May 21, 2013
Professor Elizabeth Anderson was awarded an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship. ACLS Fellowships support a faculty member through a year of continuous full-time research and writing.
The criteria used in judging ACLS fellowship applications include the potential of the project to make an original and significant contribution to knowledge, and the scholarly record and career trajectory of the
Research Project: "Moral Epistemology from a Pragmatist Perspective: Case Studies from the History of Abolition and Emancipation."
Project Abstract: I aim to develop a theory of how people can improve their moral beliefs through experiments in living and knowledge-enhancing practices of contention or interpersonal claim-making. I shall develop this theory through case studies in the history of contention over slavery and emancipation, mostly in the U.S., using work in social and moral psychology on cognitive biases and the influence of social situations on value judgments. The result will be a pragmatist, naturalized moral epistemology in the social contract tradition.
Assistant Professor Sarah Moss was named as a Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellow .The program is designed to provide advanced assistant professors and untenured associate professors in the humanities and related social sciences with the time and resources to pursue research under optimal conditions. Ryskamp Fellowships recognize those whose scholarly contributions have advanced their fields and who have well-designed and carefully developed plans for new research.
Research Project: "Epistemology Formalized: A Theory of Degreed Knowledge."
Project Abstract: Traditional epistemology assumes that anything you know must be something that you fully believe. Against this long-standing tradition, this project argues that degreed beliefs can constitute
knowledge, as can other probabilistic mental states. The project begins with a semantics according to which speakers directly communicate degreed beliefs in conversation. This semantics paves the way for novel theories of communication and knowledge in which truth plays a notably insignificant role. The resulting theory of knowledge builds a bridge between the estranged subfields of traditional and formal epistemology. And in broader applications, this theory allows us to recognize that hedged assertions can
have just the same strong epistemic standing as assertions that convey full beliefs.
Associate Professor Eric Swanson was also offered an ACLS Fellowship, the Burkhardt Residential Fellowship, for AY 13–14. He declined the honor in order to spend the year in Ann Arbor.
Congratulations to all!