The Institute for Philosophy in Public Life bridges the gap between academic philosophy and the general public. It cultivate discussions between professional philosophers and those with an interest in the subject, regardless of their experience or credentials.

IPPL was founded in 2018 on the premise that anyone can do philosophy, and that philosophy relates to all people’s day-to-day lives. Through in-person events, fellowships, internships, terrestrial radio programs, podcasts, virtual meetings, and social-network interaction, IPPL works to create a global community of curious, non-adversarial, amateur philosophers.

IPPL is committed to the notion that philosophy is useful, lucrative, and entertaining, and that philosophical communities are fun, fulfilling, and essential for democracy, Our activities are open to all.

The Institute for Philosophy in Public Life is an academic unit of The University of North Dakota’s College of Arts & Sciences. It is a non-partisan, 401-C3 organization operating under the fiscal agency of the UND Alumni Association.

The opinions expressed on this website or IPPLs media are not necessarily those of UND, it’s faculty, staff, students, or administrators.


Director Jack Russell Weinstein is a Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Dakota. He is an award winning teacher, author of three books and dozens of academic and popular articles, and has edited six collections for both academics and general audiences. He is an amateur triathlete and a hobbyist baker.

Professor Weinstein’s interest in public philosophy is a long and committed one beginning with a weekly column in his undergraduate college newspaper, titled “My Philosophy.” He is now in his fifteenth year as the host of Why? Philosophical Discussions About Everyday Life, IPPL’s flagship show, and in his second year as co-host of the Prairie Public radio’s philosophical look at the news, Philosophical Currents.

Weinstein’s more specialized research focuses on the intersection of the history of philosophy and contemporary theories of justice. His main interest is in the connections between empathy, diversity, and economics justice. His most specialized work focuses on the contemporary relevance of Adam Smith, the eighteenth-century thinker whose books serve as the foundation for modern capitalism.

You can find his personal webpage at

Current Intern: Sara Rasch

Sara Rasch is a philosophy major at the University of North Dakota. She comes from Hibbing, Minnesota—a small mining town about two hours south of the Canadian border. She writes “I was introduced to philosophy during my sophomore year here, and I immediately knew it needed to be part of my life. Since then, I have realized that philosophy can be found in many of our regular, day-to-day experiences. My favorite part about philosophy is that we can use it to create a more meaningful relationship with ourselves and the world around us. I think that philosophy really can be for everybody, and I am very excited to share it as IPPL’s new intern.”

Previous INTERNs:

  • 2017-2018: Sam Amendolar, University of North Dakota.
  • 2015-2016: Daryn Skjefte, University of North Dakota.
  • 2015-2016: Lindsay Floyd, University of Oklahoma.
  • 2014-2015: Madison Berns, University of North Dakota.
  • 2013-2014: Michelle Bonapace-Potvin, University of North Dakota.
  • 2011-2012: Caitlin Jensen, University of North Dakota.
  • 2010-2011: Alexandra Hagen, University of North Dakota
  • 2010-2011: 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 Pederson 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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