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SFF-Sentre for fremragende forskn

Centre for the Study of Mind in Nature, CSMN

Alternative title: CSMN Senter for studier av rasjonell, språklig og moralsk handling

Awarded: NOK 98.1 mill.

Project Manager:

Project Number:

179566

Project Period:

2007 - 2017

Funding received from:

Location:

CSMN has since the beginning in 2007 to the end in 2017 had high activity and extensive interaction with a large number of international research environments. The centre?s core group, which long consisted of eight researchers, half local, half international, consisted of 10 researchers, 7 of whom are based in Oslo, by the end of the project period in June 2017. The group in itself constituted an international collaboration. The expansion and strengthening of the group took place locally. In addition to the core group, we employed leading international researchers in Professor II positions (part time researcher positions), most of them women. Other world-leading researchers were affiliated with us in various functions and ways. As for younger researchers, the centre developed into a renowned academic power house. We received excellent applicants from the best universities in the world, especially for our postdoc positions. CSMN has been productive. The researchers at the centre have authored a significant number of books, of which 9-10 have been published at Oxford University Press, some at Cambridge University Press, and one at Harvard University Press. Our researchers have also published a large number of articles in central international journals. One year, we had two articles in Journal of Philosophy, which is still a kind of gold standard. The centre grew steadily, as we participated in an increasing number of research projects with a clear international profile. We arranged several big international conferences, but most events were more moderately sized; intimate and productive. The areas where the centre has given important contributions to the international research front include the understanding of what intentional action is, and the significance of such understanding for making sense of a number of human relationships and action patterns. One such relationship we have studied in-depth is substance addiction, considered as a reduction in freedom. We have also produced important contributions to cognition and the relationship between perception and thought, and concepts that have to do with understanding animals? actions. Furthermore, we have given various contributions to ethics and value theory, to theories of global justice, including gender aspects of such questions, to foundational problems in ethics and meta-ethics, and to historical studies in ethics and value theory. We have made important contributions to philosophy of language and theory of language, to the relationship between semantics and pragmatics, to acquisition of language, to various questions in semantics, and aspects of grammatical theory. We have also made important contributions to philosophical methodology, hereunder the role of intuitions as a type of evidence for a philosophical theory. CSMN has in these ways produced research on a very high level over the full scope of its academic projects and portfolio, in ethics and morality, rationality and cognition, and language and communication. There is reason to highlight the importance of both global justice and action research, and the productivity of the research occurring in the intersection of philosophy of language, pragmatics and communication. In all these areas, there has been, and continues to be, interdisciplinary research of very high quality, and in the communication field, CSMN has been important to three new projects of the Young Research Talent type. In connection with this field and work in philosophical methodology, and in cooperation with the rest of the department, there is now a Toppforsk project (ConceptLab) built around the theme of Conceptual Engineering. This is a collaborative effort between CSMN researchers and others in the department, and underlines the growing integration process, and the possible long-term consequences of CSMN. CSMN has thus decisively contributed to building a strong and vital international philosophy-environment at the University of Oslo. Together with our host department, we have achieved considerable strength.

Vårt hovedmål er å forstå de normative dimensjonene i menneskets mentale liv slik at vi kan se dem som integrerte aspekter av naturen. Forskningstemaene som utgjør kjernen av prosjektet ligger i grenseområdene mellom filosofi og empirisk vitenskap, og vi vil gjøre rede for dem ved å føre sammen forskere fra en rekke vitenskapelige og filosofiske disipliner. Ved CSMN vil vitenskapelige studier av rasjonell, språklig og moralsk handling for første gang bli ført sammen og utviklet på tvers av flere disipliner. Rasjonell handling: Det for tiden dominerende syn er at vi kan gjøre rede for hva begrunnelse for en handling er ved å vise til aktørers oppfatninger og ønsker. (a) Vi ønsker å utvikle et ikke-reduktivt alternativ. Som eksempel tar vi konkurrerende tilnærminger til forståelsen av viljessvakhet. (b) Vi vil utforske kontinuiteter og diskontinuiteter mellom handlingsevnen hos mennesker og hos andre arter. Her fokuserer vi særlig på følelsenes rolle og betydningen, og vil anvende nevropsykologi og kognitiv etologi. (c) Vi vil undersøke følgene av et revidert syn på begrunnet handling for diverse emner innen metafysikk. Lingvistisk handling: Språket er grunnleggende for reflekterende, kritisk tenkning, og for vårt sosiale, politiske og moralske liv. Vi vil fokusere på: (1) menneskets evne til metarepresentasjon (det å tenke på tanker og symboler), som er en nødvendig faktor for kommunikasjon og dannelsen av sosiale normer og konvensjoner, (b) betydningen av kontekst for kommunikasjon, (c) universell gr ammatikk (et sett med regler som bestemmer alle språk som kan læres (av mennesker)) i tilegnelsen av førstespråk. Moralsk handling: Noen av våre begrunnelser for handling er moralske. Vi vil: (a) studere betydningen av sosiale og moralske normer i menneskelig samhandling (i samarbeid med økonomer), (b) ta for oss spørsmål om foredlingsrettferdighet, slik de fremstår både på individnivå og på nivå av politiske institusjoner, og (c) utforske forskjellige fremgangsmåter ved moralsk begrunnelse.

Publications from Cristin

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Funding scheme:

SFF-Sentre for fremragende forskn