Named Professorships

Samuel Newlands

Samuel Newlands

William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Associate Professor of Philosophy

Samuel Newlands joined the Notre Dame faculty in 2006 upon receiving his Ph.D. in philosophy from Yale University. His research focuses on early modern philosophy, philosophy of religion, and metaphysics. He has received an NEH fellowship for his work on Spinoza, and he has published more than twenty pieces in venues ranging from the very top philosophy journals (such as The Philosophical Review and Noûs) to the Wall Street Journal. He is also the editor of Metaphysics and the Good (Oxford 2009) and New Essays on Leibniz’s Theodicy (Oxford 2014).

In addition to his own research and teaching, Newlands currently serves as co-director of the Center for Philosophy of Religion. In 2009, he and his fellow co-director, Michael Rea, received a $1.7 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation for a four-year research initiative, The Problem of Evil in Modern and Contemporary Thought. The project supports a broad range of worldwide research on early modern and contemporary responses to the problem of evil. 

In 2014, with generous support from the John Templeton Foundation, the University of Notre Dame, and Cornell University, Newlands and Andrew Chignell (Cornell University) launched Hope and Optimism: Conceptual and Empirical Investigations, a $4.5 million investigation into the nature and norms of hope and optimism. This large research initiative includes funding for research in philosophy, psychology, sociology, and analytic theology, as well as public engagements such as an amateur video contest on the role of hope in human life and a playwright competition.

The O’Neill family, of Cleveland, Ohio, has established several professorships in the College of Arts and Letters. This position honors the family’s patriarch and matriarch, William J. (’28) and Dorothy K. O’Neill.