Two Wesleyan faculty received National Endowment for the Humanities grants on Aug. 9.
Katherine Kuenzli, associate professor of art history, received a $250,000 Scholarly Editions and Translations grant. She and project co-directors Michael André and Kathleen James-Chakraborty will use the funds to prepare a critical edition and translation of a selection of writings by the Belgian artist and essayist Henry van de Velde titled Henry van de Velde: Selected Essays, 1889–1914.
Scholarly Editions and Translations grants support the preparation of editions and translations of pre-existing texts of value to the humanities that are currently inaccessible or available in inadequate editions. Typically, the texts and documents are significant literary, philosophical, and historical materials; but other types of work, such as musical notation, also eligible.
Kuenzli also is working on a monograph titled Henry van de Velde: Designing Modernism. Together with Selected Essays, these projects recover van de Velde’s important role in Neo-Impressionist painting and the German Werkbund, and they demonstrate how ideas of internationalism and the total work of art lie at the heart of modern approaches to museum display, art education, and industrial design.
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Steven Horst, professor of philosophy, attended several conferences on Cognitive Science of Religion during the 2010-11 academic year. In July, he attended a summer workshop on “Cognition, Religion, and Theology” at Oxford University. In August, he attended the International Association for Cognitive Science of Religion, meeting in Toronto. At both conferences, he presented his paper titled, “Whose Intuitions? Which Dualism?”
Horst also presented a paper titled, “What is Unity of Knowledge, and Are We Really Missing Anything Without It?” at the Ian Ramsey Conference held at St. Anne’s College, Oxford, in July.
Book by Steven Horst.
Steven Horst, professor of philosophy, is the author of Laws, Mind and Free Will, published by MIT Press in March 2011. This is his third book.
In Laws, Mind, and Free Will, Horst addresses the apparent dissonance between the picture of the natural world that arises from the sciences and our understanding of ourselves as agents who think and act. If the mind and the world are entirely governed by natural laws, there seems to be no room left for free will to operate. Moreover, although the laws of physical science are clear and verifiable, the sciences of the mind seem to yield only rough generalizations rather than universal laws of nature. Horst argues that these two familiar problems in philosophy—the apparent tension between free will and natural law and the absence of “strict” laws in the sciences of the mind—are artifacts of a particular philosophical thesis about the nature of laws: that laws make claims about how objects actually behave. Horst argues against this Empiricist orthodoxy and proposes an alternative account of laws—an account rooted in a cognitivist approach to philosophy of science.
Horst argues that once we abandon the Empiricist misunderstandings of the nature of laws there is no contrast between “strict” laws and generalizations about the mind (“ceteris paribus” laws, laws hedged by the caveat “other things being equal”), and that a commitment to laws is compatible with a commitment to the existence of free will. Horst’s alternative account, which he calls “cognitive Pluralism,” vindicates the truth of psychological laws and resolves the tension between human freedom and the sciences.
Stephen Horst, professor of philosophy, received a grant for $17,476 from the University of Oxford on Sept. 9. Horst will use the funds for a study titled “Whose Institutions, Whose Dualism.”
Steven Horst, professor of philosophy, received a grant from the John Templeton Foundation on July 9.
The award, worth $55,000, will be applied over five years for his research on “Cognitive Psychology of Religion: Philosophical Implications.”
Horst’s areas of expertise are philosophy of mind, cognitive science, philosophy of psychology and moral psychology.