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.

New IES Research Fellow – Dr Tracy Llanera

The Institute for Ethics & Society is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Tracy Llanera as our new Research Fellow. Prior to her appointment, Tracy was an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Connecticut in the USA. Tracy received her PhD in Philosophy from Macquarie University in 2016, since when she has published Richard Rorty: Outgrowing Modern Nihilism with a second, co-authored book due out from Routledge next year.

Tracy has also worked as a Visiting Research Fellow at Keele University in the UK, and as a Research Fellow at the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute. She has also taught graduate and undergraduate courses at Macquarie, Connecticut and the University of Santo Tomas (Philippines).

Tracy joins the IES team in early December 2020.

Book launch for Love’s Forgiveness by Professor John Lippitt, IES Director

Thursday 19 November, 8pm (via Zoom) - Promotional Video

The Institute for Ethics & Society is delighted to host an online book launch for Love’s Forgiveness: Kierkegaard, Resentment, Humility, and Hope (OUP) by IES Director, Professor John Lippitt.

Published by Oxford University Press, Love’s Forgiveness explores key questions raised by recent philosophers of forgiveness, and connects their discussions with New Testament passages on forgiveness and reflections from the Christian tradition, especially in the writings of Kierkegaard. The book draws on philosophy, theology, memoirs, and fiction to argue for a view of forgiveness as a 'work of love', and shows the connections between forgiveness and such qualities as humility and hope.

John Lippitt is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Institute for Ethics & Society at The University of Notre Dame Australia. His research for Love's Forgiveness was supported by a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship (2018–2020).

Christopher Cordner, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Melbourne and author of Ethical Encounter: the Depth of Moral Meaning, will give a response to the book on the night.

C. Stephen Evans, University Professor of Philosophy and Humanities at Baylor University, and currently directing a three-year US$2 million Templeton Religion Trust grant on ‘Accountability as a Virtue’, will also offer brief comments via video on the book.

The launch will conclude with an interactive Q&A time.

To register and receive the Zoom meeting link, please email ies@nd.edu.au

Industry-Funded Research Fellow

The IES in undertaking a three-year industry funded research project ($185,000) with St Vincent’s Health Australia to investigate and optimise the provision of spiritual care training for staff in the healthcare industry.

Fulbright Australia Senior Scholar Award

Professor John A. Rees has been awarded a 2020 Fulbright Senior Scholarship as the Milward L. Simpson Visiting Professor at the University of Wyoming to study ‘religious literacy in international relations theory and practice’.

Recent Events & Activities


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