Below is a short overview of the research projects that the Chair of History of Philosophy is involved with – these topics are opportunities to offer students hands-on research experience and supervision.
1. Determining religious disagreements. Religious disagreements are common and often embody exclusivist views. Questions about truth and objectivity can be seen as transcendental and unanswerable. In philosophy of religion, these issues transform into questions about the rationality of particular religious beliefs, which – to some extent – can be defended or opposed by means of philosophical argument. We assess the rationality of religious beliefs by analysis of historical case studies, especially by looking at religious disagreements in Early Modern metaphysics. The aim is to determine whether philosophical analysis of religious doctrines can provide a rationale for religious beliefs and in turn contribute to solving religious disagreements, which can then be seen as genuine disagreements.
2. Resolving peer disagreements. In contemporary epistemology revisionists claim that one should withhold judgment when peer disagreement occurs (i.e. disagreement with someone with roughly the same evidence and the same intellectual abilities). The non-revisionists argue that one has no such obligation. We will offer a historical perspective on this currently hotly debated topic. We analyze arguments by Ancient sceptics for their revisionist position and show that they are relevant for the contemporary discussion of peer disagreement. An important premise for the sceptics’ revisionist argument is the principle according to which one has the epistemic duty to treat one’s beliefs impartially. Contemporary non-revisionists tend to deny this principle of impartiality, e.g. by invoking the notion of “intellectual self-trust”.
Conceptions of the Soul and Immortality in the British Thought from 1640 to 1740.
The project is concerned with the conceptions of human soul put forward by British thinkers in the period of 1640-1740. In particular, it proposes to study their philosophical-theological accounts of the soul in its post-mortal states. Modern scholarly literature on the Early Modern conceptions of the soul focuses mainly on the soul in its present, embodied state. In this way, the modern scholarship tends to ignore an important aspect of their views, for Early Modern philosophers were equally interested in soul’s immortality and afterlife. They produced numerous accounts of the separate/intermediate as well as final state of the soul. No systematic research has been done on these accounts to be found in the works of British thinkers. The project aims to expound, compare and analyze the views and arguments concerning the future states of souls in their textual and intellectual context.