Saint Louis University, with the help of a generous grant from The John Templeton Foundation, welcomes proposals from philosophers and theologians for "The Philosophy and Theology of Intellectual Humility" project. We aim to support a maximum of 16 one-year research fellowships on the philosophy and theology of intellectual humility, totaling $1.5 million in awards. The deadline to submit letters of intent is September 13, 2013.
Project Directors: John Greco and Eleonore Stump, Saint Louis University.
Intellectual humility is an intellectual virtue, a character trait that allows the intellectually humble person to think and reason well. It is plausibly related to open-mindedness, a sense of one's own fallibility, and a healthy recognition of one's intellectual debts to others. If intellectual humility marks a mean between extremes, then related vices would be (on the one side) intellectual arrogance, closed-mindedness, and overconfidence in one's own opinions and intellectual powers, and (on the other side) undue timidity in one's intellectual life, or even intellectual cowardice. The Philosophy and Theology of Intellectual Humility project will focus on a variety of philosophical and theological issues relevant to the topic of intellectual humility. This project aims to:
Researchers from philosophy and theology are invited to request between $40,000 and $100,000 for a research project of up to one year. We anticipate making 16 awards.
Funding is primarily aimed at semester or yearlong sabbatical research-leave projects involving a book manuscript or series of substantive articles on issues connected with intellectual humility (see Key Questions below). A residential incentive of $6,000 for one semester or $12,000 for an academic year will be offered to philosophy and theology RFP winners who are willing to move to Saint Louis University during the award period, and this stipend would not count as part of the research funding request. A willingness to move will not be taken into account when evaluating proposals.
Proposals that do not directly or explicitly engage empirical work are appropriate. However, project proposers should be informed by relevant empirical work, for example that generated by the Science of Intellectual Humility project.
Award winners will be invited to participate in a mid-point conference at Saint Louis University in May of 2014, and a summer seminar and capstone conference in Los Angeles in May 2015. Questions about this RFP should be directed to Humility@slu.edu.
We invite proposals for research on the following topics. The key questions listed within these topics are meant to be illustrative.
The Nature and Value of Intellectual Humility and Related Virtues. What is the nature and value of intellectual humility, and what is its relation to other virtues and to vices, intellectual and moral. What is the nature and value of related intellectual virtues and vices, such as open-mindedness, firmness, courage, honesty, focus, perseverance, intellectual vanity, arrogance, pretentiousness, laziness etc.? What is it about intellectual humility that makes it a virtue? What are some necessary conditions on its possession? Sufficient conditions? Is intellectual humility relatively robust, e.g., does it persist through many (if not most) changes of context?
Virtue Epistemology. How is the virtue of intellectual humility related to the ethics of belief and inquiry? Is intellectual humility required for knowledge? Is it required for "higher" epistemic goods, such as understanding, wisdom, or intellectual flourishing? Is it required to extend knowledge to some special domains, such as the moral or religious? Does intellectual humility make one a better scientist, or theologian, or philosopher? Might intellectual humility make one a worse scientist, or theologian, or philosopher?
Regulative Epistemology. What kinds of institutions and practices promote or undermine intellectual humility and related virtues and vices? What practices and habits might individuals adopt in order to promote intellectual humility and related virtues?
Peer Disagreement. What is the rational response when one finds oneself disagreeing with people who seem to be equally intelligent and well informed? At first glance, intellectual humility might seem incompatible with "sticking to your guns." Is that right, or is intellectual humility in fact consistent with holding fast to one's position in the context of disagreement? More generally, what is the relationship between intellectual humility and rational opinion on contentious or unclear matters?
Intellectual Humility, Intellectual Autonomy, and Deference to Authority. What is the relationship between intellectual humility, appropriate deference, and intellectual autonomy? What is the appropriate response to disagreement with experts? Is deference to experts required in all circumstances, on all topics? What is the appropriate response to disagreement among experts? Does intellectual humility require deference to religious authority, such as teaching magisteria, sacred tradition, or holy scriptures?
