The Witherspoon Institute

The Witherspoon Institute The Witherspoon Institute is an independent research center that works to enhance public understanding of the moral foundations of free and democratic societies.

Located in Princeton, New Jersey, the Institute promotes the application of fundamental principles of republican government and ordered liberty to contemporary problems. In light of this purpose, the Institute has a special interest in higher education and the formation of the next generation of scholars. The Witherspoon Institute carries out its educational mission through the scholarly work of the Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution and the Center on Ethics and the University. These two centers provide opportunities to high school, undergraduate, and graduate students to examine the moral foundations of political, philosophical, and social thought, and assist leading scholars in performing rigorous scholarship, often from an interdisciplinary perspective. The Witherspoon Institute carries out research through six Research Programs focused on the actors and institutions of modern society: the individual, the family, the corporation, the university, and the state. Fellows of the Institute are faculty members of the leading liberal arts colleges and research universities of North America, Africa, and Europe, and are selected both for their excellence in scholarship in areas of interest to the Institute and their commitment to teaching. The Institute provides funding to its fellows and affiliated scholars for their scholarly work. On occasion, the Institute will also provide funding to institutions of higher learning for large-scale, collaborative research projects. Please visit our funding page to read the Institute's policies for such research projects. The Institute is named for John Witherspoon, a leading member of the Continental Congress, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the sixth president of Princeton University, and mentor to James Madison. As important as these credentials and his other accomplishments are, however, it is Witherspoon's commitment to liberal education and republican government that inspire this Institute's name.

Mission: The Witherspoon Institute is an independent research center that works to enhance public understanding of the moral foundations of free and democratic societies. The Institute promotes the application of fundamental principles of republican government and ordered liberty to contemporary problems. In light of this purpose, the Institute has a special interest in higher education and the formation of the next generation of scholars.

Operating as usual

Michael C. Maibach, Trustee of the Witherspoon Institute and Distinguished Fellow on American Federalism at Save Our Sta...
09/22/2020
Michael C. Maibach, Witherspoon Trustee, Appears in New Documentary on the Electoral College - The Witherspoon Institute

Michael C. Maibach, Trustee of the Witherspoon Institute and Distinguished Fellow on American Federalism at Save Our States, recently appeared in a fascinating new documentary on the Founders’ Electoral College design. Find out more:

https://winst.org/michael-c-maibach-witherspoon-trustee-appears-in-new-documentary-on-the-electoral-college/

Michael C. Maibach, Trustee of the Witherspoon Institute and Distinguished Fellow on American Federalism at Save Our States, recently appeared in a fascinating new documentary on the Founders’ Electoral College design. “Safeguard: An Electoral College Story” takes a non-partisan approach as it...

Witherspoon Distinguished Senior Fellow in Human Rights, Chen Guangcheng, spoke at the Republican National Convention at...
09/16/2020
Chen Guangcheng Speaks at Republican National Convention - The Witherspoon Institute

Witherspoon Distinguished Senior Fellow in Human Rights, Chen Guangcheng, spoke at the Republican National Convention at the end of August. He used this honor and national platform to draw attention to the human rights violations that are perpetrated by the Chinese government and to praise the great liberties enjoyed in the United States.

https://winst.org/chen-guangcheng-speaks-at-republican-national-convention/

Witherspoon Distinguished Senior Fellow in Human Rights, Chen Guangcheng, spoke at the Republican National Convention at the end of August. He used this honor and national platform to draw attention to the human rights violations that are perpetrated by the Chinese government and to praise the great...

The Witherspoon Institute is pleased to announce its seminars for Fall 2020 on cultural revolution, philosophy of educat...
09/01/2020
The Witherspoon Institute announces its Fall 2020 Seminars - The Witherspoon Institute

The Witherspoon Institute is pleased to announce its seminars for Fall 2020 on cultural revolution, philosophy of education, Plato and the meaning of words, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, beauty & aesthetics, and economics & friendship. We are eager to continue offering opportunities for rigorous discussion and authentic friendship to the Princeton University community.

https://winst.org/witherspoon-announces-its-fall-2020-seminars/

The Witherspoon Institute is pleased to announce its seminars for Fall 2020 on cultural revolution, philosophy of education, Plato and the meaning of words, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, beauty & aesthetics, and economics & friendship. Some seminars will be held online, and some will be held in pe...

The Witherspoon Institute's online journal, Public Discourse, is committing to elevating, well… our public discourse. Fr...
08/10/2020
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The Witherspoon Institute's online journal, Public Discourse, is committing to elevating, well… our public discourse. From race to COVID-19 to classical liberalism, we seek to provide a variety of thoughtful, well-reasoned perspectives on the most important issues of our day, from authors who share our foundational commitments to natural law and human dignity, but who often disagree about exactly how those commitments should play out in our politics, law, and culture.

