John Bowlin

John Bowlin

Research Mentor and Researcher


John Bowlin is the Robert L. Stuart Professor of Philosophy and Christian Ethics at Princeton Theological Seminary. His primary interests are in theology and ethical theory, social ethics and criticism, and the history of moral theology. He is the author of Contingency and Fortune in Aquinas’s Ethics (Cambridge 1999) and Tolerance among the Virtues (Princeton 2016). He is currently writing a book on the languages of justice placed in theological context.

Research Project:

Bowlin’s project resides at the intersection of theological anthropology, moral philosophy, and recent work on practical reason and motivated irrationality. Its question is this: if irrationality infects human desire, judgment, and choice (as recent work in social psychology and cognitive science seems to indicate), then how can practical reason be the rule or norm of right action (as moral philosophers and theologians have traditionally claimed)? Bowlin hopes to 1) develop an account of irrationality in thought and action informed by this recent work; 2) use this account to challenge, qualify, and sharpen that traditional claim; and 3) consider how Christian commitments about sanctifying grace and growth in virtue (moral and intellectual) might be adapted to meet this challenge.


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