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The D Society overview

The D Society is the main senior seminar in the faculty for Philosophy of Religion and Ethics. It is chaired by Professor Sarah Coakley.

Professor Donald Mackinnon
Professor Donald Mackinnon

Papers are invited from a wide range of philosophers, philosophers of religion and ethicists, both internal to Cambridge and from outside. A short response paper from a graduate student or faculty member usually opens the discussion.

Founded in 1921 by Professor James Bethune-Baker, the D Society was originally a subscription society intended to supplement the (then) predominantly biblical emphases of the faculty to include doctrinal and philosophical discussion. Under Professor Donald MacKinnon's chairmanship it became the main locus in the university for the interaction between senior members of the Philosophy and Divinity faculties; and under Professor Nicholas Lash it was transformed into a regular senior seminar in the faculty. 

The seminar is open to all interested members of the University, and to visitors who may wish to attend. Graduate students in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics are encouraged to come from the beginning of their programme and to make the seminars, and the enjoyable tea that follows, a place of regular interaction.

Members of the D Society are also encouraged to attend the regular public lectures in Philosophy of Religion, including the Stanton Lectures.


Lent  Term 2018 Progamme

Meetings will be held in the Faculty of Divinity on Fridays at 2.00 pm in the Lightfoot Room, with tea following at 4.00 pm in the Selwyn Room


January 26, ‘What’s the Point of Immortality?’

Professor Rae Langton (Knightsbridge Professor of Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy, Cambridge University)


February 9, ‘Between Hegel and Wittgenstein:  Reflections in the Wake of Gillian Rose and Rowan Williams’,

Dr Gavin Hyman (Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, University of Lancaster)


February 23, ‘Divine and Human Health in Plato’s Timaeus

Professor Gabor Betegh (Laurence Professor of Ancient Philosophy, Faculty of Classic, Cambridge University)


March 9, ‘Berkeley Meets the Besht:  Why Theism Might Entail a Hassidic Idealism’

Dr. Samuel Lebens (post-doctoral research fellow, Philosophy Department, University of Haifa)


Attenders of the D Society should also note the publicity for this term’s six Stanton Lectures on ‘Theology and the Anthropology of Christian Life’ by Professor Joel Robbins (Sigrid Rausing Professor of Anthropology, University of Cambridge), beginning on Wednesday January 24, 4 p.m, in the Runcie Room, to which they are warmly invited.                                                                                                                                                                                            SC