D.C. Schindler

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D.C. Schindler
D.C. Schindler.jpg D.C. Schindler.jpg
Schindler in 2018
Born (1970-12-22) December 22, 1970 (age 51)
Upland, California
💼 Occupation

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David Christopher Schindler (born December 22, 1970) is a widely-published American philosopher and translator, specializing in metaphysics, philosophical anthropology, philosophy of religion, and moral and political philosophy. His work falls in the broadly Neoplatonic tradition, though he is also associated with Thomism, certain strains of German Idealism, and the Communio/Ressourcement school of theology. He is an associate professor of Metaphysics and Anthropology at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Washington, D.C..

Education and Academic Work[edit]

Schindler was educated in the Program for Liberal Studies at the University of Notre Dame, where his father, David L. Schindler, was then teaching. During his time at college, he completed a year of French study at L’Université Catholique de l’Ouest, in Angers, France. In 1995, he completed a Masters of Sacred Theology at the John Paul II Institute in Rome, and in 1997, a Masters of Arts in Philosophy at The Catholic University of America. In 2001, he completed his Doctorate in Philosophy at the Catholic University of America, with a dissertation on “The Dramatic Structure of Truth, in Dialogue with Hans Urs von Balthasar and Continental Philosophy from Kant to Heidegger,” under the direction of Riccardo Pozzo.[1]

From 2001-2013, Schindler taught philosophy in the Department of Humanities at Villanova University, with a stint in Munich for an Alexander von Humboldt Research fellowship, 2007-2008. Since 2013, he has taught at the John Paul II Institute in Washington D.C., where his father also teaches.[2] He has served as an editor and translator for the English edition of Communio: International Catholic Review since 2002. A prolific author, from the start of his academic career, Schindler has published a steady stream of articles, books, and translations.

Original Publications[edit]

His first book was developed from his doctoral dissertation, Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Dramatic Structure of Truth: A Philosophical Investigation (2004), focusing broadly on Balthasar’s conception of reason as approaching truth “dramatically,” in a way that unfolds over time. Schindler argues that a Balthasarian model unites the classical concern for the unity of truth with the postmodern concern for particular difference, allowing for a play between the two in the human act of understanding.

In his second book, Plato’s Critique of Impure Reason: On Goodness and Truth in the Republic (2008), Schindler makes an extended analysis of Plato’s most famous work, against the backdrop of the contemporary crisis of reason. His claim is that the Republic, by grounding rational activity in the goodness of being, presents a model of the philosophic life that has the capacity to confront the “misology” of modern intellectual life.

Schindler did much of the work for his third book The Perfection of Freedom: Schiller, Schelling, and Hegel between the Ancients and the Moderns (2012), during the year of his Humboldt fellowship in Germany.[3] In it, he gives an account of these three major German philosophers, especially with respect to their treatment of “form,” in aesthetics, natural philosophy, and politics. His conclusion is that their dynamic approach to the interpretation of form provides a path back, through modern philosophy, to meaningful dialogue with the classical tradition of metaphysics.

In his third book, The Catholicity of Reason (2013), Schindler collected a number of previously published articles, to which he added a few new pieces. The volume, which may be said to mark Schindler’s own thought most clearly, centers around a conception of reason as “catholic,” in the linguistic sense of being open to the whole of being,[4] and always so to speak knowing more than it can say. It is, in Schindler’s terms, “ecstatic,” by which he means, standing “out beyond itself,” in its openness to reality;[5] discrete rational acts then try to reach out and express what reason has already seen ecstatically. The various chapters of the book extend this account in various directions, with reference to a number of different thinkers and sub-disciplines.

Schindler’s fourth book, Freedom from Reality: The Diabolical Character of Modern Liberty (2017), marks his first full-length foray into ethical and political theory. The work concerns the transformation of freedom in modern philosophy, beginning with Locke’s account, and moving into later modern formulations: the argument is that the sense of freedom presumed in much modern philosophy forces its adherents into a set of intellectual and moral problems that would be avoided given a classical account of freedom. The last chapters of the book then move back to Plato and Aristotle in an effort at retrieving that classical account. Elsewhere, Schindler has made clear that Freedom from Reality will be the first of a three book series on the topic of freedom in Western philosophy.[6]

In addition to these books, Schindler has released a collection of essays on the transcendentals, Love and the Postmodern Predicament: Rediscovering the Real in Beauty, Goodness, and Truth (2018), in addition to more than forty published articles and book chapters. While around half of his articles have appeared in Communio, the journal he edits, others have come out in Apeiron, Modern Theology, The Review of Metaphysics, and others.


