A member of the College of Charleston faculty has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Institute Grant.
Christian Coseru, associate professor of philosophy, was awarded $164,585 to stage a two-week “Self-Knowledge in Eastern and Western Philosophies” institute in 2018. Professors Jay Garfield of Smith College and Harvard University, and Evan Thompson of the University of British Columbia will co-direct the institute, which will also involve contributions by 14 distinguished faculty from major universities in the United States, Denmark, Austria, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
The institute will explore how philosophers East and West address problems at the heart of contemporary cross-cultural and cosmopolitan philosophy, an area in which Coseru and the co-directors are internationally prominent.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to explore some of the most fundamental questions at the heart of philosophy of mind East and West with top international scholars in the field,” says Coseru. “Self-knowledge raises a series of difficult questions: What is the object of self-knowledge? Is it a persistent self or subject, a mere focus of experience, or something imaginary? What impact do various forms of mental cultivation have on this subject or sense of self, and on our conceptions of moral agency, responsibility, and decision making? Are we aware of our subjectivity when we are aware of other objects? This institute provides a unique multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural forum for exploring these questions.”
Coseru says the problem of self-knowledge, specifically the problem of how we come to know our own thoughts, form reliable beliefs, and understand our desires, spans a wide range of areas of philosophy, including ethics, moral psychology, metaphysics, the study of consciousness, the phenomenology and philosophy of mind, and freedom of the will. The institute is designed to enable interested participants to draw these research programs together, and to develop curricula in these areas, for mutual benefit.
The National Endowment for Humanities was created in 1965 as an independent federal agency to support research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation.
Featured photo by Reese Moore.