Meghan Sullivan

Meghan Sullivan
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Rev. John A. O’Brien Collegiate Professor of Philosophy
  • Current Director (Directors)

Meghan Sullivan is the Rev. John A O’Brien Collegiate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. Her research tends to focus on philosophical problems concerning time, modality, rational planning, value theory, and religious belief (and sometimes all five at once). She 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: A Theory of Rational Planning and Personal Persistance, 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 second research monograph on intellectual commitment, ethical commitment, and rational faith.

Sullivan teaches courses at all levels and directs Notre Dame’s God and the Good Life Program. GGL introduces undergraduates to big philosophical questions concerning happiness, morality, and meaning…and key methods for wrestling with them. Sullivan also occasionally teaches gateway seminars like The Examined Life, and specialized graduate seminars on time, modality, philosophical logic, rationality, and value.

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) and the John Templeton Foundation’s Philosophy and Religion Engaged with the Public (PREP) pilot program. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently covered one of Sullivan’s major teaching initiatives. With Paul Blaschko, she is currently writing a general audience philosophy book based on the God and the Good Life project. That title is under contract with Penguin Press (Penguin Random House).

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.

Sullivan has degrees from the University of Virginia (B.A.: Philosophy and Politics, Highest Distinction), the University of Oxford (B.Phil.: Philosophy), and Rutgers University (Ph.D.: Philosophy). She studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar (Balliol College).

When not directing the NDIAS or writing philosophy, Sullivan enjoys cooking, biking, 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.