb 23, 2017

Stephen Cherry, The Dean of King’s College, Cambridge has this week published a book, 'God-Curious: Asking Eternal Questions'.

Open Afternoon for potential applicants

Feb 20, 2017

The next Open Afternoon for our undergraduate course is on Monday 24th April. Bookings now open!

Decani Scholarship applications invited

Feb 16, 2017

Clare College is inviting applications for the Decani Scholarship.

Dr Beth Singler Discusses 'The Rise of the Robots' on BBC Radio 4

Feb 13, 2017

Dr Beth Singler, Former PhD student and research associate at The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, recently discussed the role of robots in science and culture on the BBC's Today programme.

Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion Masterclass at Corpus Christi College, 29 March

Feb 01, 2017

This event is aimed at inquisitive students in Year 12 (or equivalent) at UK schools only, and features a series of challenging and inspiring taster lectures.

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