Hello, I'm John Tambornino. 
I have always been captivated by larger questions, and sought answers or new understandings.  These have sometimes changed my life, as I have sought to apply them, and live them.  This passion led me to study and teach philosophy, to careers in academia and public service, and to spiritual exploration in diverse traditions.  Building on all of this, I can help you address larger questions, and bring philosophy to life.

Standing on the Acropolis, overlooking the Agora, where Socrates brought philosophy to life (Athens, Greece)


I teach ethics and public policy at Brown University, and have taught at New York University, Western Washington University, and Johns Hopkins University.   My scholarly interests have included the significance of embodiment for critical reflection, the relevance of philosophy to democratic government, social justice issues inherent in public policy, and the ancient notion of philosophy as a way of life.  

In addition, in nearly two decades of public service, I have addressed issues of poverty and disadvantage, and advanced policy analysis and evaluation across government, including working in the White House under two Presidents.  My role has been to understand government and public policy, to formulate issues and options, and to explain these understandings to leaders and the public. 

I also have explored theology, spirituality and meditation through participating in and leading numerous courses, discussion groups and retreats.  This has broadened my understanding of philosophy, uncovered valuable resources for reflection, and allowed dialogue with persons of diverse beliefs.  It also has allowed experimentation with practices of reflection grounded in our nature as emotive, embodied, mortal beings – which I originally explored philosophically in The Corporeal Turn

My education includes a B.A. in philosophy from Macalester College and a Ph.D. in political philosophy from Johns Hopkins, and certification in Philosophical Counseling from the American Philosophical Practitioners Association.  

“I do not say with Socrates that the unexamined life is not worth living - that is unnecessarily harsh.  However, when we guide our lives by our own pondered thoughts, it then is our life that we are living, not someone else's.  In this sense, the unexamined life is not lived as fully.”

Robert Nozick, The Examined Life: Philosophical Meditations (1989)


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© 2019 by John Tambornino, Washington, DC, Larger Questions