Philosophers Edouard Machery (Pittsburgh) and Stephen Stich (Rutgers) and anthropologist H. Clark Barrett (UCLA) have been awarded a $2,569,563 grant from the John Templeton Foundation to fund their project, “The Geography of Philosophy: An Interdisciplinary Cross-Cultural Exploration of Universality and Diversity in Fundamental Philosophical Concepts.” Here’s a description of the project: Throughout the history of philosophy, many thinkers have urged that some fundamental philosophical concepts are universal–used by all rational people. Historians and anthropologists have often been skeptical of these claims. Recently, cultural psychologists and experimental philosophers have begun to explore empirically whether fundamental philosophical concepts are shared across cultures. The results of these studies have been fascinating, provocative and equivocal. The goals of this project are (i) to move this exciting endeavor forward by dramatically expanding the methodologies, the range of cultures considered, and the cultural and disciplinary diversity of the investigators engaged in the inquiry; (ii) to motivate and enable researchers around the world to become involved in cross-cultural, interdisciplinary research on philosophical concepts by sponsoring workshops in Africa, Asia and South America where our research teams can interact with scientists and scholars in the region; (iii) to present our findings both in scholarly publications and in an integrated format accessible to non-specialists; (iv) to foster discussion about the implications of the findings for venerable philosophical debates and for practical contemporary issues. The grant will fund work on the project from 2018-2021.
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