Dr. Jack Russell Weinstein is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Dakota and the host of the IPPL radio show Why? Philosophical discussions about everyday life. He was the recipient of the 2007 UND Foundation/McDermott Award for Individual Excellence in Teaching. His personal webpage can be found at

Dr. Weinstein teaches doctoral courses for the Department of Moral and Social Philosophy at the University of Helsinki and has held visiting fellowships or guest professorships at The Center for Scottish Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary, Die Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen, The State University of Oulu. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. from Boston University.

Weinstein’s interest in lay-audience focused philosophy is a long and committed one beginning with a weekly column in his undergraduate college newspaper title “My Philosophy.” With it, he attempted to bring his own philosophical learning and exploration to his peers;the column was published weekly for two years. Since then, he was continued his non-specialists oriented work. He is the author of three books and several edited collections, much of which is for general audiences. He regularly sits on panels that bring philosophy’s tools to contemporary issues, and has presented to general audiences in a range of venues from museums to cafes in Europe. Overall, he has authored two books, three edited collections and journal symposia, and over two dozen articles and reviews. He has contributed work for lay audiences to newspapers, magazines, and public radio.

Dr. Weinstein’s more specialized research focuses on the intersection of the history of philosophy and contemporary political theory. His main interest is in theories of diversity and justice, with special attention to education and otherness, human rationality, and the roles of emotion in moral judgment. He seeks to develop a political theory that incorporates a general theory of human understanding in the midst of difference. He is currently writing a multi-volume political theory that pays special attention to the role of education in a pluralist society.

Much of his work has focused on Adam Smith, the father of modern economic theory. Weinstein seeks to show that Smith’s political economy is a more focused instance of Smith’s general moral theory. As an outgrowth of this research, Weinstein uses Smith’s eighteenth century model of the interaction between knowledge and social life to build a unified vision of the role of government, moral growth of citizens, individual rights and liberties, and cross-group communication within a pluralistic society. He insists that the cultivation of any one of these spheres necessitates attention to them all, and presents his system as an alternative to the Kantian justification of human rights and moral virtues that prevails in political philosophy today. The Kantian version, Weinstein asserts, describe human experience and conflict in an artificially narrow manner.


Current Intern:

Sam Amendolar is a recent University of North Dakota graduate with a B.A. in philosophy. He is originally from Red Wing, Minnesota. His internship focuses on cultivating IPPL’s social network presence and leading community discussions. He can be reached at


Previous interns:

2015-2016: Daryn Skjefte, Univeristy of North Dakota; Lindsay Floyd, University of Oklahoma.

2014-2015: Madison Berns, University of North Dakota.

2013-2014: Michelle Bonapace-Potvim, University of North Dakota.

2010-2011: Alexandra Hagen, University of North Dakota; Lisa Casarez, University of North Dakota.


Past Advisory Board Members:

Otávio Bueno, Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Miami
Sharon Carson, Professor, Department of English/Department of Philosophy and Religion, University of North Dakota
Isham Christie, Student/President of Phi Sigma Tau Philosophy Honors Fraternity, University of North Dakota
Nancy Devine, English Teacher, Central High School, Grand Forks.
Paul Gaffney, Professor, Department of Philosophy , St. John’s University
James Kambeitz, Production Manager at Dakota Media Access, Bismack, North Dakota
Marina McCoy, Assistant Professor, Fitzgibbons Chair of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, Boston College.
Brian Huschle, Dean of Academic Affairs, Northland Technical College
James Nickson, Programmer, University of North Dakota
Daphne Pedersen Stevens, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of North Dakota
Michelle Rydz, Director, Development Homes, Grand Forks, North Dakota
Brian Schill
, Undergraduate Research Coordinator, Honors Program, University of North Dakota
Eric Sondag, Technician, Network Specialists, Fargo, North Dakota
Jaclyn Stebbins, Student, University of North Dakota School of Law
Katherine Traylor-Schaffzin, Assistant Professor, University of North Dakota School of Law

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