Skip to main content
KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico


Dr Carlisle Tresch studied theology and philosophy as both an undergraduate and postgraduate student at Trinity College, Cambridge. She obtained her BA in Philosophy in 1998, and her PhD from the Faculty of Divinity in 2002. Since then she has published three books on Kierkegaard, one book on habit, and the first English translation of Félix Ravaisson’s De l’habitude. In addition to her scholarly work she has written numerous philosophical articles for a general audience, including series for The Guardian on Kierkegaard, Spinoza, Bertrand Russell, and the problem of evil.

Between 2003 and 2005 Dr Carlisle Tresch was a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Leeds. From 2006 until 2011 she was Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Liverpool, where she developed a project called Philosophy in the City. She joined King’s in 2011, and in addition to her research and teaching within the Department she works in the Office of the Dean as AKC Programme Director.  In 2015 she became an Associate of King’s College London.

For more information about the Associate of King’s College, please visit the Dean’s website.

Research interests and PhD supervision

  • 19th-century philosophy and theology, especially Kierkegaard
  • Early modern philosophy, especially Spinoza
  • Ethics and Philosophy of religion
  • Themes of repetition, habit and practice
  • European philosophy and its history
  • The interface between the theological and philosophical traditions

Clare Carlisle Tresch’s research – on Kierkegaard, on Spinoza, on habit and practice, and on the philosophy of religion more generally – converges at the interface between philosophy and theology. She is interested in all aspects of Kierkegaard’s thought, especially his account of the Christian life and its situation in the modern world, and his significance within the history of philosophy. She has written three books on Kierkegaard, most recently Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling (Continuum 2010).

Dr Carlisle Tresch’s research on habit draws on the histories of philosophy and theology to articulate an original interpretation of habit, and also to inform an account of religious practice and ritual. One objective of this work is to address an intellectualist bias within some contemporary philosophy of religion, by providing a philosophical framework for reflection on practical as well as epistemic aspects of Christian faith. An outline of this project is set out in her book On Habit (Routledge 2014). In collaboration with Mark Sinclair, she has published the first English translation of Félix Ravaisson’s Of Habit (Continuum 2008), and a special edition of the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology (January 2011) on habit.

Clare Carlisle Tresch welcomes enquiries from prospective research students who would like to work with her on projects relating to her research interests. These include theology and modern European thought; the history of philosophy (in particular early modern, 19th-century, and 20th-century European philosophy); philosophy of religion; and themes of habit, practice and repetition in philosophy and theology.

For more details, please see her full research profile.


Clare Carlisle Tresch teaches undergraduates modules in the Philosophy of Religion, including Thinking About Evil (4AAT1501) and Philosophy of Religious Life (6AAT3602)

Expertise and public engagement

Clare Carlisle Tresch writes regularly on philosophy, religion and ethics for The Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement.  Her Guardian articles include series on Kierkegaard, Spinoza, Bertrand Russell, and the problem of evil. She has contributed to BBC Radio 4 programmes, including ‘In Our Time’ (on Kierkegaard, and on the Ontological Argument) and ‘The Moral Maze’.

Clare is also a course instructor for the IAI Academy, a new educational platform offering courses from world-leading scholars on the ideas that matter. A link to Clare's course can be found below: