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George Heffernan



Professor George Heffernan earned his B.A. and M.A. from The Catholic University of America and his Ph.D. from the University of Cologne, Germany. He also holds the highest degree in the German Language awarded by the Goethe Institute of Munich as well as the diploma of a State-Certified Translator and Interpreter for the German Language granted by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce of Bonn.

Rejecting the impoverished positivistic view of philosophy as a mere ancillary of science, Professor Heffernan specializes, in an interdisciplinary, intercultural, and interlingual manner, in contemporary European philosophy, particularly in phenomenology, hermeneutics, and existentialism, concentrating on analytic questions of evidence, meaning, and understanding. He is also competent in various approaches to ethics and contemporary moral problems. His broad and deep systematic interests encompass the entire history of philosophy.

Professor Heffernan has received many awards from academic institutions, including the Basselin Foundation of The Catholic University of America, the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts of the University of Notre Dame, the German Academic Exchange Service, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has also received the Liberal Arts Faculty Fellowship from Merrimack College and several Thagaste Symposium Awards from the Center for Augustinian Study and the Order of Saint Augustine. He organizes the Annual Cassiciacum Dialogue at Merrimack College. He is completing an edition of Augustine’s Against the Academicians that situates the text within the horizon of the perennial epistemic issues raised by Hellenistic skepticism, recast by Cartesian rationalism, and revised by contemporary epistemology.

Since 2009 Professor Heffernan has served the German Academic Exchange Service as Research Ambassador for North America. In the summer of 2013, he was privileged, as a member of the International Leadership Team of Merrimack College, to enable two of the college’s students to participate in the internationally acclaimed Summer Academy on “Diversity in the Big City: Fascination and Challenge for Social Professions” organized by the Catholic University of Applied Social Sciences Berlin (KHSB).

Professor Heffernan strives to inspire his students with the same love of and devotion to the pursuit of wisdom that sustains his own life. He enjoys exploring his discipline by learning with them how applied philosophy enhances lived experience. In his free time, he enjoys visiting world heritage sites, for example, the obscure city-state prison (desmoterion) of the Classical period near the market-square (agora) of ancient Athens, the most likely location at which the Greek philosopher Socrates drank the hemlock (399 B.C.E.).

Professor Heffernan in Socrates' Prison at the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy, Athens, Greece, August 4–10, 2013.


B.A. and M.A. from Catholic University of America; Ph.D. from University of Cologne, Germany


As a very active teacher-scholar, Professor Heffernan has presented scores of papers in many countries on several continents, including at scholarly meetings of the World Congress of Philosophy, the American Philosophical Association, the International Husserl Circle, the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, the Organization of Phenomenological Organizations, the International Society for Phenomenology and Literature, the International Humanities Conference, the Society of Scholars of Christian Antiquity, the Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, the Albert Camus Society, and the Hermeneutics and Translation Conference. He has published numerous books, including one in the renowned series Phaenomenologica, as well as numerous articles, including ones in Husserl StudiesThe New Yearbook for Phenomenology and Phenomenological PhilosophyLogical Analysis and History of PhilosophyAnalecta Husserliana,Fenomenologia, Investigaciones FenomenológicasThe Journal of Camus StudiesThe International Journal of the Humanities,The EnvironmentalistThe Humanistic PsychologistThe Oxford Guide to the Historical Reception of Augustine, and The New Catholic Encyclopedia.




Sullivan Hall 107C

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