David Marshall Miller awarded grant from National Endowment for the Humanities

David Marshall Miller, assistant professor of philosophy at Iowa State University, received a $63,113 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the agency announced yesterday. The award will support a conference featuring an international group of scholars, which will help set the stage for future study of philosophy of the scientific revolution. The grant award is one of twelve prestigious grants awarded nationally by the NEH for collaborative research.

David Marshall Miller, assistant professor of philosophy at Iowa State University
David Marshall Miller, assistant professor of philosophy at Iowa State University

Experts in the field agree that the study of early modern philosophy has evolved considerably over the last twenty years. However, currently there is a lack of consensus respecting the best methodology for future work in the field. Last year, Cambridge University Press addressed this problem by commissioning Dr. Miller to co-edit “The Cambridge History of Philosophy of the Scientific Revolution,” a collection of original essays by experts from around the world.

The NEH grant will underwrite a meeting of Dr. Miller’s collaborators at Iowa State University next summer, where the volume’s authors will further refine their project and the content of their contributions. Utilizing the irreplaceable value of face-to-face communication, the conference will allow the authors to resolve misperceptions, outdated analyses, and ambiguity. Real-time collaborative presentation and discussion of all the publication contents will clarify methodological questions, synthesize interpretations, identify starting points for additional research and teaching, and help identify problems to explore in future study.

“The result will be a clear and coherent body of shared knowledge and a common point of departure for the next generation of scholars and students,” said Miller.

Miller is also excited about the project’s potential for reinvigorating the humanities’ engagement with science. He notes the common perception of science and humanities as opposites, and hopes the event will amplify the integrated scholarship.

“History and philosophy of science has languished at the margins of the academy, a lamentable result given science’s central place in modernity,” said Miller. “In order to understand and defend science’s importance in today’s society, we must understand its origins in the intellectual life of the early modern period. This project will help scholars investigate that development.”

The conference will take place in the summer of 2018 on the Iowa State campus. Featured authors will present during the event, but additional attendees will be welcome.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Iowa State University is a world-class learning and research community. Iowa State’s most academically diverse college, LAS educates students to become global citizens, providing rigorous academic programs in the sciences, humanities and social sciences within a supportive personalized learning environment.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.