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Engaged Philosophy Group

The Trailer for our Mellon Philosophy as a Way of Life Project

Research and Teaching Aimed at Human Flourishing

Participants in 2018 NEH Workshop

The EPG leads initiatives to connect more specialized academic research in ethics, epistemology and metaphysics to broad and timely public debates about human flourishing. Some programs are Notre Dame-based. We have two fully-funded Mellon PhD studentships, two professors of the practice, in addition to several affiliated faculty, PhD students and undergraduate RAs. Our biggest ND initiative is the God and the Good Life program. We also run the GGL Fellows Program, serving 30-40 students each semester, and regularly offer workshops on teaching and philosophy outreach. In November 2019 we launched an online virtue ethics outreach initiative with the ND Alumni Association called ThinkND: Big Questions.

Externally, we lead several major national/international projects funded by outside grants, combining the teaching and research interests of our group.

Philosophy as a Way of Life (Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation). $806k, 2018-2021. A three-year grant focused on research and teaching initiatives across over 100 campuses. Includes annual summer conferences, seed grants, a teaching network, and development of digitally-integrated curriculum materials. Emphases include deeper, integrative understanding of “way of life” genres in the history of philosophy, increased diversity and engagement, and best teaching practices. More information at philife.nd.edu.

Our PREP 2019 Epistemology Cohort

Philosophy and Religion Engaged with the Public Pilot Project (Funded by the John Templeton Foundation). $234k, 2018-2019. A pilot grant for a two-week intensive summer workshop in June 2019 bringing together researchers on epistemology and theories of rationality to develop projects that engage with public debates on rational disagreement, belief polarization, religious belief and the nature of evidence. Participants also work with media leaders to develop writing and outreach skills necessary to participate in high-level public engagement. At end of program, participants produce both new research projects and drafts of related general-audience writing. To date, three projects have appeared in the NYTimes. A fourth is linked with a major podcast hosted by Slate.

Reviving Philosophy as a Way of Life (Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities). Co-PIs: Stephen Grimm (Fordham) and Steve Angle (Wesleyan). $137k, 2017-2018. An intensive summer workshop for university faculty interested in research and teaching related to philosophy as a way of life. A special focus was paid toward building teaching capacity in historical traditions that are not traditionally part of general education philosophy courses (i.e. Confucianism, Buddhism, Ancient Skepticism, Stoicism) and fresh perspectives on teaching Kantian and Existentialist moral philosophy.

The EPG collaborates with a large network of humanities scholars and social scientists, as well as non-profits and media professionals. We host several programs to bring faculty together for research and curriculum development. And we host visiting PhD students. For more information, you can contact our team at philife@nd.edu. Like the Mellon trailer at the top of this page? You can see more of our videos on the PhiLife Youtube channel.

Meet Our ND-Based EPG Team:

Justin leading a meeting on assessment.
  • Director: Meghan Sullivan (Professor, Wilsey Family Chair)
  • GGL Fellow Coordinator: Justin Christy (Asst Prof of the Practice)
  • Digital Curriculum Lead:Paul Blaschko (Asst Prof of the Practice)
  • Mellon PhD Student: Ross Jensen (5th Year)
  • Mellon PhD Student: Ciara O’Rourke (3rd Year)
  • 2020-21 Undergraduate Co-Chairs: Ryan Cook, Elle Deitz, Olivia Niziolek
  • 2020 Undergraduate Research Assistants: Julia French, Mia Lecinski, Margaret McGreevy, Chase Miller, Lulu Phifer, Blake Ziegler, Dane Sherman

The EPG welcomes inquiries from Notre Dame PhD students, visiting PhD students postdoctoral fellows, undergraduate researchers, faculty and affiliates interested in this work. Our group meets weekly year-round. Contact Justin, Paul or Meghan for further information.