I am an intellectual range rider whose research activity embraces a diversity of materials drawn from philosophy, history, political economy, urban studies and social and political ecology. At the heart of my work is a concept of ‘rational freedom.’ This concept holds that freedom is a condition of the appropriate arrangement of the cognitive, affective, interpersonal and intrapersonal dimensions of human life, incorporating essential human attributes from instinct to reason. Defining politics in the ancient sense of creative self-realisation, I affirm a socio-relational and ethical conception of freedom in which individual liberty depends upon and is constituted by the quality of relations with other individuals. I therefore stresses the intertwining of ethics and politics within a conception of the good life. My work is concerned to establish the nature, causes, and conditions of human flourishing. I return philosophy to its key question of what it is to live well as a human being and what it takes for human beings to live well together.


PhD Ethics, Politics, Philosophy at Manchester Metropolitan University (1995-2001)

(Plato, Aristotle, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Weber, Habermas)

MA/PG European Industrial Relations and Human Resources Management at Keele University (1995)

(Specialized in economics, European industry, and industrial strategy in a globalized environment – see the four volumes of Industry and Europe on this page – before moving on to philosophy at Manchester above)

BA (Hons) Social Studies at Liverpool John Moores University (1985-1988)

(History, Economics, Politics, Sociology, Methods of Social Investigation)


Work Shared in CORE


Blog Posts


    Being and Place


    In Being at One: Dwelling in the Earth’s Commonwealth of Virtue and Being and Place, I set biology and ecology in the context of ethics and politics, recontextualising public life along the lines of natural processes at the same time. I seek to outline a way forward in environmental ethics and politics by adopting a praxis oriented approach that transcends debates as to where value lies between anthropocentrism, ecocentrism and biocentrism. I will argue for an environmentalism that sets natural processes and ecosystem health within a larger moral and political framework, a framework that is concerned to revitalize public life through civic participation, foster community identity and belonging, and build local and regional culture, so as to generate a sense of place, purpose and public interest that goes beyond short-term self-interest. In this conception, ecology is a moral and political ecology that offers both a critical and transformative approach to social and political life. By developing the practical roots of our relation to the world, the intention is to bring an expansive conception of ‘the political’ to the heart of the attempts to resolve the various environmental crises that beset us. In the process, we generate the community spirit and civic mindedness central to our coming to assume responsibility for our actions. We find the common good as we claim our place on common ground.

    The approach I take is organic and holist and seeks to integrate environmental, ethic and social dimensions in the way we come to organise and live our interchange with nature. This approach recognises the mutual impor­tance and continuous interaction between the social world and the natural ecosystem. In this understanding, the organised social existence of human beings is based on an empathetic connection with the complex ecological region. The approach integrates a concern with the health and preservation of the ecological region within a conception of politics, planning and regulation, expressing an effective concern with the long-range common good. This is to reenvision ecology as a social and political ecology, defining ‘the political’ in the expansive terms of a civic-minded, participatory, social order. Planning for ecological preservation and restoration therefore proceeds hand in hand with social, cultural and political renewal.

    Peter Critchley

    Profile picture of Peter Critchley


    Active 2 years, 5 months ago