Aku Visala


    Research areas

  • 614 Theology - evolution of religion, evolution of morality, theological anthropology, religion and science, cognitive science of religion
  • 611 Philosophy - philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, philosophical anthropology, philosophy of psychology
  • 515 Psychology - psychology of religion, moral psychology, evolutionary psychology

Curriculum Vitae

Current Position:

University Researcher, Centre of Excellence in Reason and Religious Recognition Research, Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki, 


Previous academic positions

Post Doctoral Researcher, Department of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame, IN, USA 2013-2014

Post Doctoral Researcher, Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, USA 2012-2013.

Visiting Post Doctoral Fellow, Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion, Oxford University, UK 2009-2012

Visiting Ph.D Student, Centre for Anthropology and Mind, University of Oxford, 2008-2009.

Member, Finnish Graduate School of Theology, University of Helsinki, 2005-2008.

Part-time lecturer and seminar assistant, Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki, 2005-2008.


Academic Degrees:

Doctor of Theology, Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki, 2010

  • Major: philosophy of religion
  • Minors: philosophy, ecumenical theology
  • Thesis: Religion Explained? A Philosophical Analysis of the Cognitive Science of Religion (Eximia Cum Laude Approbatur)

Master of Theology, Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki, 2004

Highlighted publications

  1. Johdatus uskonnonfilosofiaan

    Visala, A. & Vainio, O-P. 2011 Helsinki: Kirjapaja. 287 p. (Theologia Systematica)

    Research output: ProfessionalBook

  2. The Cognitive Science of Religion: A Modified Theist Response

    Visala, A. & Leech, D. 2011 In : Religious Studies. 47, 3, p. 301-316 16 p.

    Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle

  3. Can Religious Belief Be Explained Away?: Reasons and Causes of Religious Belief

    Visala, A., Leech, D. & Barrett, J. 2010 The Nature of God : Evolution and Religion. Frey, U. (ed.). Marburg: Tectum Verlag, Vol. 1, p. 75-92 18 p.

    Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewChapter

  4. Theism, Naturalism and the Cognitive Study of Religion: Religion Explained?

    Visala, A. 2011 Ashgate. 224 p. (Ashgate Science and Religion Series)

    Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewBook

  5. Mitä tiede ei voi kertoa sinulle

    Visala, A. 2010 Kauniainen: Perussanoma. 382 p.

    Research output: ProfessionalBook

View all (117) »

Highlighted activities

  1. Is Religion Natural?

    Visala, A. (Speaker: Presenter)
    May 2010

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

  2. University of Oxford

    Visala, A. (Visiting researcher)

    Activity: Visiting an external institutionAcademic visit to other institution

View all (96) »

Latest prizes

  1. Essay Prize in Science and Religion

    Aku Visala (Recipient), Oct 2012

    Prize: Prizes and awards

  2. ESSSAT Research Prize

    Aku Visala (Recipient), May 2010

    Prize: Prizes and awards

View all (2) »



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