We hope that the essays we publish help you find the truth and live it out bravely and with charity.

Bring Public Discourse with you the rest of this summer by subscribing here:

https://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/subscribe/

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The American Journal of Psychiatry issues correction about overreaching claims regarding the mental health benefits of s...
08/06/2020
Work of Mark Regnerus continues to make an impact: American Journal of Psychiatry retracts overreaching claims - The Witherspoon Institute

The American Journal of Psychiatry issues correction about overreaching claims regarding the mental health benefits of surgery performed on patients with gender dysphoria. Mark Regnerus spotted the problems first, late last year in Public Discourse. Other critics followed, offering their complaints to the journal editor, who in turn asked the study’s authors to re-analyze their data. In the end, the surgical benefits vanished, and the surgery even prompted greater anxiety in such patients.

https://winst.org/work-of-mark-regnerus-continues-to-make-an-impact-american-journal-of-psychiatry-retracts-overreaching-claims/

The work of the Austin Institute and Mark Regnerus, contributing editor to The Witherspoon Institute’s online journal, Public Discourse, and professor of sociology at UT-Austin, continue to pay dividends in the social science of sex and sexuality. You may be aware that it was Mark’s efforts that...

We are pleased and impressed with the deep engagement of students with our Natural Law and Public Affairs and First Prin...
07/16/2020
Online summer seminars bring students across the country into conversation with great scholars - The Witherspoon Institute

We are pleased and impressed with the deep engagement of students with our Natural Law and Public Affairs and First Principles seminars this summer.

https://winst.org/online-summer-seminars-bring-students-across-the-country-into-conversation-with-great-scholars/

In early July, Witherspoon’s Natural Law and Public Affairs seminar, led by Christopher Tollefsen (University of South Carolina), Robert P. George (Princeton University), Sherif Girgis (The Witherspoon Institute) and Ryan T. Anderson (The Witherspoon Institute, The Heritage Foundation) helped stud...

https://winst.org/sen-marco-rubio-writes-for-public-discourse-on-death-of-george-floyd-and-racism-in-america/
06/15/2020
Sen. Marco Rubio Writes for Public Discourse on Death of George Floyd and Racism in America - The Witherspoon Institute

https://winst.org/sen-marco-rubio-writes-for-public-discourse-on-death-of-george-floyd-and-racism-in-america/

Sen. Marco Rubio published a piece in the Witherspoon Institute’s online journal, Public Discourse, observing, The murder of Mr. Floyd at the hands of law enforcement officers was an outrageous crime that has shocked this nation. But it would be a mistake to conclude that the unrest of the last tw...

Andrew T. Walker, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics and Apologetics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, ...
05/29/2020
Public Discourse Welcomes Its New Contributing Editor, Andrew T. Walker - The Witherspoon Institute

Andrew T. Walker, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics and Apologetics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Executive Director and Fellow of the Carl F. H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement, has joined The Witherspoon Institute’s online journal, Public Discourse, as its new contributing editor.

https://winst.org/public-discourse-welcomes-its-new-contributing-editor-andrew-t-walker/

Andrew T. Walker, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics and Apologetics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Executive Director and Fellow of the Carl F. H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement, has joined The Witherspoon Institute’s online journal, Public Discourse, as its ne...

Robert P. George, Director of the James Madison Program at Princeton University and senior fellow of The Witherspoon Ins...
03/24/2020
Can Health Care Providers Discriminate Against COVID-19 Patients on Basis of Age or Disability? - The Witherspoon Institute

Robert P. George, Director of the James Madison Program at Princeton University and senior fellow of The Witherspoon Institute, Dr. Jacqueline Rivers, sociologist at Harvard University, Dr. Charles Camosy, bioethicist at Fordham University, attorneys representing the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund and the Thomas More Society have published a memorandum “detailing the tenets of federal law and explaining that federal civil rights statutes prohibit discrimination – including discriminatory policies established by state health officials – based on age or disability.”

https://winst.org/can-health-care-providers-discriminate-against-covid-19-patients-on-basis-of-age-or-disability/

Robert P. George, Director of the James Madison Program at Princeton University and senior fellow of The Witherspoon Institute; Harvard University sociologist Dr. Jacqueline Rivers; and Fordham University bioethicist Dr. Charles Camosy, attorneys representing the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund a...

