Prominent Philosopher John Haldane Appointed to Hold Professorship in Baylor's Department of Philosophy

March 19, 2015
John Haldane

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WACO, Texas (March 19, 2015) — Baylor University has announced the appointment of philosopher and public intellectual John Haldane, Ph.D., currently professor of moral philosophy at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, as The J. Newton Rayzor, Sr., Distinguished Professor in Philosophy at Baylor University.

Haldane, chairman of the Royal Institute of Philosophy and a frequent contributor to BBC radio and television, will join Baylor faculty in the fall.

“I am delighted and honored to have been appointed to this position at Baylor,” Haldane said. “Baylor University stands out in the United States among those having a religious foundation in retaining an unapologetic, yet un-strident affirmation of Christian faith and values while also committing itself to the high academic standards both in teaching and in scholarship and research. That combination is rare, and Baylor shows a real commitment to pursuing those two goals. I have already had opportunities in past years and more recently to engage with Baylor undergraduate and graduate students and am very impressed with the sense of unity of purpose.”

Haldane has published more than 200 academic papers in the history of philosophy, the philosophy of the mind, metaphysics, and moral and social philosophy. He is co-author of “Atheism and Theism” in Blackwell’s “Tomorrow’s Classics” list and author of “An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Religion” (Duckworth). He has produced two volumes of essays on philosophy and religion, “Faithful Reason” (2006) and “Reasonable Faith” (2010, Routledge); and a volume on ethics entitled “Practical Philosophy” (2009).

His writings for general readers include “Seeking Meaning and Making Sense,” “The Church and the World” and “Arts and Minds.”

Haldane also writes for newspapers and periodicals and appears on radio and television. For several years he contributed a monthly “Credo” column to The (London) Times. He also writes art reviews and articles for Art Book, Art and Christianity, Art Monthly, Burlington Magazine, Modern Painters and other international art journals. He is a former fellow of the Henry Moore Institute established for the study of 20th-century British sculpture.

Leading philosophers and theologians praise Haldane and his work.

Candace Vogler, Ph.D., the Clara E. Stern Professor of Philosophy at the University of Chicago, said that Haldane’s “commitment to Christian education informs his pioneering work leading Thomistic seminars that draw students together from many fields, giving both specialists and novice readers of (St. Thomas) Aquinas serious opportunities to explore and engage contemporary philosophical issues alongside Aquinas’ work. It informs his exemplary work as a public intellectual, as a voice of clear reason and strong faith in public debates. And it informs his vision for academic work in the Humanities generally. I know of no other scholar whose energies, vision and talents are better suited than Haldane’s for this position."

Robert C. Roberts, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Ethics in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences, said that it is “an enormous honor and privilege for Baylor that a Christian thinker of John Haldane's stature and influence should be joining our philosophy department. This appointment speaks volumes about the department's promise of excellence in years to come.”

C. Stephen Evans, Ph.D., University Professor of Philosophy and Humanities at Baylor, said that Haldane is “not only an amazing scholar with an incredible list of accomplishments; he also is a wise and warm person who is deeply committed to educating students, both undergraduates and graduates. He provides a wonderful combination of a world-class intellect who is deeply committed to Baylor’s distinctive mission.”

Alexander Pruss, Ph.D., professor and director of graduate studies in philosophy at Baylor, said that Haldane is “the pre-eminent analytical Thomist of our time. His work creatively and deeply brings the very best in medieval thought in conversation with contemporary philosophy in ways that challenges ingrained preconceptions. It will be a great honor to work with him, and I am overjoyed that our undergraduate and graduate students will have the opportunity of studying with this truly world-class scholar in a way that centrally contributes to Baylor’s mission of joining cutting-edge scholarship with Christian commitment.”

Haldane was educated at St Aloysius’ College in Scotland and at the University of the Arts and the University of London. He earned B.A. degrees in fine art (1st Class) and in philosophy (1st Class); a post-graduate certificate in education; and a Ph.D. in philosophy. He taught art for three years in St Joseph’s Convent school in London and was a visiting lecturer in the Architecture School of the University of Westminster before taking a post at the University of St Andrews in 1983.

At St Andrews University, Haldane is director of the Centre for Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs. He has held the Royden Davis Chair in Humanities at Georgetown University and been Stanton Lecturer in Cambridge University, Gifford Lecturer at Aberdeen University, Joseph Lecturer at the Gregorian University in Rome and MacDonald Lecturer in the University of Oxford. He also has held fellowships at the universities of Pittsburgh, Edinburgh and Oxford and is a Senior Fellow of the Witherspoon Institute at Princeton.

Haldane has served on several committees of inquiry, including UK Victim Support Working Party on Victim Compensation; the Nuffield Council on Bioethics Working Party on Genetics and Mental Disorders; and a Scottish National Health Service Working Party on Difficult Decision Making in Health Care. He has been a member of the Philosophy, Law and Religious Studies panel of the UK National Arts and Humanities and Research Board.

In 2005 he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as a Consultor to the Pontifical Council for Culture and reappointed in 2011. He is also a member of the Pontifical Academy of Thomas Aquinas and was recently elected to the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Haldane is married to Hilda, and they have four children: Kirsty, James, Alice and John.

“On the social side of things my wife, Hilda, and I have been charmed by the open friendliness of members of the University and also of the people of Waco and its surrounds,” he said. “We very much look forward to becoming members of the Baylor family.”


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University’s oldest and largest academic division, consisting of 24 academic departments and 13 academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines.

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