Broadly, Schindler’s theme is the place of reason in the context of a rich, neo-Platonic metaphysics: while he frequently adverts to Aquinas and Aristotle, it is Plato he sees at the heart of the philosophic tradition he is seeking to follow. A second concern, interlinked with the first, is the unity of the transcendentals, Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, as they interplay within the rational experience of persons: following Balthasar, Schindler sees the transcendentals “circumincessing,” as the persons of the Trinity were classically understood to do. On this view, Being draws the individual perceiver into its goodness through beauty, thence leading the person to affirm its truth. Thereafter, our enhanced grasp of Being’s truth breaks in upon us all the more as beautiful, and the circumincession (or perichoresis) of the transcendentals continues, leading the knower ever deeper into the abyss of reality.[7]


Schindler is fluent in German and French, and proficient in Italian, with a reading knowledge of Latin and Greek. He has translated or co-translated numerous articles and books over the years, including (among the books alone) George Bernanos’ The Heroic Face of Innocence: Three Stories (tr. 1999); Balthasar’s Love Alone is Credible (tr. 2004); A Robert Spaemann Reader: Philosophical Essays on Nature, God, and the Human Person (tr. 2015); and Ferdinand Ulrich’s Homo Abyssus (tr. 2018).

Scholarly Reception[edit]

Schindler has been called “one of the leading Anglophone authorities on German philosophy from the eighteenth century through to the present,”[8] “masterful in his grasp of the history of metaphysics up to and including the modern and postmodern critiques of it,”[9] and “quite simply, the best Catholic philosopher of [his] generation."[10] Of his first book, it has been said, “no other English-language study of Balthasar has reached its depth, range, and perspicacity."[11] “Evident throughout,” according to another review, “is Schindler’s compendious knowledge of the philosophical tradition.” [12] His second book, Plato’s Critique of Impure Reason, has been called “a fascinating interpretation of Plato’s Republic . . . . a captivating counterweight to the preponderance of less dramatically unified interpretations."[13] His work on The Perfection of Freedom in Schiller, Schelling, and Hegel has been called “a masterfully written and richly intricate book."[14] The Catholicity of Reason has been called “brilliant . . . providing the most satisfactory and comprehensive account of the nature of reason” available.[15] And a reviewer of his latest book wrote that “Schindler is inspiring in his breadth of discussion and depth of insight, . . . clearly demonstrating what it is that makes a classical metaphysical vision coherent and compelling,” and “conducting . . . a perspicacious diagnosis of why certain contradictions exist in many pockets of modern culture.” [16]

Honors and Awards[edit]

In addition to the 2008 Humboldt fellowship, Schindler has received a number of other academic honors, and given several invited lectures. In 2014, he was invited to give the annual John Paul II Lecture at the University of Dallas;[17]; in 2015, he gave the Bitar Lecture at Geneva College in Pennsylvania;[18]; in the Fall of 2017, he gave the McMahon Aquinas Lecture at St. Mary's College in Notre Dame, IN;[19] in Fall of 2018, he gave the Albacete Lecture at the Sheen Center in New York.[20] He has also given invited lectures at Hillsdale College in Michigan,[21] Franciscan University in Ohio,[22] St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Pennsylvania,[23] and other locations.


  1. See Schindler's faculty page for his schooling, and CUA's list of Philosophy PhDs for information on the dissertation.
  2. See David L. Schindler's faculty page.
  3. See The Perfection of Freedom, ix.
  4. See Catholicity, 3.
  5. See Catholicity, 8.
  6. On the planned future volumes of the trilogy, see Schindler's remarks in a panel discussion on Freedom From Reality, March 1, 2018, at the University of Notre Dame.
  7. On the circumincession of the transcendentals, see Schindler, Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Dramatic Structure of Truth, 350-421.
  8. Tracey Rowland, “Review of The Perfection of Freedom,” Reviews in Religion & Theology 25.4 (Oct. 2018), 756.
  9. James Swindal, “Review of The Catholicity of Reason,” International Philosophical Quarterly 54.2 (June 2014), 244-247
  10. Michael Hanby, No God, No Science: Theology, Cosmology, Biology (London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), ix.
  11. Cyrus Olsen, “Review of Dramatic Structure,” Review of Metaphysics 59.1 (Sep. 2005), 203.
  12. Cyril O’Regan, “Review of Dramatic Structure,” International Journal of Systematic Theology 7.4 (Oct. 2005), 487.
  13. Paul Stevens, “Review of Plato’s Critique,” Review of Metaphysics 62.3 (March 2009), 689, 690.
  14. Nathan Strunk, “Review of Perfection,” Religious Studies Review 40.1 (March 2014), 20.
  15. James Matthew Wilson, “Review of Catholicity,” Modern Age 58.2 (Spring 2016), 76.
  16. Alec Arnold, “Review of Freedom from Reality,” Irish Theological Quarterly 84.1 (February 2019), 114.
  17. See the UD press release.
  18. See the Bitar Lecture series page.
  19. See the McMahon Aquinas Lecture series page.
  20. See the Albacete Lecture series page.
  21. See Love and the Postmodern Predicament, vii-viii.
  22. See the schedule for the Hildebrand Project's 2017 seminar in Steubenville.
  23. See the seminary's press release.


Articles & Book Chapters[edit]

Book Translations[edit]


External links[edit]

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