University of Hertfordshire

Dr Finlay Malcolm

Finlay Malcolm

Dr Finlay Malcolm

Postal address:
University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Hertfordshire
United Kingdom


Research interests

My current research interests are primarily in three areas: the Philosophy of Religion, Political Philosophy, and Social Epistemology.

In the Philosophy of Religion I am particularly focussed on researching questions concerning the nature and value of faith. For instance, what role does faith play in our everyday lives? Does faith require belief or trust, or can faith be had without these attitudes? What kinds of experiences do people have who suffer a loss of, or crisis of faith? Can faith be rational even if we lack evidence? How does faith help us to achieve our long-term goals? Each of these questions is important for understanding faith in the lives of both religious and non-religious people. I also have general interests in religious epistemology, for instance, I am interested in how we can have religious knowledge, whether religious beliefs can be rational, and the role that testimony and trust occupies in the formation of religious beliefs. Finally, I also work on 'non-realist' approaches to religion: theories, like religious fictionalism, which maintain that people do not, or should not hold religious beliefs, but should engage in religious practice nonetheless, and whether religious identity even requires holding religious beliefs at all.

My research in Political Philosophy mainly centres on democracy and alternative forms of government. I am working on arguments in favour of democracy at a time when democracy has received considerable criticism. I also research objections to other forms of government, with particular focus on 'epistocracy'. And I have written on the obligations there are on citizens to vote competently.

In Social Epistemology, I have written on the ways by which we share knowledge with each other through testimony, and what ethical problems can occur in the context of our testimonial practices. In this regard I have interests relating to epistemic injustice, and how the ethics of testimony bears on pragmatic and epistemic reasons for belief. I am also working to connect several of these concepts to issues in the social epistemology of religion.