Zachary  Simpson

Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies

Zachary Simpson directory photo



Degree Major Emphasis Institution Year
Post-Doctoral Fellow Evolution and Theology of Cooperation Project Harvard University 2007-2009
Ph.D. Philosophy of Religion and Theology Claremont Graduate University 2009 
B.A. Biology Colorado College 2001


Zach Simpson specializes in contemporary continental philosophy, philosophy of religion, science and religion, and the history of ideas. His current research focuses on the ways in which individuals and communities create beliefs and reinforce them through art, ritual, and community. He teaches broadly in philosophy, religious studies, and the World Thought and Culture sequence. A Native New Mexican, Dr. Simpson enjoys hiking, mountain climbing, tennis, gardening, and spending time with his wife and daughter. His second book, The Paradoxes of Modernity: Creating Belief Through Art, Community, and Ritual, will be published by Palgrave-Macmillan in 2022.

Research, Presentations & Publications

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Books and Edited Volumes

  • Life as Art: Aesthetics and the Creation of Self (Rowman and Littlefield, 2012; Korean translation published by Galmuri Press in 2016)
  • Editor, Adventures in the Spirit: New Essays in Philosophical Theology, by Philip Clayton (Fortress Press, 2008)
  • Associate Editor (with Philip Clayton), Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science, (Oxford University Press, 2006)

Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • “Food and Interrelation in Continental Thought: A Deconstruction and Topology,” Comparative and Continental Philosophy, 2018, 10 (2): 151-168
  • “Emergence and Non–Personal Theology,” Zygon, June 2013, 48 (2): 405-427
  • “Evolution and Religion,” Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion, Vol. 3, 2012
  • “The Truths we Tell Ourselves: Foucault on parrhesia,” Foucault Studies, May 2012, 13: 99–115
  • “Merleau–Ponty and Emergent Perception,” Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, October 2011, 42 (3): 290–304
  • “Desire and Subcritical Life: An Attempted Rapprochement Between Renaud Barbaras and Contemporary Systems Science,” Research in Phenomenology, 2011, 41: 90–108

Conference Presentations

  • “Nietzsche and the Problem of Self-Deception,” Northwest Philosophy Conference, Pullman, WA, 2017
  • “Fictive Rituals for Climate Change?,” AAR Regional Meeting, Boulder, CO, 2017
  • “Fantasy and Metaphysics: The Post-Critical Need for Ritual,” AAR Regional Meeting, Omaha, NE, 2015
  • “Evolutionary Theories of Belief,” AAR Regional Meeting, Denver, CO, 2013
  • “Marcuse and the Exception,” the Fourth Biennial Conference of the International Herbert Marcuse Society, Philadelphia, PA, 2011
  • “Fantasy and the Future of Continental Philosophy of Religion,” Syracuse Conference on the Future of Continental Philosophy of Religion (sponsored by John Caputo), Syracuse, NY, 2011
  • “On the Use of Game Theory in Religion,” AAR Regional Meeting, Denver, CO, 2011
  • “The Truths we tell Ourselves: Foucault on parrhesia,” Foucault Circle Annual Meeting, Banff, Alberta, Canada, 2011
  • “Emergence: From Science to (non–personal) Religion,” American Academy of Religion Regional Meeting, Omaha, NE, 2010
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