Recently, Robert P. George and R. J. Snell were interviewed on the New Books on Christian Studies podcast about their bo...
03/24/2020
Interview with Robert P. George and R. J. Snell on their book Mind, Heart and Soul - The Witherspoon Institute

Recently, Robert P. George and R. J. Snell were interviewed on the New Books on Christian Studies podcast about their book Mind, Heart, and Soul: Intellectuals and the Path to Rome. Listen to their interview here!
https://winst.org/interview-with-robert-p-george-and-r-j-snell-on-their-book-mind-heart-and-soul/

Recently, Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University and senior fellow of The Witherspoon Institute and R. J. Snell, Director of Academic Programs at the Witherspoon Institute, were inte...

If you know a student who will be a freshman at a college or university in the fall and who would be interested in livel...
03/10/2020
First Principles for First Years - An Introduction to College Life - The Witherspoon Institute

If you know a student who will be a freshman at a college or university in the fall and who would be interested in lively seminar discussions on free speech, genuine inquiry, the challenges of social life and developing authentic friendships on campus, encourage him or her to apply to First Principles for First Years, a new seminar we are holding this summer in Princeton! The application deadline is March 15!

https://winst.org/seminars/introduction-to-college-life/

FIRST PRINCIPLES FOR FIRST YEARS: An Introduction to College Life July 8-11, 2020 • Princeton, New Jersey This new seminar, beginning in the summer of 2020, seeks to provide formation to students who are about to arrive to their college campuses in the fall for the first time. How do you survive a...

Check out the lecture Dr. R. J. Snell, Director of Academic Programming, gave at the Scala Foundation and Thomistic Inst...
03/10/2020
Dr. R.J. Snell gives lecture at the Friendship, Love & Happiness Conference - The Witherspoon Institute

Check out the lecture Dr. R. J. Snell, Director of Academic Programming, gave at the Scala Foundation and Thomistic Institute's conference:

https://winst.org/dr-rj-snell-gives-lecture-at-the-friendship-love-happiness-conference/

Dr. R. J. Snell, Director of Academic Programs at the Witherspoon Institute, spoke on February 15, 2020 at the Friendship, Love and Happiness Conference sponsored by the Scala Foundation and the Thomistic Institute at Princeton Theological Seminary. He gave a talk entitled “Demons at the Feast of ...

Princeton students and alums: Join us this Monday, March 2 for a seminar dinner with Matthew Schmitz, editor of First Th...
02/28/2020
The Vocation of the Public Intellectual and Writer - with Matthew Schmitz - The Witherspoon Institute

Princeton students and alums: Join us this Monday, March 2 for a seminar dinner with Matthew Schmitz, editor of First Things. He will be discussing the vocation of the public intellectual and writer. To RSVP, contact Maura Shea at [email protected].

More information here: https://winst.org/event/the-vocation-of-the-public-intellectual-and-writer-with-matthew-schmitz/

Join us for dinner and discussion on “The Vocation of the Public Intellectual and Writer” with Princeton alum and editor of First Things, Matthew Schmitz. Open to all Princeton students.

A wonderful new opportunity at University of Pennsylvania - the John and Daria Barry Foundation Fellowship. Read more he...
02/18/2020
John and Daria Barry Foundation Fellow

A wonderful new opportunity at University of Pennsylvania - the John and Daria Barry Foundation Fellowship. Read more here:

https://wd1.myworkdaysite.com/recruiting/upenn/careers-at-penn/job/Leadership-Hall/John-and-Daria-Barry-Foundation-Fellow_JR00016552

University Overview The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn h...

Read our senior scholar Chen Guancheng's piece in the Washington Post about the role of authoritarianism in the coronavi...
02/10/2020
Chen Guancheng writes in the Washington Post about role of authoritarianism in the coronavirus outbreak - The Witherspoon Institute

Read our senior scholar Chen Guancheng's piece in the Washington Post about the role of authoritarianism in the coronavirus outbreak.

https://winst.org/chen-guancheng-writes-in-the-washington-post-about-role-of-authoritarianism-in-the-coronavirus-outbreak/

Chen Guancheng, distinguished senior fellow in human rights at the Witherspoon Institute and faculty member of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America, wrote an article for the Washington Post about the role the Chinese Communist Party’s authori...

