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The D Society overview

The D Society is the main research seminar in the faculty for Philosophy of Religion and Ethics. It is chaired by Professor Catherine Pickstock.


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 2019


Seminars take place 1.30-3.30pm in the Lightfoot Room, followed by tea in the Selwyn Room. Undergraduates are welcome.





1 February 2019  Dr Julia Borcherding (New York, Cambridge): 'Conway on Causation and Cognition'



15 February 2019Prof. Emmanuel Falque (Paris): 'Résistance de la présence' [response by Prof. Jeffrey Bishop]



1 March 2019 Dr Matthew Leisinger (Cambridge): 'Ralph Cudworth on Free Will (and the Compatibility of Free Will and Divine Grace)'



15 March 2019  Dr Simon Ravenscroft (Cambridge): "Two times two is four is the beginning of death": On Predictability and Human Action with Arendt, Dostoevsky, Illich and Kharms"



All colleagues, MPhil and PhD students in Philosophy of Religion or other areas (such as Classics, History and Philosophy), from within and outside the faculty, are warmly welcome.