The Geography of Philosophy Project

The Geography of Philosophy Project, initiated last year with a $2.6 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation, is “an interdisciplinary cross-cultural exploration of universality and diversity in fundamental philosophical concepts.”

The project, led by Edouard Machery (Pittsburgh), Stephen Stich (Rutgers, UCLA), and Clark Barrett (UCLA), will be working with nine teams around the world (in China, Ecuador, India, Japan, Korea, Morocco,Peru, Slovakia, and South Africa) to study the concepts of “knowledge,” “understanding,” and “wisdom” using empirical methods from the social sciences and drawing from research on comparative philosophy. You can learn more about the project here.

The team has launched a blog, Go Philosophy, to discuss their findings. Check it out.

Hajime Narukawa, “Authagraph”

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Daniel P O'Connell
Daniel P O'Connell
5 years ago

Justin, the premises and methods of this new study are probably quite different, but there is an interesting project that resulted in a book about 15 years ago called _Philosophie-Atlas: Orte und Wege des Denkens_ [Philosophy-Atlas: Places and Paths of Thought]. One of the reasons it was interesting to me was that the book contains 41 different maps showing the spread of certain ideas and schools of thought. It bills itself as a study in the history of ideas, claiming to cover the period “from the beginning to the present, from Africa to Zhongguo (i.e., China).” (Ambitious, I know.) One aspect of the geography of philosophy I think this work displayed well is the exchange between various cultures, woven together through the various relations between different geographical parts of the earth. Although the text is not available to those who don’t know German, the 41 different maps are by themselves illuminating. The maps and the texts push the reader to examine the history of thought from another perspective. It also does a great deal to purge the eurocentrism of philosophy in the context of a broader view. I was able to find a copy at the University of Michigan grad library, so perhaps other libraries around the U.S. might also have a copy.

Daniel P O'Connell
Daniel P O'Connell
5 years ago

I neglected to add a link to the amazon dot de page if anyone wants a closer look (though there is not the usual “look inside” feature there):