Vince Bagnulo is a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, where he specializes in Political Theory. Within Political Theory, he focuses on 19th century political thought and ancient political thought. He is particularly interested in the intersection between ethics and politics, specifically the importance of formation and education in political life.
Vince’s dissertation research is an examination of J.S. Mill, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Alexis de Tocqueville on the topic of democratic character. There is growing recognition in the literature on liberalism that the past several decades have seen an inordinate focus on the procedural aspects of liberal democracy and a consequent neglect of questions of citizenship. The history of liberalism offers ample resources to address these neglected questions. Comparison of Mill, Nietzsche, and Tocqueville, specifically, gives insight not just into the importance of character of citizens for the survival of liberal democracy, but also the inherent difficulties that liberal democracy itself presents to the cultivation of the character it needs. Specifically, Mill, Nietzsche, and Tocqueville together reveal that debates on citizens’ character turn on questions of the meaning of freedom in liberalism, the understanding of history and progress, and the relationship of religion to politics. The current literature on liberal democracy and character, or ‘liberal virtue’, needs to be restructured to address these questions by engaging with these 19th century debates.
Before coming to Notre Dame, Vince studied at the University of Winnipeg, where he did his B.Sc. in Physics, and the University of Oxford, where he received a Masters in Philosophy. At Oxford, he specialized in ancient political thought and wrote his Master’s thesis on Plato’s Laws. In addition to Political Theory, he has an interest in Comparative Politics, which is his secondary field.