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Dr Simon Ravenscroft

Dr Simon Ravenscroft

Research Associate

Outreach Co-ordinator (Arts and Humanities), University of Cambridge


Simon joined the VHI in April 2015, having recently completed his PhD in philosophy of religion at Peterhouse, University of Cambridge. His doctoral research was funded by the AHRC, and concerned a critical re-interpretation of the work of the radical Catholic social theorist and philosopher of history Ivan Illich (1926-2002).

Alongside his role at the VHI, Simon is an active member of the Policy Fellows Network at Cambridge University's Centre of Science and Policy, meeting senior figures from Whitehall and the wider policy community to advise on social and economic policy matters from a humanities perspective; he has lectured for Michigan State University’s ‘Integrated Arts and Humanities’ Study Abroad Programme and for the Sutton Trust as part of their access scheme for Cambridge. He co-led for several years an inter-departmental reading group in phenomenology, held at Corpus Christi College, and at the VHI has co-organised the 'St Paul and Radical Philosophy' reading group in 2016, and the 'Forms of Life, Forms of Discourse' seminar in 2017. He led the organisation of the 2015 'Patents on Life' conference, and is continuing work on an edited volume issuing from that event.

He was Murphy Research Fellow at the VHI from June 2016 to August 2017, a position held in conjunction with the Murphy Institute at the University of St Thomas, Minnesota. He was involved in admissions work at Magdalene College, Cambridge during Michaelmas Term 2017, and currently co-ordinates outreach activities across the University's School of Arts and Humanities.

Research Interests

Simon’s work sits at the rather busy intersection of theology, philosophy, literature, political and social theory, and economics. He is interested to investigate the origins and guiding assumptions of economic modernity, to resist the reduction of cultural and social goods to narrowly economic and utilitarian factors, and to develop a constructive social ethics around the value of shared experience. Alongside his other projects, Simon's specific research at the VHI is looking – from a philosophical, theological, and social-theoretical angle – at ways in which laughter and the comic can be understood as sources of affirmation, rather than merely negation. Related topics of interest include folly – especially where considered wise or holy, irony in a non-cynical mode, and ambiguity.

Key Publications

Selected academic

  • Patents on Life: Through the Lenses of Law, Religion, and Global Justice (co-edited with Thomas C. Berg and Roman Cholij – title tbc). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2018/19.
  • “Charité, amour et don dans l'oeuvre d'Ivan Illich”. In Ivan Illich, l'alchimiste des possibles, edited by Martin Fortier and Thierry Paquot, 165-211. Paris: Lemieux Editeur, 2016.
  • "Producing Happiness: Huxley and Dostoevsky on Love and Politics". Noesis: Theology, Philosophy, Poetics 2 (2015): 47-55.

 Popular articles, essays etc.


Centre of Science & Policy:

Twitter: @S_R_Ravenscroft


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Upcoming events

AI, Digital Dualism and the Loss of Wonder

Apr 27, 2018

St Edmund's College (Garden Room)

Woolf-VHI Joint Seminar: Who are the People of God?

May 15, 2018

KC Shasha Conference Suite, Woolf Institute, Cambridge CB3 0UB

Upcoming events