How can we keep our minds open to new and controversial ideas? This question demands a wide range of perspectives and interdisciplinary engagement. Our project tackles the question by supporting intensive collaborations among philosophers and scientists and opening the
conversation about humility to new researchers.
Intellectual humility is typically thought of as a stable disposition of persons, and this important epistemic virtue has received significant attention from philosophers and psychologists in recent years. But, crucially, researchers must also examine the activities and processes that support humble thinking in particular situations, in contrast to stable dispositions. Our project will establish a research paradigm, allowing scholars from multiple fields to join forces in studying humility.
In year one, a seminar at USC and online will focus on what we call “humility in inquiry,” an open-minded consideration of new and controversial ideas. Thinking of humility in this way (as a cognitive state supported by activities and processes) invites ideas and perspectives overlooked by recent research. The year-long seminar will map the terrain of humility in inquiry, orienting researchers toward the same phenomenon.
In years two and three, scholars will produce a co-edited collection to advance work in this new area, while multidisciplinary sub-award teams undertake timely work on the application of humility-promoting epistemic principles, the role of humility in science, and mindsets that enable humble cognition. Also in years two and three, summer seminars will introduce junior scholars to cutting-edge research, and a major philosophy conference will feature new work at the interface of philosophy and the sciences, followed by a special double issue of a leading philosophy journal (Canadian Journal of Philosophy).