The Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies has a strong focus on research, often conducted in collaboration with colleagues from other disciplines and partners in the public domain. The scientific expertise of the Philosophy and Religious Studies Research Institute (OFR) is broad: from expertise in philosophy and artificial intelligence to expertise in Arabic, Christianity, Islam and other religious and secular traditions.

Philosophical analyses of contemporary issues

The research of the philosophers at Utrecht University is both fundamental and applied. Our researchers contribute to the in-depth study of thinkers and issues from the philosophical and scientific canons. We also conduct philosophical analyses on contemporary issues in logic, philosophy of science, ethics, aesthetics, philosophical anthropology and social and political philosophy.

We address very concrete issues, but also ask about deeper theories. Our approach can be broadly described as 'analytical': a good theoretical and methodological grounding in logic, history and ethical theorising is essential for this. Thus, our research covers a broad field, which extends even further through the collaborations we engage in with other departments.

Research groups

Religion as a dynamic cultural phenomenon - past and present

Our religion scholars focus on the interdisciplinary study of religion, in particular Christianity and Islam, and on historical and contemporary developments worldwide with a particular focus on Europe, the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia. Concrete themes of our research include, for example, the history of ideas about the afterlife, or (post-)secular moral and social norms and institutions and their interaction with religious ideas.

Projects tend to focus on religion as a shaper of cultural heritage, and on the transformation of cultural practices and social and political institutions (such as citizenship, gender norms, schools) under the influence of religion and vice versa. We also focus on social inclusion and exclusion, or situations in which religion and religious norms are perceived as hindering or supporting social mobility. In addition, we highlight the religious dimensions of discussions on equality and human rights.

Research groups