Rev. John A. O’Brien Associate Professor of Philosophy
Meghan Sullivan’s current research focuses on big questions in the philosophy of time and possibility. Some of these questions are practical: Is it rational to care less about painful experiences that are in your distant future? How about painful experiences already in your past? Is it morally appropriate to discount the welfare of generations in the distant future? Do we owe anything to merely possible people? Some other questions are highly theoretical: What are the past and future? How should we represent the past, the future, and the merely possible in formal logic? Her work has been published in leading journals, including Nous and Philosophical Studies, and most recently was supported with a grant from the New Agendas in Time project at the University of Sydney. Sullivan gets Notre Dame undergraduates involved in these debates, regularly teaching Intro to philosophy, a sophomore College Seminar on the experience of time and upper-division courses in metaphysics and logic.
Sullivan also has a longstanding interest in big questions of philosophy of religion. She’s published work on the problem of evil and the meaning of religious terms. She’s participated in public and interdisciplinary forums around the country examining philosophical issues with faith. Here at Notre Dame, she serves on the Executive Committee of the Center for Philosophy of Religion.
Sullivan holds a PhD from Rutgers University (2011) and a BPhil in Philosophy from Oxford, (2007) where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She graduated with highest distinction from the University of Virginia in 2005.
The O’Brien Professorships were established with a bequest from Rev. John A. O’Brien, a 40-year member of the Notre Dame faculty. A popular Catholic apologist who reached millions of readers, O’Brien was a leader of the Newman Club movement and an early advocate of Church renewal through the Second Vatican Council.