The application deadline for our 2020 summer seminars is tomorrow, February 11th at 11:59pm! Join us in Princeton and DC...
02/10/2020

The application deadline for our 2020 summer seminars is tomorrow, February 11th at 11:59pm! Join us in Princeton and DC with scholars Robert P. George, Candace Vogler, Anna Moreland, Christopher Tollefsen, Ryan T. Anderson and others as we explore the moral foundations of free societies!

https://winst.org/who-we-serve/students/summer-seminars/

We are excited to announce our Spring 2020 seminars: an exploration of C. S. Lewis' The Problem of Pain, a series on dis...
01/27/2020
Academic Year Seminars - The Witherspoon Institute

We are excited to announce our Spring 2020 seminars: an exploration of C. S. Lewis' The Problem of Pain, a series on disputed questions, an examination of nostalgia and the modern quest for home, and a seminar for women on the moral vision of Jane Austen. Learn more here: https://winst.org/who-we-serve/students/academic-year-seminars/

Academic Year Seminars SPRING 2020 ACADEMIC SEMINARS THE PROBLEM OF PAIN Led by: R. J. Snell, Director of Academic Programs at Witherspoon Ryan Reed, Teaching Fellow at Christian Union Nova Lunch provided: Fridays from 1:00-2:30 pm Feb 21 March 6 March 27 April 17 May 1 A follow-up to the fall semin...

Princeton students: join us for dinner and our Intersession seminar on Integralism and Liberalism this Thursday at 6:00p...
01/20/2020
Intersession Seminar on Integralism and Liberalism - The Witherspoon Institute

Princeton students: join us for dinner and our Intersession seminar on Integralism and Liberalism this Thursday at 6:00pm!

https://winst.org/intersession-seminar-on-integralism-and-liberalism/

We will be holding an intersession seminar for Princeton undergraduate and graduate students on integralism and liberalism. We will try and understand the nature of the common good, political freedom, and why liberalism seems defunct to some. This controversy is a live one among many, especially you...

The Witherspoon Institute's cover photo
12/10/2019

The Witherspoon Institute's cover photo

2020 Summer Seminar and Internship Applications are open! We offer seminars for high school students, undergraduates, gr...
12/05/2019
2020 Summer Seminar and Internship Applications Are Open! - The Witherspoon Institute

2020 Summer Seminar and Internship Applications are open! We offer seminars for high school students, undergraduates, graduate students and young professionals. Join us in exploring the deep questions about politics, education, friendship and the foundations of free societies. Apply today!

https://winst.org/2020-summer-seminar-and-internship-applications-are-open/

We are excited to announce that our applications for the 2020 Summer Seminars and Internships are now open! Join acclaimed scholars Robert P. George, Christopher Tollefsen, Candace Vogler, David Corey, Anna Moreland, R. J. Snell and others to deepen your understanding of the principles of a free soc...

We’re excited to announce a year-end matching campaign for Public Discourse, the online journal of the Witherspoon Insti...
12/04/2019
Help Public Discourse Meet a $25,000 Match! - The Witherspoon Institute

We’re excited to announce a year-end matching campaign for Public Discourse, the online journal of the Witherspoon Institute! Steve Whelan and Michael Maibach have pledged to match readers’ donations from now until December 31, up to a total of $25,000! If we meet this match, together we can raise $50,000 by year’s end. Donate today!

https://winst.org/help-public-discourse-meet-a-25000-match/

We’re excited to announce that Steve Whelan, Chairman of the Witherspoon Institute Board of Trustees, and Michael Maibach, Witherspoon Institute Trustee, have generously agreed to support a year-end matching campaign for Public Discourse, the online journal of the Witherspoon Institute. Steve and ...

Princeton students-- join us for a special dinner and discussion with Professor Sanjeev Kulkarni, Dean of Faculty at Pri...
11/11/2019
Dinner and Discussion with Professor Sanjeev Kulkarni - The Witherspoon Institute

Princeton students-- join us for a special dinner and discussion with Professor Sanjeev Kulkarni, Dean of Faculty at Princeton! He will be sharing his insights with us on work and vocation.

Tuesday Nov 12 at 6:00pm at Whelan Hall (16 Stockton Street)

https://winst.org/dinner-and-discussion-with-professor-sanjeev-kulkarni/

All Princeton students are invited to attend a dinner and discussion with Sanjeev Kulkarni on work and vocation. Kulkarni is a professor of electrical engineering and Dean of Faculty at Princeton; he is also an affiliated faculty member of the Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineer...

Check out Serena Sigillito's new article for the American Conservative: "When it comes to women and work, purely economi...
11/06/2019
Paid Leave Might Reduce Wages: But Does that Matter?

Check out Serena Sigillito's new article for the American Conservative: "When it comes to women and work, purely economic analyses—convenient as it may be—don’t tell the whole story. Instead of striving for perfect numerical equality, we should be working toward stronger, healthier families and happier, more fulfilled mothers, even if those outcomes are harder to measure."

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/paid-leave-might-reduce-wages-but-does-that-matter/?fbclid=IwAR0FGIZu1F9VcbBHi2MC2Fk31mpLPtsrk0cANNqxc4OfWWhwfFunbzU68QU

A new study finds that this family policy may not please 'gender equality' advocates, but there's more to the story.

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