Religious Pluralism. What is the epistemic significance of religious pluralism and the fact of religious disagreement more generally? Does the fact of religious disagreement undermine the rationality of religious belief? What does intellectual humility require in the face of conflicting religious traditions? What role might intellectual humility have in addressing or even resolving religious disagreement?
Divine Hiddenness. Does intellectual humility preclude certain responses to the problem of divine hiddenness? For example, is it inconsistent with humility to attribute intellectual or spiritual defects to those who do not believe in God? What alternative responses to the problem of divine hiddenness are available? Does the fact of divine hiddenness require the religious believer to moderate her own commitments?
Intellectual Humility and Theological Method. How do considerations around intellectual humility impact debates about theological method? Do considerations of intellectual humility provide support for revisionary theological methods such as non-foundationalism or negative theology? Can more traditional theological methods be practiced in an intellectually humble way? Is doctrinal certitude compatible with intellectual humility?
Biases, Heuristics, Dual-Process Theories, and Evolution. Do the results of evolutionary psychology reveal that human cognition is significantly irrational? How might intellectually humility and related virtues counteract biasing effects discovered by cognitive science? What are the relevant implications of dual-process theories, the role of heuristics in human cognition, and related research in the cognitive sciences.
Intersubjectivity and Mind-reading. Certain neurological systems seem designed for intersubjectivity and mind-reading. Insofar as these systems and capacities provide a basis for seeing another person as "like me", do they make a contribution to one kind of intellectual humility? These same systems also generate empathy. What role does empathy play in intellectual humility? In what way is intersubjectivity helpful or essential to intellectual humility?
Letters of Intent are due by September 13, 2013. Invitation of full proposals will be made by October 25, 2013, with full proposals due on January 22, 2014. Final award decisions will be issued by March 17, 2014 for research to begin no later than June 1, 2014.
Applicants are required to submit:
Application materials should be submitted by e-mail attachment, if possible, to Humility@slu.edu. The words "Intellectual Humility Project" should appear in the e-mail subject line. The only acceptable file formats are .doc and PDF. Questions about the application process can be sent to the same address. All LOI materials must be received no later than September 13th 2013. An acknowledgement email will be sent within seven days of receiving the materials. If you do not receive such an acknowledgement please write again to Humility@slu.edu.
Those applicants invited to submit full proposals must include:
CVs submitted at the LOI stage do not need to be resubmitted. Full proposals should be submitted by e-mail attachment, if possible, to Humility@slu.edu. The words "Intellectual Humility Project" should appear in the e-mail subject line. The only acceptable file formats are .doc and PDF. Questions about full proposals can be sent to the same address. Full proposals shall be evaluated by the project directors and the project ambassadors.
Full proposals will be accepted only from applicants who have been invited to submit by the fellowship directors on the basis of the LOI phase. Full proposals must be received no later than January 22nd 2014. An acknowledgement email will be sent within seven days of receiving the materials. If you do not receive such an acknowledgement please write again to Humility@slu.edu.
The PI must have a Ph.D. and be in or contracted to a faculty position at an accredited college or university before December 2013 (exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis). In addition to applicants from the US, scholars from foreign countries are welcome to apply. Applicants can only have their name on one proposal for this competition (whether as a PI or a team member), and cannot have been funded as a PI in the Science of Intellectual Humility RFP hosted at Fuller Theological Seminary.
In addition, some preference will be given to scholars less than 10 years away from having received their PhD. All applications must be submitted in English and all payments will be made in US dollars.
Projects that have a focus on the history of philosophy or theology are not eligible for this RFP.
The PI of a funded project must commit to the following:
All questions concerning this RFP should be directed by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
or by regular mail to:
The Intellectual Humility Project
Department of Philosophy
Saint Louis University
3800 Lindell Blvd. Suite 130
St. Louis, MO 63108