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Moral Formation

Submission Window: Closed

Most people are acutely aware that the values we acknowledge in principle are often not lived out in our daily lives. Hypocrisy and weakness of will (what the Greeks called akrasia) are all too familiar. But what accounts for this "moral gap"—our inability to translate beliefs about what is truly and overridingly moral into consistent action? Some believe that the problem can be remedied by a more vivid or personally relevant grasp of the moral principles we endorse. Others suggest that it is a matter of learning how to muster the will power to translate belief into action.

But more is at stake than just learning how to live by our convictions. When the arrogant act boastfully or the prideful treat others with disdain, it may be that their actions spring from and reflect their deepest convictions. We thus confront the further question of how to develop convictions and dispositions that are intrinsically morally good. The challenge is not just to close the “moral gap” but to realize our fullest potential to love, forgive, show compassion, and be grateful.

The Foundation's 2010 Funding Priority on "Moral Formation" is meant to encourage scholarship, research, and education on these difficult issues of moral character and integrity. It asks applicants to address, in a practical or theoretical way, one or both of the following Big Questions:

  1. 1 What lessons can be learned from the beliefs and values of the world's religions and secular philosophies about the problems of moral ignorance, moral weakness, and hypocrisy?
  2. 2Are some beliefs and values more successful than others in producing resilient moral character?

Budget range and term for individual projects: From $50,000 to $400,000 and for up to two years.

Funding Timeline

We are not currently accepting Online Funding Inquiries for our Core Funding Areas.

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External Grant Competitions

Templeton Science of Prospection Research Awards

Templeton Report