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Prof Fiona Ellis

Dr Fiona Ellis Professor
Telephone: 020 7795 4262


I have worked at Heythrop since 2004. Before that I had college lectureships at Wadham College and Queen’s College (Oxford), and it was at Oxford that I did my graduate work (under the supervision of David Wiggins and Paul Snowdon). I am Director of the Centre for Philosophy of Religion, and this work has guided my research for the last few years – I work at the interface of philosophy and theology. The Centre (CPR) has been awarded a Templeton/Fordham university grant this year for a project entitled New Models of Religious Understanding, and my own  contribution involves linking the relevant questions to the ‘expansive naturalist’ framework I have developed in my book God, Value, and Nature (OUP 2014) . More information about this project can be found on the Varieties of Understanding website. There is another strand to my research which has become increasingly important to me in the last couple of years, namely, the question of how we are to comprehend the concept of desire, and, in particular, its theological significance. I have recently published an article in Religious Studies on this topic – ‘Two Erotic Ideals’ – and have just completed a piece for the Oxford Handbook on Love entitled ‘Schopenhauer on Love’. I am currently working on a new book project called The End of Desire: Meaning, Nihilism, and God

What led me into philosophy? A burning desire to understand the significance of life, love, and music; the prospect of being able to discuss these issues with like-minded colleagues and students; and the thought of spending my life doing the only thing that makes me really happy.    

Current teaching

Undergraduate: Love, Sex, Death, and God; Nineteenth Century German Philosophy (alternates every other year with Phenomenology)

Graduate: Knowledge and Reality (metaphysics).

Research Interests

Additional Areas of Interest

  • Love; Desire; Idealism; Naturalism


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Conference Papers

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Other information

I work at the interface of philosophy and theology, and am involved in a project which seeks to bring these disciplines into dialogue and which draws upon insights from philosophers belonging to both the analytic and the continental tradition. I reject some of the untenable dualisms which stand in the way of this reconciliatory project, and defend a conception of reality which grants the significance of theological discourse. The results of this research have been published in a monograph entitled God, Value, and Nature (OUP 2014). I am also interested in questions relating to the concept of desire, and have written several articles on the theistic significance of sexual desire.

Other interests away from Heythrop include wild swimming, cycling, film, and music.