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Experimental Philosophy

Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 1, 2012

“Experimental Philosophy” is a four-week college and university faculty institute for twenty-five participants, exploring experimental philosophy: the attempt to arrive at philosophical judgments by assessing the intuitions of ordinary people (as opposed to professional philosophers) regarding important philosophical questions. Experimental philosophy seeks to illuminate core philosophical questions. It does so by examining the philosophical intuitions of people other than trained academic philosophers, on the grounds that philosophers’ intuitions about such questions are not always congruent with those of non-philosophers. For example, philosophers tend not to think much about cultural diversity when they try to refine philosophical concepts, but evidence suggests that people from different cultures understand the meaning of a term like “knowledge” very differently. Furthermore, there is reason to believe that “philosophers’ intuitions in part reflect” the idiosyncratic training that philosophers receive. This institute explores issues raised by experimental philosophy—a growing subfield that requires skills (such as the ability to conduct experiments) that are not currently part of normal professional training for philosophers. The institute exposes participants to some of the best research in the subfield and enables participants to acquire a basic understanding of experimental techniques and principles. Institute director Shaun Nichols is a University of Arizona philosopher who works in the philosophy of psychology and cognitive science. His co-director, University of Utah philosopher Ron Mallon, works in social philosophy, moral psychology, and the philosophy of cognitive psychology. Assisting them are twelve outside faculty, including Michael Devitt of the City University of New York, a prominent critic of experimental philosophy.   


Dates: July 2-27 (4 weeks)
Grantee Institutions: University of Arizona
Location: Tucson, AZ

About NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers

Each year the NEH’s Division of Education Programs offers teachers opportunities to study a variety of humanities topics in Summer Seminars and Institutes. Each NEH Summer Seminar includes sixteen participants working in collaboration with one or two leading scholars. Participants have access to a major research collection, with time reserved to pursue individual projects.

Amount of Award

NEH Summer Scholars are awarded fixed stipends to help cover travel costs, books and other research expenses, and living expenses. Stipend amounts are based on the length of the NEH Summer Seminar or Institute: $2,100 (2 weeks), $2,700 (3 weeks), $3,300 (4 weeks), $3,900 (5 weeks), or $4,500 (6 weeks).


NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes are designed primarily for teachers of American undergraduate students. Qualified independent scholars and those employed by museums, libraries, historical societies, and other organizations may be eligible to compete provided they can effectively advance the teaching and research goals of the project.

You may request information about as many projects as you like, but you may apply to no more than two NEH Summer Programs (seminars, institutes, or Landmarks workshops) and you may attend only one.

Please note:

Adjunct faculty, community college faculty and first-time participants are encouraged to apply.

Up to two seminar spaces and three institute spaces are reserved for current full-time graduate students in the humanities.

How to Apply

For more information and application instructions, please visit the program website listed above.