Dr Gavin HymanSenior Lecturer
M.A. (Exon.), Ph.D. (Cantab.)
Personal and Career details
Gavin Hyman is a specialist in continental philosophy and religious thought, and has written widely in this area. His publications include The Predicament of Postmodern Theology (2001), New Directions in Philosophical Theology (ed., 2004), A Short History of Atheism (2010), Traversing the Middle: Ethics, Poiltics, Religion (2013) and Agnosticism: Explorations in Philosophy and Religious Thought (ed. with Francis Fallon, 2020). He was born in 1974, and has taught at Lancaster since 1999.
PHIL 100: Introduction to Philosophy: Knowledge and Reality (section on 'Continental Philosophy')
PPR 292: Socialist Thought in Britain
PPR 351: Modern Religious and Atheistic Thought
PPR 450: What is Philosophy? (section on Badiou and Žižek: 'Philosophy in the Present')
Gavin Hyman's research explores the implications of contemporary continental philosophy and cultural theory for religious thought, and, conversely, explores the ways in which theology both contributes to and calls into question contemporary philosophical and cultural assumptions.His first book, The Predicament of Postmodern Theology (2001) explored the relationship between two antithetical forms of postmodern theology: 'radical orthodoxy' and 'nihilist textualism'. It also raised the scaffolding for a form of religious reflection which avoids both the absolutism of radical orthodoxy on the one hand and the relativism of nihilist textualism on the other.
Subsequently, he extended these explorations into the ethical and political arenas, resulting in a book entitled Traversing the Middle: Ethics, Politics, Religion (2013). It engages with the work of those who have called for the “return of the metanarrative” or insisted on the necessity of the domain of the “universal” on specifically ethical and political grounds. Negotiating between post-secular "univeralism" and postmodern "particularism", the book argues that the ethical and political are best preserved and perpetuated through the negotiating of an ongoing tension between the domains of the universal, the particular and the singular. To proceed thus would be to traverse the terrain of the middle—ethically, politically and religiously.
He has also developed research interests in the cultural and philosophical history of atheism, agnosticism and secularism. In particular, he is interested in the epistemological shifts that created the conditions for the emergence of atheism, agnosticism and secularism in the early modern period. He is also interested in exposing the hidden philosophical (and often religious) presuppositions underlying contemporary manifestations of atheism. He has contributed to The Cambridge Companion to Atheism, written A Short History of Atheism (2010) and co-edited Confronting Secularism in Europe and India (2014) and Agnosticism: Explorations in Philosophy and Religious Thought (2020).
He is currently writing a book on the French thinker Michel de Certeau (1925-86), exploring the implications of his work for philosophy and religious thought.
Continental philosophy and religious thought, especially debates in contemporary theology between 'radical orthodoxy' and 'secular theology'; the dialectical tradition in philosophy and theology (Hegel and post-Hegelian thinkers such as Gillian Rose, Charles Taylor, Rowan Williams and Slavoj Zizek); religion and psychoanalytic thought (especially in the work of Freud and Michel de Certeau); religion and political thought, particularly the origins and development of the Christian Socialist tradition; the philosophical and cultural history of atheism and secularism; contemporary debates on the nature of atheism and secularism.
PhD Supervision Interests
Gavin Hyman welcomes research proposals in the following areas, broadly conceived: Christian studies: theological, philosophical and historical approaches; Philosophy and religious thought; Postmodernism, theology and ethics; Continental philosophy; Religion and Psychoanalytic Thought.