Notre Dame Center for the Aristotelian Tradition
Notre Dame has a long-standing and distinguished history of pursuing philosophy in the Aristotelian tradition. This is unsurprising, given the prominence of Aristotelian philosophy in the Catholic intellectual tradition; the Center for the Aristotelian Tradition explores this entire tradition in all its core dimensions and manifestations, but is equally at home in deep and productive conversation with other sacred and secular traditions in ethics, politics, and metaphysics.
With roots in antiquity, the Aristotelian tradition extends as a living enterprise through Islamic and Latin medieval scholasticism down even to the present day, when we are experiencing a remarkable renaissance of activity on three complementary fronts: neo-Aristotelian metaphysics; Aristotelian virtue ethics; and the natural law tradition. While having a common source in the voluminous writings of Aristotle, none of these contemporary movements is antiquarian in character or primarily exegetical in orientation. Instead, they in their different ways look to the Aristotelian framework as a common idiom for articulating and defending living, viable approaches to subjects of continuing concern.
The Notre Dame Center for the Aristotelian Tradition brings together facets of the study of Aristotelian philosophy, comprising:
- Primary expository and critical engagement, both philological and philosophical, with the texts of Aristotle, including consideration of Aristotle as an historian of philosophy, incorporating his own life-long, productive dialogue with Plato and Platonic philosophy.
- Primary expository and critical engagement with philosophers working in a recognizably Aristotelian idiom in the Medieval Period, including the philosophy, among many others, of Averroes, Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, and Francisco Suárez.
- Contemporary work in Neo-Aristotelian metaphysics.
- Contemporary work in virtue ethics.
- Contemporary work in political philosophy and legal theory.
Work in this tradition heads out from this core into a host of allied areas, including: philosophy of mind, intentionality, and philosophy of psychology; investigations into the nature of life and living systems in both the life sciences and cross-disciplinary research into artificial intelligence; investigations into human happiness and human flourishing; philosophy of religion; character and character development; natural rights and natural law; political authority; causation; logic; and scientific explanation.
The Center for the Aristotelian Tradition supports research in all these areas, offering a framework for critical engagement, cross-fertilization, and reflection.
The Center for the Aristotelian Tradition conceives of itself in the first instance as education-enhancing enterprise: it encourages undergraduate and graduate involvement; it houses ongoing reading and discussion groups; it conducts seminars and colloquia for early career philosophers as well as established figures; it invites graduate, post-doctoral, and faculty visitors from the North America and abroad for extended research visits; and it sponsors conferences at the University of Notre Dame and and its Global Gateways in London, Rome, and Jerusalem. It is also an active supporter of the European Society for Ancient Philosophy, co-sponsoring its annual meetings with the University of Oxford. These meetings are held in Athens, in Delphi, and at Notre Dame's Global Gateway in Rome.