Video: Philosopher Kris McDaniel on the fragmentation of being

Author: Todd Boruff

“There's no escaping metaphysics, but why would we want to? It's so interesting and so fun to pursue,” said Kris McDaniel, a Notre Dame professor of philosophy. 

McDaniel’s research focuses on existence and value. In particular, he explores the idea that there are different kinds of existence, a position that is contrary to most contemporary philosophical scholarship. One example that McDaniel examines is our perception of history.

“It seems like history is a body of truth, so it must in some way be about real things, but the way in which Abe Lincoln is real isn't the same way in which you and I are real,” he said. 

McDaniel also works in the history of philosophy, with a particular interest in marginalized voices such as Edith Stein and Mary Calkins.

“Racism, anti-Semitism, and sexism can play a big role in determining whose voices get heard once history has marched forward,” he said.

McDaniel said he feels lucky to be able to study metaphysics, particularly at a place like Notre Dame where philosophy is part of the integral mission of the University.

“The questions that we investigate, they're meaningful, they matter, they're deeply connected with pretty much everything we do,” he said.

You can also watch this video on YouTube.