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Director Named for Institute for Advanced Study

Author: Arts and Letters

Vittorio Hsle, Paul Kimball Professor of Arts and Letters in the Department of German and Russian Languages and Literatures and concurrent professor in the Departments of Philosophy and Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, has been named director of the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study.

Hsle will provide strategic and visionary direction for the institute, which will host scholars from around the world. The institute will support research that extends beyond the analysis of particular problems to the examination of larger (often ethical), ultimate questions.

The institute will have an open agenda, permitting scholars to pursue outstanding research in all areas. It will, however, have two interrelated emphases intended to help shape discourse at Notre Dame and within the wider academy:

  • to encourage fellows to reflect on the ultimate questions that link multiple areas of inquiry — questions that often escape scholars enmeshed within the narrow practices of their own disciplines;
  • and to offer artists, professionals, scholars and scientists an opportunity to explore the relationship between the descriptive (the way the world is) and the normative (the way it ought to be) and to consider questions of value in their analyses by examining how their findings might advance civilization.

Hsle specializes in philosophy, including metaphysics, ethics, political philosophy and aesthetics, and intellectual history.

He has written or edited 28 books and published more than 120 articles. His books have appeared in 18 languages. He is the recipient of the Fritz-Winter Prize of the Bavarian Academy of Science and has been a visiting professor in many countries and a fellow at a number of organizations, including the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut in Essen. He also is a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University.

The Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study held a consultation workshop earlier this month that brought together leading experts on advanced study institutes from around the world. The workshop focused on the role that the Notre Dame institute can play in the large arena of institutes for advanced study.

In January 2010, the institute will host its first public conference on the topic of beauty. Leading experts from multiple disciplines will be brought together to make presentations on their discipline’s role in the subject of beauty.

The Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study is one of five strategic research investments that the University funded through a commitment of internal financial resources.

Originally published by William G. Gilroy at on April 24, 2009.