Professor John Lippitt

Visiting Professor of Ethics and Philosophy of Religion

1992 …2020

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Personal profile


John Lippitt is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Institute for Ethics and Society at The University of Notre Dame Australia, based in Sydney. He retains a Visiting Professorship in Philosophy at Hertfordshire, where he worked for 28 years. He is also an Honorary Professor of Philosophy at Deakin University. 

John's latest monograph, Love's Forgiveness, was published by Oxford University Press in 2020. This research was supported by a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship (2018-2020). Previous books are: The Routledge Guidebook to Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling (second edition, 2016); Kierkegaard and the Problem of Self-Love (Cambridge University Press, 2013); The Oxford Handbook of Kierkegaard (co-edited with George Pattison, Oxford University Press, 2013); Narrative, Identity and the Kierkegaardian Self (co-edited with Patrick Stokes, Edinburgh University Press, 2015); Humour and Irony in Kierkegaard’s Thought (2000) and two further edited volumes, Nietzsche and the Divine (co-edited with Jim Urpeth (2000)) and Nietzsche's Futures (1999). John's articles have been published in such journals as the British Journal of Aesthetics, Continental Philosophy Review, Inquiry, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, The Monist, Philosophy and Literature, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society and Religious Studies.

He has been awarded research grants by the AHRC, the British Academy, the Higher Education Academy, the Kierkegaard House Foundation (USA) and the EU FP7-funded Marie Curie Scheme (with Patrick Stokes), as well as the Leverhulme Trust. John is a member of the editorial board of Oxford Research Directions (formerly Oxford Handbooks Online) and the Royal Institute of Philosophy Council. He has also served as an officer for various academic societies and as a member of the AHRC Peer Review College. He has held visiting research fellowships at the Hong Kierkegaard Library at St Olaf College, Northfield, MN, USA and the Søren Kierkegaard Research Centre at the University of Copenhagen.

John studied Mathematics and Philosophy at Manchester before pursuing postgraduate work in philosophy at Durham and Essex. He joined Hertfordshire in 1992, and was promoted to Reader in 2001 and Professor in 2008. From 2009-2013 he was Head/Director of Research for the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities Research Institute (SSAHRI) and from 2013-2020 Research Leader for Philosophy. During this time, he jointly co-ordinated Philosophy's REF submissions.

John also has an active interest in the ethics of policing (see 'Commercial and public engagement' under 'Expertise'.)


Research interests

  • Kierkegaard
  • Ethics and Moral Psychology (especially virtues and vices)
  • Forgiveness
  • Religion and Modern Thought
  • Philosophy of Love and Friendship
  • Philosophy of Education (especially the role of virtues in higher education)
  • Ethical issues in Policing


Teaching specialisms

Modules currently or recently taught:

  • Kierkegaard, Philosophy and Religion
  • Virtues, Vices and Ethics
  • Introduction to World Religions (co-taught)
  • Religion and the Contemporary World (co-taught)
  • Nietzsche
  • Themes in Plato's Republic

Commercial and public engagement

John has appeared on BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg, discussing Kierkegaard, and BBC Three Counties Radio. He enjoys writing for non-specialist audiences, such as a recent commission to write on the significance of Kierkegaard's work for practicing psychotherapists, on which topic he recently run associated workshops. He has written for national publications such as Times Higher Education and popular philosophy and cultural magazines such as Philosophy Now and Standpoint.

From 2014-2020, John served as an external advisor to Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Ethics, Equality and Integrity Board and Ethics Committee; and the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Constabulary Professional Standards Department Scrutiny Panel, advising on the national police Code of Ethics and on ethics education for policing.

In recent years, John has co-organised (with Constantine Sandis) the Why Philosophy Matters series of public engagement events, focussing on the events in St Albans jointly run through the St Albans Cathedral Study Centre.

External positions

Professor of Philosophy and Director, Institute for Ethics & Society, The University of Notre Dame Australia

17 Feb 2020 → …

Honorary Professor of Philosophy, Deakin University

May 2014 → …


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