Michael A. Gillespie

Michael A. Gillespie

Professor of Philosophy

Contact Information
204G Gross Hall, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708
Box 90204, Durham, NC 27708-0204
(919) 660-4308


Professor of Political Science and Philosophy, works in political philosophy, with particular emphasis on modern continental theory and the history of political philosophy. He is the author of Hegel, Heidegger and the Ground of History, Nihilism before Nietzsche, and The Theological Origins of Modernity. He is also co-editor of Nietzsche's New Seas: Explorations in Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Politics, Ratifying the Constitution, and Homo Politicus, Homo Economicus. He has published articles on Montaigne, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Existentialism, and various topics in American political thought and public philosophy, as well as on the relation of religion and politics. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the German Academic Exchange Service, the Templeton Foundation, the Liberty Fund, the Jack Miller Foundation, the Smith Foundation, and the Earhart Foundation. He is the Director of the Duke Program in American Values and Institutions, the AB Duke Scholars Program, the Duke in Oxford Program, and the Visions of Freedom Focus Program.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of Chicago 1981

Selected Grants

A Constitution Day Celebration at Duke University awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2015 - 2016

The Duke Program in American Values and Institutions awarded by National Endowment for the Humanities (Principal Investigator). 2004 - 2010

(93-0230) NEH Summer Institute (1994): Plato and the Polis awarded by National Endowment for the Humanities (Co-Principal Investigator). 1993 - 1994

(86-0127) Ratifying the Constitution: Ideas and Interests in the Several American States awarded by National Endowment for the Humanities (Principal Investigator). 1986 - 1988

Gillespie, M. A. The Theological Origins of Modernity, Chinese edition with a new Preface. Human Science adn Technology Press, 2012.

Gillespie, M. A., and G. Brennan, eds. Homo Politicus, Homo Economicus, 2008.

Gillespie, M. A. The Theological Origins of Modernity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Gillespie, M. A. Nihilism Before Nietzsche. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.

Gillespie, M., and M. Lienesch, eds. Ratifying the Constitution. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1989.

Gillespie, M., and T. B. Strong, eds. Nietzsche’s New Seas: Exploration in Philosophy, Aesthetics and Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.

Gillespie, M. A. Hegel, Heidegger, and Ground of History. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1984.

Gillespie, M. A. “Machiavelli’s Modernity and the Christian Tradition.” In The Modern Turn. Catholic University Press, 2014.

Gillespie, M. A. “On Debt.” Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013.

Gillespie, M. A., and Lucas Perkins. “The Dangerous Divide : Between Weak Thought and Practical Politics,".” In On Vattimo and Zabala’s Hermeneutic Communism On Vattimo and Zabala’s Hermeneutic Communism, edited by Silvia Mazzini. Continuum Press, 2013.

Gillespie, M. A. “Doing Nothing or Nothing Doing.” In Nihilism and Contemporary Politics. Van Leer Institute, 2013.

Gillespie, M. A. “Radical Philosophy and Political Theology.” In Religion and Modern European Thought, edited by Graham Ward, George Pattison, and Nicholas Adams. Oxford University Press, 2013.

Gillespie, M. A. “Radical Hopes: Apocalyptic Longings in Nineteenth Century Philosophy.” In The Apocalyptic Complex – Origins, Histories, Permanence, edited by Nadia Al-Bagdadi, Matthias Riedl, and David Marno. CEU Press, 2012.

Gillespie, M. A. “Martin Heidegger.” In The Cambridge Dictionary of Political Thought. Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Gillespie, M. A. “Dostoevsky and Nietzsche: Murder, Madness, and Suicide. Nihilism and the Doctrine of the Eternal Recurrence.” In Nietzsche and Dostoevsky, edited by Jeffrey Metzger. Continuum Press, 2012.

Gillespie, M. A., and Keegan Calanan. “Toward Noon: Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals.” In A Companion to Friedrich Nietzsche, edited by Paul Bishop. Camden House, 2012.

Gillespie, M. “Nihilism in the nineteenth century: From absolute subjectivit y to superhumanity.” In The Edinburgh Critical History of Nineteenth-Century Philosophy, 278–93, 2011.


Allen Gillespie, Michael. “On Debt and Redemption: Friedrich Nietzsche's Doctrine of Eternal Recurrence.” Journal of Religious Ethics 46, no. 2 (June 2018): 267–87. https://doi.org/10.1111/jore.12218. Full Text

Gillespie, M. A. “On Nietzsche's final teaching: A response to my critics.” Interpretation (United States) 44, no. 3 (March 1, 2018): 439–46.

Gillespie, M. A. “The Question of the Examined Life.” Review of Politics 80, no. 2 (March 1, 2018): 223–33. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0034670517001279. Full Text

Gillespie, M. A. “In the Shadow of Modernity” Orientale Lumen IV (2014).

Gillespie, M. A. “Question for Fuller.” First Things, no. April (2014).

Gillespie, M. A. “Jean Elshtain: In Memorium.” Review of Politics, 2013.

Gillespie, M. A., and J. S. Harpham. “Sherlock Holmes, Crime, And The Anxieties Of Globalization.” Critical Review 23, no. 4 (December 1, 2011): 449–74. https://doi.org/10.1080/08913811.2011.664851. Full Text

Gillespie, M. A. “'March Madness'.” The Point, 2011.

Gillespie, M. A. “Response to my critics.” Review of Politics 72, no. 4 (September 1, 2010): 705–10. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0034670510000616. Full Text

Gillespie, M. A., and L. Perkins. “Political anti-theology.” Critical Review 22, no. 1 (March 1, 2010): 65–84. https://doi.org/10.1080/08913811003625489. Full Text


Gillespie, M. A. “Degradation.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 14, 2014.

Gillespie, M. A. “The Anti-Trinitarian Origins of Liberalism,” 2014.

Gillespie, M. A. “Science and the Humanities,” 2010.

Gillespie, M. A. “Response to Robert Pippin,” 2010.

Gillepsie, M. A. “Teaching Human Rights.” National Humanities Center, n.d.

Gillespie, M. A. “Too Many Wins for North Carolina to Reject Medicaid Expansion.” Raleigh News and Observer, February 19, 2013., 2013.

Gillespie, M. A. “Just One of Those We Lost.” Raleigh News and Observer, September 11, 2011.

Gillespie, M. A. “Budget Pain Must Fall on All.” Raleigh News and Observer, Op Ed, 2011.

Gillespie, M. A. “Winners All in NCAA Basketball Championship Game.” The Herald Sun, 2010.

Gillespie, M. A. “A Place to Learn and Reflect: Course to Explore Ideals of Ethical Life.” Greensboro  News Record, 2009.

Gillespie, M. A. “On Gold Medals and Team Sports.” The Durham Herald Sun, 2008.

Gillespie, M. A. “Column Was Malicious Nonsense.” Durham Herald Sun, 2006.

Gillespie, M. A. “Raise the Cigarette Tax.” Durham Herald Sun, 2002.

Gillespie, M. A. “County Failing to Control Vicious Packs of Dogs.” Durham Herald Sun, 2001.

Gillespie, M. A. “Scholarly Issues Guided Lomparis Decision.” Durham Herald Sun, 1994.