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Martin University Faculty Nominated to Attend Liberty Fund Summer Institute for Academics

Michael Nichols, PhD, Professor of Religious Studies, Martin University

This weeklong Summer Institute for academics from around Indiana focuses on classic texts addressing the power of reason and the limits of human knowledge, the nature of wisdom, and our capacity to achieve virtue and happiness. Its primary goal is to give faculty an opportunity to read, discuss, and consider classic works that explore the human condition, and the prospects human beings have for leading lives of virtue, meaning, and purpose.

Other goals of the Institute include providing an opportunity for conferees to consider central elements of the “Great Conversation” that has informed our civilization; to explore the relation of science to the liberal arts; and to consider what science and the liberal arts can, either individually or jointly, contribute to our understanding of a life worth living.

Readings for the conference will include selections from the writings of Aristotle, Augustine, Francis Bacon, Descartes, Hume, Adam Smith, and J.S. Mill, and the conference will include joint viewing of two movies, joint meals, and hospitality.

Session themes for each day are as follows:

  • Day One: Virtue and Knowledge

  • Day Two: Science, Reason, and the Good Life

  • Day Three: Rest and Rejuvenate (no formal sessions)

  • Day Four: Politics and the Good Life

  • Day Five: Knowledge, Liberty, and Responsibility

Sessions will be held in the Liberty Fund Board room in Carmel, Indiana. Hotel accommodations, transportation, and meals will be covered by Liberty Fund Inc., a nonprofit educational foundation located in Carmel, Indiana. Conferees will receive a $1,750 honorarium for their participation, and are expected to read the assigned texts in advance and participate in all discussions, meals, and hospitality.

The Institute will be directed by James Otteson, a professor of business ethics at Notre Dame. Contact him for more information or with any questions about the Institute at

Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational foundation devoted to the study of liberty and responsibility through nonpartisan moderated discussions of a common set of readings. Liberty Fund events are typically limited to around 15 conferees including a discussion leader. Conferee mix is interdisciplinary and conferees meet for three 90-minute sessions per day. Meals and informal hospitality sessions are considered part of the conference. For more information about Liberty Fund go to

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