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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 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.





Michaelmas Term 2018



Faculty of Divinity, alternate Fridays

1:30 – 3:30 pm followed by tea



19 October – Dr Silvianne Aspray, (Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge University) “The Quest for the Metaphysics of the Protestant Reformation”




2 November – Dr Feriel Bouhafa, (Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge University) “Revisiting Farabi on Philosophy of Religion”




16 November – Prof Johannes Hoff, (University of London), “The Return of Magic in the Digital Age.  Re-thinking the Post-Reformation War against Fetishism”




30 November – Dr Hjoerdis Becker-Lindenthal and Ms Ruby Guyatt, (Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge University) “Kierkegaard on existential kenosis and the power of the image: Practice in Christianity and Fear and Trembling”