Nicholas Adams to visit as Senior Research Fellow at PThU

27 March 2023

At the invitation of the Moral Compass Project (MCP), Prof Nicholas Adams will be visiting as a Senior Research Fellow at PThU in March, April and June.

About Nicholas Adams

Nick Adams is professor of philosophical theology at the University of Birmingham (UK). Prior to that, he spent more than fifteen years at Edinburgh. Last year, he was one of the keynote speakers at the international MCP conference 'Searching for Moral Common Ground'. His contribution addressed the question of whether our deepest moral convictions can be put into words. If our deepest moral motivations are difficult to name, what can we expect from moral conversation? Might engaging in conversation about moral stances be more likely to encourage polarisation? Or are there ways to deal with the problem of the ineffability of morality? His lecture found wider recognition among MCP researchers, which was reason to invite him to stay longer.


Adams has an affinity with fundamental questions about the possibility of moral conversation from his research into and practice of interfaith dialogue. His original background mainly concerns research into the relationship between philosophy and theology, and in particular the influence German philosophy has had on twentieth-century theology. The three main models in that tradition for assessing truth - science, history, art - led him to focus on philosophical problems in what he calls 'interreligious engagement'. In particular, he has delved into the method of 'scriptural reasoning' in which people from different religious backgrounds discuss current issues using a 'scripture' passage from their own religion. The question driving his current research is what happens to truth when people in our time have such different understandings of its nature, scope and status. Adams sees opportunities to learn more from each other by moving beyond judging each other, but without abandoning truth. His work is strongly influenced by approaches by Andrew Bowie, Peter Ochs, and Timothy Jenkins.

Working at PThU

He will be in Amsterdam from 27 March to 7 April and from 19 to 30 June. He will contribute to teaching and MCP activities, including preparing a special issue on the above lecture. An event for a wider audience will be organised in June.


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