About

Helen De Cruz

I hold the Danforth Chair in the Humanities at Saint Louis University.

Before, I had appointments as Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) at Oxford Brookes University, assistant professor at the VU Amsterdam, postdoctoral fellow of the British Academy at Oxford University, FWO postdoctoral fellow at the University of Leuven, and as Templeton residential fellow at Oxford University.

I obtained my PhD in philosophy at the University of Groningen in 2011, and a PhD in archaeology and art sciences at the Free University Brussels in 2007. I have a broad range of interests, but my main areas of specialization are philosophy of cognitive science and philosophy of religion. In addition, I have published work in general philosophy of science, epistemology, aesthetics, and metaphilosophy.

My work is concerned with the question why and how humans form beliefs in domains that are quite remote from everyday life, such as in mathematics, theology and science. How do the concepts in these domains relate to our everyday, ordinary cognitive skills? What is the evolutionary origin of our capacities to form beliefs in these abstract domains? I argue human high-level cognitive processes have precursors in nonhuman animal cognition (e.g., a sense of numbers is shared with other vertebrates), but that humans have expanded their conceptual toolkit by their reliance on other minds and on material culture.

I am currently executive co-editor for the Journal of Analytic Theology, associate editor for Ergo, editorial board member of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Religious Studies, Philosophical Psychology and The Philosophical Forum. I am also managing editor for Faith and Philosophy, and editorial board member for the section on Religion in Philosophy and Theology, Mohr Siebeck Verlag

On this webpage, you can download papers, find my contact details, my CV, information about my education and training, past and current research projects, resources on teaching, and some information on blogging, the Renaissance lute and other activities.

Read an in-depth interview with me, for Cliff Sosis' What's it like to be a philosopher here.

I have an Erdös number of 4 (thanks to co-authoring work in the philosophy of mathematics)

Helen De Cruz

Longer academic bio (200 words):

Helen De Cruz holds the Danforth Chair in the Humanities at Saint Louis University. Her work examines why and how humans engage in pursuits that seem remote from the immediate concerns of survival and reproduction, such as theology, mathematics, and science. She is author of several monographs, most recently Wonderstruck: How Awe and Wonder Shape the Way We Think (Princeton University Press, forthcoming) and Religious Disagreement (Cambridge University, 2019). She has recently edited and illustrated the volume Philosophy Illustrated: Forty-Two Thought Experiments to Broaden Your Mind (Oxford University Press, 2022), and is co-editor of Philosophy through Science Fiction Stories (with Johan De Smedt and Eric Schwitzgebel, Bloomsbury, 2021), as well as of Avatar: The Last Airbender and Philosophy (forthcoming with Wiley). Her papers have appeared in journals such as Philosophical Studies, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Philosophers’ Imprint. In addition to her PhD in Philosophy (2011, University of Groningen), she holds a PhD in Archaeology and Art Sciences (2007, Free University of Brussels). She has written public philosophy for among others the Guardian, Aeon, Psyche, and The Raven Magazine. In her spare time, she writes short fiction that has appeared in venues such as EscapePod and Hyphenpunk, and plays the Renaissance lute and archlute.

Helen De Cruz

Shorter academic bio (100 words):

Helen De Cruz holds the Danforth Chair in the Humanities at Saint Louis University. She is author of Wonderstruck: How Awe and Wonder Shape the Way We Think (Princeton University Press, forthcoming), Religious Disagreement (Cambridge University, 2019), and she has edited and illustrated Philosophy Illustrated: Forty-Two Thought Experiments to Broaden Your Mind (Oxford University Press, 2022). In addition to her PhD in philosophy (2011, University of Groningen), she holds a PhD in archaeology and art sciences (2007, Free University of Brussels).

Fiction bio (70 words):

Helen De Cruz is a Philosophy Professor, holder of the Danforth Chair in the Humanities at Saint Louis University. In their spare time, they play the Renaissance lute and archlute. They write fiction, and draw and paint. Their fiction has appeared in EscapePod, HyphenPunk, and 96th of October. They are co-editor, with Eric Schwitzgebel and Johan De Smedt, of the anthology Philosophy Through Science Fiction Stories (Bloomsbury, 2021).

You can also find information about me on the following websites: