In the time since it was founded in 2009, the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study has established itself as a widely recognized center for academic research with a distinctive focus: the active encouragement of scholars and scientists from all disciplines to ask questions about meaning, purpose, and value in relationship to their particular research projects and deliberately to seek to relate descriptive and normative questions to one another. In many universities, interdisciplinary inquiry has been a laudable response to a widely felt frustration with narrow research specializations. The Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study, inspired by the Catholic intellectual tradition, seeks to go further in its commitment to the unity of all knowledge in principle. Truth is to be sought wherever it is to be found and by whatever methods it can be discerned. Different sorts of questions and different kinds of knowledge—about natural regularities, human behaviors, complex texts, or first-hand experiences—should be considered in relationship to each other, not kept in disciplinary isolation.
The heart of the NDIAS is its residential fellowship program. Fellows form an intellectual community in which they present their research in the Institute’s twice-weekly seminars to each other and to colleagues from Notre Dame. Vigorous, lively discussion among colleagues in multiple disciplines in these seminars enriches and expands individual research projects as we forge a dynamic intellectual community each semester. Guest lectures, symposia, colloquia, conferences, and other special events augment the programming of NDIAS and contribute to its vibrant collective intellectual life that simultaneously enlivens the work of its individual participants.
I hope that colleagues from around the world will regard the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study as the premier center for projects that involve questions about the underlying methodological and philosophical assumptions or ethical implications of respective academic disciplines. It should be the first place they think of when embarking on major inter- or multidisciplinary projects that seek to relate specialized academic research to deeper inquiry about meaning and morality. Its collegial atmosphere, outstanding staff, and unstinting support from the University of Notre Dame make the Institute an ideal setting in which to pursue academic research in relationship to the most fundamental questions human beings can ask, including those that historically have been and remain central to the world’s religious traditions.
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Brad S. Gregory
Director, Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study
Professor of History and Dorothy G. Griffin Collegiate Chair