David Thunder is a researcher and lecturer at the University of Navarra’s Institute for Culture and Society in Pamplona, Spain, and a recipient of the prestigious Ramón y Cajal grant (with a five-year duration, from 2017 to 2021), awarded by the Spanish government to support outstanding research activities. Prior to his appointment to the University of Navarra, he held several research and teaching positions in the United States, including visiting assistant professor at Bucknell and Villanova, and Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Princeton University’s James Madison Program. Dr Thunder earned his BA and MA in philosophy at University College Dublin, and his Ph.D. in political science at the University of Notre Dame.
Dr Thunder’s research explores the conditions under which human beings can realize meaningful, rounded, and flourishing lives in highly complex and interconnected social orders. Specific issues he has addressed in his writings include integrity and corruption in public life, the value of freedom of conscience, the philosophical justification of human rights, our responsibilities toward the distant needy, and the proper place of civil society associations in a federal scheme of governance.
Dr Thunder’s first monograph, Citizenship and the Pursuit of the Worthy Life (Cambridge University Press, 2014), presents strategies for harmonizing our civic roles with our conscientiously formed ethical and religious commitments, bucking an influential current of political thought (represented most famously by John Rawls) that seeks to draw a sharp line between full-blooded ethics and the requirements of citizenship. Dr Thunder’s current book project, Civil Order After the Sovereign State, advances a perfectionist ideal of political freedom and self-government that seeks to replace the principle of sovereignty inherited from monarchical absolutism with a more pluralistic and decentralized conception of civil order, sensitive to the pivotal role of non-State organisations as sources of governance and order in many different spheres of life.
Dr Thunder has published an edited volume on the ethics of citizenship (Springer, 2017), and numerous articles in prominent peer reviewed journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, Political Theory, The Journal of Social Philosophy, and the Journal of Business Ethics. His contributions to public debate have included appearances on Newstalk, Spirit FM, The Tonight Show, GB News, and various podcasts. He has also contributed op eds to Mercatornet, GRIPT, The Irish Times, Spiked, and numerous Spanish newspapers, including El Mundo, El País, Expansión, El Español, and Diario de Navarra. Finally, he hosts an online blog and Youtube channel where he posts commentary on social, legal, and cultural matters pertinent to a free society.