Finance Ethics: Economics as a Theology of Money
International Lecture by Prof. Dr. Philip Goodchild
Prof. Dr. Philip GOODCHILD, Professor at University of Nottingham (UK)
Philip Goodchild is Professor of Religion and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham, UK. He studied Mathematics and Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Cambridge, and at the University of Lancaster. This culminated in his PhD dissertation on the immanentist metaphysics of Gilles Deleuze and Friedrich Nietzsche: Chaos and Eternity: Gilles Deleuze and the Question of Philosophy (1993). He lectured the University of Cumbria for six years, and then moved to the University of Nottingham in 2000, being promoted to full professor in 2008.
Goodchild published one of the earliest studies of Deleuze and Guattari’s social thought, Deleuze and Guattari: An Introduction to the Politics of Desire (1996). A conference entitled ‘Continental philosophy of religion’ in 2000, led to Rethinking Philosophy of Religion: Approaches from Continental Philosophy (2002) and Difference in Philosophy of Religion (2003). His monograph on the encounter between critical theory, poststructuralism and philosophy of religion was Capitalism and Religion: the Price of Piety (2002). In his Theology of Money (2007; US edition 2009), a philosophical analysis of the way in which money functions as a practical theology, he anticipated and explained the financial crisis. Working towards a further book entitled ‘Credit and Faith: a Political Theology of Economics’, he also has interests in rethinking rationality as self-examination, dialogue and encounter. This resulted in Philosophy as a Spiritual Exercise: A Symposium (2013), which will be followed by a book on the philosophy of Simone Weil.
The provocative title of this lecture, held by Prof. Dr. Philip Goodchild from Nottingham University (U.K.) refers back to his epoch making book “Theology of Money” published in 2009, which on its turn elaborates on the theme of his “Capitalism and Religion – The Price of Piety” (2002). In his talk that was delivered on Wednesday 16th of December 2015, Goodchild analyzed the parallels between economy and theology, between money as a societal institution and the faith based dynamics that drives it.
He questioned the prima vista moral evidence that debts should be paid back in due time. In his view however, the financial crisis challenged the faith in the very possibility and even, on a deeper level, the ethicality of such a balanced quasi-natural economic equilibrium. Referring to the theologically connoted scheme of social and interpersonal balance, Goodchild’s well documented critique of financial capitalism comprises de facto a critique of the social contract paradigm, so dominant social-political philosophy.
Goodchild’s talk was followed, on the next day, by a masterclass. Participants studied two unpublished articles by the author, both on the theological implications of the economic debt and credit concepts (resp. “Credit and investment: a matter of faith, and Credit and Debt. Matters for economics, philosophy or theology?”).
During the meeting, Goodchild performed his educational and philosophical skills in extremely hospital manner. A majority of the participants being mainly acquainted with economics and coming from a profession in the financial industry, Goodchild succeeded brilliantly in connecting the economic discipline and the questions of daily professional reality to his philosophical and ethical framework.
LUXEMBOURG SCHOOL OF RELIGION & SOCIETY, Department of Public Responsibility
with friendly support of
UNIVERSITY OF LUXEMBOURG, Department of Philosophy
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