May 03, 2013

University Communications

Professors Win John Templeton Foundation Grant for Nearly $3 Million

The grant, which will support the new Philosophy and Theology of Intellectual Humility project, is one of the largest in University history for the humanities or the sciences.

Saint Louis University has received a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation to launch a new philosophy initiative that will explore the subject of intellectual humility.

The Templeton Foundation will contribute more than $2.7 million to the project, with contributions by the University bringing the total grant to more than $3 million. It is one of the largest grants SLU has ever received in the areas of the humanities or the sciences.

The Philosophy and Theology of Intellectual Humility project is being led by Eleonore Stump, Ph.D., the Robert J. Henle Professor of Philosophy; and John Greco, Ph.D., the Leonard and Elizabeth Eslick Chair in Philosophy.

Both are faculty in SLU's Department of Philosophy, which is home to academic programs that are rated among the best in the English-speaking world by philosophers around the globe, according to the Philosophical Gourmet Report.

"The College of Arts and Sciences and the University are most grateful for the Templeton Foundation's generous grant given to two of the College's finest faculty," said Michael Barber, S.J., dean of SLU's College of Arts and Sciences. "The investigation of the question of ‘intellectual humility,' which opens us to God and to our fellow human beings, fits perfectly with the University mission and offers an important corrective to a world in which hardened ideologies - both religious and scientific — often prevail."

The project will focus on a variety of philosophical and theological issues relevant to the topic of intellectual humility, as informed by current research in the empirical sciences, including: virtue epistemology; regulative epistemology; peer disagreement; intellectual humility, intellectual autonomy and deference to authority; religious pluralism; divine hiddenness; intellectual humility and theological method; biases, heuristics, dual-process theories and evolution; intersubjectivity and knowledge of other minds.

The Saint Louis University effort complements the activities and research occurring under Templeton's Science of Intellectual Humility project by encouraging philosophers and theologians to integrate empirical research on questions surrounding intellectual humility into their own investigations.

The Philosophy and Theology of Intellectual Humility project — which is being bolstered by approximately $340,000 in additional University funding - will supervise a variety of project activities from SLU, including a competition for up to 16 research grants in philosophy and theology.

Additional activities include:

  • Midpoint and capstone conferences in May of 2014 and 2015
  • Graduate and postdoctoral fellowships and visiting professorships at SLU
  • Year-long reading groups and a year-long graduate seminar at the University
  • A weeklong summer seminar on intellectual humility for graduate and early-career scholars
  • Funded cluster groups and associated activities at other universities
  • A website to disseminate the project's research

About the John Templeton Foundation
The John Templeton Foundation serves as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality. The foundation supports research on subjects ranging from complexity, evolution and infinity to creativity, forgiveness, love, and free will. It encourages civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers and theologians, and between such experts and the public at large, for the purposes of definitional clarity and new insights.

About the Philosophy Department at Saint Louis University
The Philosophy Department at Saint Louis University is distinguished by a long-standing tradition of pluralism both of methodology and interest. There are faculty members working in the history of philosophy from antiquity through the present, as well as in most areas of contemporary analytic and continental European philosophy. Most recently, the department has gained national and international recognition in medieval philosophy, philosophy of religion, action theory, epistemology, and socio-political philosophy. The department offers courses of study terminating in B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees.

About Saint Louis University
Saint Louis University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution that values academic excellence, life-changing research, compassionate health care, and a strong commitment to faith and service. Founded in 1818, the University fosters the intellectual and character development of nearly 14,000 students on two campuses in St. Louis and Madrid, Spain. Building on a legacy of nearly 200 years, Saint Louis University continues to move forward with an unwavering commitment to a higher purpose, a greater good.

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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