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Ramón y Cajal Researcher & Lecturer in Political Philosophy, Institute for Culture & Society, University of Navarra, Universidad de Navarra

Dr Thunder has been a Ramón y Cajal Researcher and lecturer in political philosophy at the University of Navarra's Institute for Culture and Society since January 2017 and is currently Principal Investigator of a project RESPUBLICA (supported by the FUNCIVA foundation), devoted to the normative and empirical investigation of governance under conditions of social, cultural, and moral complexity. Dr Thunder earned his BA and MA in philosophy at University College Dublin (1993-97 and 1997-98 respectively), and his MA and Ph.D. in political science (2000-2006) at the University of Notre Dame. Upon completion of his doctoral studies, he held several research and teaching positions in the United States, serving as visiting assistant professor at Bucknell (2006-07), Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Princeton University’s James Madison Program (2008-09), and visiting assistant professor at Villanova’s Political Science Department (2009-12), prior to joining the University of Navarra’s Institute for Culture and Society in September 2012.

One of the defining features of his work is its attempt to recover a more integrated vision of human action and life in community with others, in the face of attempts by a modern thinkers to isolate legal, economic, and political activity from broader concerns and values that affect the human person as person (and not merely as citizen, or as homo economicus). Specific issues he has taken up in his writings include integrity and corruption in public life, our responsibilities toward the distant needy, and the complexity of city governance in a complex society. Dr Thunder has published a monograph, entitled Citizenship and the Pursuit of the Worthy Life (Cambridge University Press, 2014), that challenges liberal and realist attempts to drive a wedge between ethical and political reasons for action, and proposes a deeper harmonisation of our civic roles with our conscientiously formed ethical and religious commitments. He has also edited and co-authored an edited volume, The Ethics of Citizenship in the 21st Century (Springer, 2017) incorporating a wide variety of approaches to citizenship, including Islamic, Confucian, Thomistic, and Arendtian perspectives. Dr Thunder's articles have appeared in prestigious collections of essays (Springer, Lexington) and in prominent journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, Political Theory, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, and Journal of Social Philosophy.

Other relevant experiences include a 4-week stint as visiting fellow at Oxford University’s Law Faculty (May-June 2017) and at TUM, Munich (July 2019); an extensive teaching portfolio (in total, 11 separate courses at four different institutions), the direction of three MA theses at the University of Navarra; extensive experience presenting his work in universities and other public venues spanning the United States, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, and Italy; supervising an edited collection on the ethics of citizenship (Springer 2017), serving as a peer reviewer for Oxford University Press, Lexington Books, and numerous academic journals including the Journal of Politics and the American Political Science Review, and publishing op eds in major newspapers such as El Mundo, El País, and The Irish Times.


  • –present
    Ramón y Cajal Research Fellow in Political Philosophy, Universidad de Navarra


  • 2006 
    University of Notre Dame, Ph.D, Political Science