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Grant number like: FEL-267436-20

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Eric Hayot
Penn State (University Park, PA 16802-1503)

Research Programs

[Grant products]

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2020 – 6/30/2021

An Inquiry into Humanist Reason

Completion of a book on the philosophical history of the divide between humanities, social sciences, and science, and the future of humanistic thought.

This project first describes, and then revises, our understanding of how scholars in the humanities think -- how they use evidence, how they argue, how they come to the truth. It begins with an exploration of the philosophical roots of humanist epistemology in the formation of the modern, tripartite university (characterized by the division into the sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences). It continues through an exploration of the Kantian roots of that philosophy, and closes with "articles of reason:" a list of principles that most humanists today believe in and practice in their scholarship and teaching. Against caricatures of the humanities as ideologically motivated, or even well-meaning descriptions of humanist work as subjectively oriented toward the individual or the unique, this project makes the case for the humanities as reason, as a critical social form of thinking and argument that is, like every other such form, supported (and changed) by the evidence it makes.