Institute for Ethics & Society

The Institute for Ethics & Society (IES) is a national research institute based on the Sydney campus. Informed by the resources of the Catholic intellectual tradition, our research aims at better understanding how cultivating the virtues can strengthen civil society and support human flourishing. We’re also committed to engaging with key issues in bioethics and with the significant role that religion plays in questions of ethics and society. We work with a wide range of partners outside the University, especially in the healthcare and education sectors.

The IES has three Research Focus Areas:

New Director of the IES – Professor John Lippitt

The University of Notre Dame Australia is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor John Lippitt as the new Director of the Institute for Ethics & Society. Prior to his appointment as the Director of the IES, he was a Professor of Ethics and Philosophy of Religion at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK. Professor Lippitt commenced his new position at Notre Dame Australia in February 2020.

Professor Lippitt was research leader for Philosophy at the University of Hertfordshire since 2013 and is a leading Kierkegaard scholar. His research interests include virtue ethics and the moral psychology of individual virtues, forgiveness, and the philosophy of love, friendship and education. He has recently finalised a monograph titled Love’s Forgiveness, supported by a Major Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust (2018-2020) and due to be published by Oxford University Press in 2020.

2020 Notre Dame School of Virtue and Character

The Institute for Ethics & Society is delighted to host the 2020 Notre Dame School of Virtue & Character.

Held over two weeks (29 September – 8 October), the NDSVC allows a small group of selected participants to deeply engage with new research on the topic of cultivating good character.

NDSVC features six keynote sessions from leading researchers, including: C. Stephen Evans (Baylor University), Heather Battaly (University of Connecticut), Christian B. Miller (Wake Forest University), Michael Lamb​ (Wake Forest University), Anne Snyder (Comment Magazine), and John Lippitt (IES). 
More details.

IES Podcast

In response to COVID-19, the IES has produced the ‘Virtues for the Times’ series.


What our partners are saying

“We partnered with the IES on a highly specific and innovative ethics education program in the hope that they would be able to help us measure its effectiveness in a meaningful way and give us concrete suggestions for improvement. They delivered on all of this and more by tailoring their expertise to suit our needs and ultimately delivering a high quality report, which has been an enormous help to the leadership of St Vincent’s as part of our broader ethics strategy. The staff at the IES have a high level of professionalism and mix this with a focus on adaptability and contextual sensitivity, which make them the perfect partners for work in professional ethics.”

Dr Dan Fleming

Group Manager Ethics & Formation | St Vincent’s Health Australia
Visiting Fellow | Faculty of Law | The University of Technology, Sydney
Associate Member | Law, Health and Justice Research Centre | The University of Technology, Sydney