Two New Zealand Philosophers Win NZ$600,000


Two philosophers have been awarded Fast Start grants for early-career researchers by the Marsden Fund. Administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand, the Marsden fund is the major source of research funding in New Zealand. The application process is highly competitive, with success rates of around 11%.

  • Kourken Michaelian (University of Otago)
    Remembering together: Collective memory and collective intentionality. 300,000 NZD.
    Collective memory has been investigated in two distinct research traditions. Psychologists have investigated remembering in small-scale groups; social scientists and humanists have investigated remembering in large-scale groups. Humanists in other disciplines have made key contributions to our understanding of collective memory, and it is imperative that philosophers, too, begin to engage with this dynamic interdisciplinary field. Philosophical theories of collective intentionality have the potential to provide key theoretical underpinnings to collective memory research. At the same time, collective memory provides an invaluable opportunity to test and refine those accounts. This project will carry out a sustained philosophical investigation of collective memory, producing a unified account of the nature of remembering at multiple scales. The account will have benefits both for empirical collective memory research and for philosophy. It will contribute to the theoretical sophistication of collective memory research by providing a framework capable of integrating existing findings and suggesting new lines of inquiry. It will contribute to the empirical sophistication of philosophical accounts of collective intentionality by bringing these into contact with rich bodies of empirical knowledge on the workings of collective memory.
  • Krushil Watene (Massey University)
    Exploring Māori Social Justice Concepts. 300,000 NZD.
    What makes society just? Plato’s answers tend to be thought of as fundamentally part of our philosophical heritage: he provides a framework for discussion which we generally accept as the precursor to our modern society. But what would Plato’s Republic have sounded like if Plato had been Māori? What if Plato himself had taken ideas that are basic to Māori society as his starting point? What kind of approach to social justice would we have inherited? This project provides the philosophical research required to articulate an approach to social justice grounded in Māori concepts. This project breaks new ground in two important ways: firstly, it introduces the first Māori approach to social justice into mainstream justice theorising; secondly, it brings this approach explicitly into conversation with other indigenous concepts, and western theories of justice. This project has the potential to create shifts in some of the foundation of contemporary political philosophy, initiating a new framework for global justice theorising.

The full list of Marsden grantees is available here.

(via James Maclaurin)

Painting by Milan Mrkusich

Painting by Milan Mrkusich

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