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The Living Philosophy Project


Director: Mark Painter, Ph.D

The Living Philosophy Project is built on the idea that philosophy, as an academic discipline, arises from and ultimately belongs to the life-world of every human being, that philosophy, by its very nature, does not stand above and apart from human affairs, but rather, in the words of George Dennison, wishes us to draw near and “to empower us to think and do for ourselves” (from The Lives of Children).

“Living philosophy” is philosophy that manifests itself within cultural expressions of all kinds: history, art, religion, science, politics, music, law, education and so on.  As a practice it is a way of doing philosophy that acknowledges the continuity between emotional life and intellectual life and that recalls that the original purpose of philosophy is to help us to become better human beings by investigating the nature of value as it manifests itself in human life. To this end, the Living Philosophy Project at Misericordia University sponsors and promotes student/faculty research, symposia, conferences and the dissemination of scholarly work in a wide range of fields involving philosophical reflection.  The Project’s goal is to help students, faculty members, professional philosophers and members of the community to develop their own philosophical clarity and to bring that clarity to bear on the issues that concern them.  In pursuing this goal, the Project hopes to bring academic philosophy and public life closer together.

Administrative and Mission Structure: 
The Living Philosophy Project (hereafter referred to simply as “the Project”) will have one Director from within the Department of Philosophy.  The Project will also have an informal advisory committee composed of invited members of the faculty, students and staff.  The mission of the Project is three fold:

Education
This aspect of the Project will focus on philosophy majors and minors and students in other programs who have an interest in philosophy.  The emphasis here will be student/faculty collaborative research in living philosophy.  This will take many forms:

  • Students working on philosophical papers may present their work in Project sponsored colloquia, thus gaining valuable experience in public speaking. 
  • Students may assist faculty who are researching issues in living philosophy, or coauthor papers and presentations with faculty members.
  • The Project will develop an undergraduate online Journal of Living Philosophy in which students can, with the help of their professors, polish their own work for publication.
  • The Project will sponsor student events, such as debates, films, or student radio talk shows on topics involving philosophy as related to living issues.
Scholarship
This aspect of the Project will focus on organizing and hosting professional academic conferences and guest presentations in living philosophy and acquiring outside grant funding for faculty and student research. The Project plans to establish an annual conference on Living Philosophy.  This conference will include both professional and undergraduate presentations so that students from Misericordia and other regional institutions can participate.  Proceedings from this conference will be published in the Project’s Journal. The Project will seek outside funding for faculty and students in the form of grants for travel to libraries and conferences, to meet with scholars at other institutions and to study abroad.

Public Life and Discourse
Philosophers have always felt a natural imperative to make philosophy a public activity as well as an academic one and so bring about positive change to both society and the personal lives of .individuals.  This aspect of the Project will focus on faculty and student activities involving the university community and the surrounding community in the following ways:

  • Organize workshops and retreats that bring together Philosophy majors and minors and pre-college students in an on-campus environment to explore philosophical issues and practice philosophical reflection.
  • Facilitate philosophy student involvement in the work of non-profit organizations and the creation of social policy Off campus activities that allow students and faculty to practice philosophy in public settings with the community at large.

Funding
Since the Living Philosophy Project is internal to the College of Arts and Sciences, it will initially draw its funding from the Departments within that college.  The Project will eventually seek outside grants for specific projects.