NYU Philosophy Professor Tim Maudlin is part of a three-year Templeton Foundation grant that will explore basic questions concerning the nature, age, and fate of the universe.
The initiative, funded through a $967,000 grant from the Foundation, aims to establish philosophy of cosmology as a specific, interdisciplinary field of study. Collaborating institutions include Rutgers University, which is heading the effort, Columbia University, Yale University, New York University, and the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Cosmology is the study of the nature of the universe. The philosophy of cosmology concerns philosophical issues arising from cosmology and the relationship between cosmology and science, social sciences, religion, mythology, and other human activities. Among the specific issues the group will explore are the meaning of space and time, whether our universe is unique, how and why the universe came to be, and the role of human beings in it.
The grant encompasses nine scholars: Barry Loewer, Dean Zimmerman, Sheldon Goldstein and Roderich Tumulka of Rutgers; David Albert and Brian Greene of Columbia; Maudlin of NYU; Priya Natarajan of Yale; and Joel Primack of the University of California, Santa Cruz. Loewer, Zimmerman, Albert, and Maudlin are philosophers; Goldstein and Tumulka, mathematicians; Greene, Natarajan, and Primack, physicists.
In addition to supporting the scholars’ research, the grant will support conferences, a public website, and a summer school for graduate students and events for high school students.