Rev. John A. O'Brien Collegiate Chair and Professor of Philosophy
Meghan Sullivan is a Professor of Philosophy, the Rev. John A O’Brien Collegiate Chair, and the Director of the University Philosophy Requirement at the University of Notre Dame. Sullivan’s research tends to focus on philosophical problems concerning time, modality, rational planning, value, meaning, and religious belief (but rarely all six at once). She teaches courses at all levels, including large introductory courses like God and the Good Life, gateway seminars like The Examined Life, and specialized graduate seminars on time, modality, philosophical logic, rationality and value. She runs the Engaged Philosophy Group at Notre Dame with a team of staff, post-docs, PhD students, undergrad fellows and faculty collaborators. The EPG leads initiatives to connect more specialized academic research in ethics, epistemology and metaphysics to broad and timely debates about human flourishing.
Sullivan has degrees from the University of Virginia (BA: Philosophy and Politics, Highest Distinction 2005), Oxford (B.Phil: Philosophy 2007), and Rutgers (PhD: Philosophy 2011). She studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar (Balliol College).
Sullivan has published work in many of the leading philosophy journals, including Nous, Ethics and Philosophical Studies. You can read many of those papers here. Her first book — Time Biases — came out with Oxford University Press in summer 2018. Time Biases develops a theory of diachronic rationality, personal identity and rational planning. She is now writing a book on intellectual commitment, ethical commitment, and rational faith.
Sullivan is deeply interested in the ways philosophy contributes to the good life and the best methods for promoting philosophical thought. Since 2017, she has raised over $1.2M to support projects for research and teaching in publicly engaged philosophy. Sullivan is currently the Principal Investigator for the Mellon Foundation’s Philosophy as a Way of Life grant (2018-2021). Information about joining the Mellon Network can be found at Philife.nd.edu. Sullivan is also the PI for the John Templeton Foundation’s Philosophy and Religion Engaged with the Public (PREP) pilot program. And in July 2018 she co-organized an NEH Institute on Philosophy as a Way of Life with Stephen Angle (Wesleyan) and Stephen Grimm (Fordham). The Engaged Philosophy Group collaborates with faculty at many departments in the US and abroad. The Chronicle of Higher Ed recently covered one of Sullivan’s major teaching initiatives.
Sullivan regularly writes shorter general interest essays and gives public philosophy talks. She is a co-editor for the Philosophy of Religion portfolio of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. She serves on (too) many committees and frequently does research with postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students. You can get all of the gory details by reading her CV.
When not philosophizing, Sullivan enjoys cooking, biking, building elaborate Star Wars Lego sets, reading science fiction, and traveling the world. She cheers for the Fighting Irish and Virginia Cavaliers in all of their endeavors, and when they play each other she has a rational crisis.