Our project seeks to assess to what extent training and practice in different philosophical traditions enhance the key epistemic virtues of intellectual humility and wisdom, their basis in cognitive capacities, and associated traits and virtues, like curiosity and reflectiveness.
This grant will develop a set of empirical studies to examine this question in a cross-cultural manner. We will consider philosophical traditions from Buddhist, Confucian, Christian, and analytic philosophy. We will develop longitudinal studies and experiments to examine how engagement with these four traditions, in four different cultural contexts (India, Taiwan, UK, and USA), influences the development of four key epistemic virtues and related traits, focusing on wisdom, intellectual humility, reflectiveness, and intellectual curiosity. To facilitate these studies, we will assess the psychometric properties of candidate measures of these virtues in a cross-cultural context, develop in detail hypotheses about the mechanisms through which education in the different traditions influences the different virtues, and build an international network of collaborators to subsequently conduct the empirical studies in India, Taiwan, USA, and the UK.
This grant will result in a large grant application (August 2025) and 2 journal articles. It will facilitate the first empirical investigation of philosophy’s benefit to epistemic virtues.
A clear demonstration of philosophy’s contribution to the development of epistemic virtues, in the diversity of its traditions, would promote reflection on the functions and value of philosophical education, and help justify the regularly threatened place of philosophy in undergraduate education. A full-throated defense of the significance of a philosophical education in all its shades might be the ultimate outcome of our project.