The Philosophy Institute promotes interdisciplinary research among Universidad Austral’s faculty. The goal of Institute’s research projects is to probe into the ontological, epistemological, anthropological and ethical foundations of the disciplines nurtured at our University. They fall into one of seven broad areas:

1. Philosophical foundations of the natural sciences

Scientific theories put forward foundational problems related to interpretation and inter-theoretical articulation issues. These are oftentimes ontological problems, which go about ignored in the daily practice of the sciences. Hence, the surge of new philosophical subdisciplines -e.g. philosophy of physics, philosophy of biology, etc.- to deal with such specific questions.

Current research projects:

Inter-theoretical relations between quantum mechanics and other theoretical domains
Project Leader: Olimpia I. Lombardi

 

2. Philosophy of the person

Different philosophical schools and methods have contributed to our overall knowledge of the person, with fruitful analysis of human embodiment, subjectivity, interiority, relationality and openness to the transcendent. At the same time, the development of the cognitive sciences also stimulates today philosophical reflection to explore the ontological foundations of the person.

Current research projects:

Philosophical and psychological study of the irreplaceability of persons
Project Leader: Juan F. Franck

 

3. Virtues and character

Psychology and education are considering again the study of character strength as a means to understanding persons and their potential development. Today it is generally admitted that many virtues -e.g. compassion, generosity, honesty, loyalty, justice- are necessary for social interaction. In this scenario philosophical knowledge and scientific expertise are closely intertwined.

Current research projects:

“Hero” and “Little Hero”. Two technological application to Foster prosocial behavior in adolescents and children
Project Leader: Belén Mesurado

 

4. Philosophy of religion

Philosophy of religion studies issues concerning the existence and nature of the divine, its relation to the human being and the natural world, the nature of religion and its place in human life, among many others. Although different philosophical traditions approach these topics in various ways, the sciences also contribute to the discussion.

Current research projects:

The ontological argument for the existence of God
Project Leader: Ignacio Garay

 

5. Epistemology of interdisciplinary research

Interdisciplinary research raises new challenges for the philosophy of knowledge and in general for the cognitive sciences. In order to reverse the excess of specialization and to make room for the cross-enrichment of disciplines it seems necessary to migrate from the current epistemic plurality towards a collaborative project of social cognition that demands specific intellectual virtues.

Current research projects:

Epistemology of interdisciplinary research between philosophy and science
Project Leader: Claudia E. Vanney

 

6. Ethics and technology

Philosophical ethics cannot guide human behavior today without an informed dialogue with the sciences and technology, where mutual respect of methodological differences is in order. It is as necessary to consider the genetic-evolutionary and neural-cognitive dimensions of the process of moral decision making, as it is to assess philosophically the potential technological alteration of the planet and of human biology.

Current research projects:

Transhumanism, ethics and human nature
Project Leader: Mariano Asla

 

7. Cognitive sciences of religion

The cognitive sciences of religion are a research field that applies theories and concepts of the cognitive sciences to explain religious thought and behavior. As a field of interdisciplinary research it includes reflections and studies coming from anthropology, psychology, philosophy, sciences of religion and theology.

Current research projects:

Children’s discernment of the capacity for prior knowledge in human and non-human agents
Postdoctoral fellow: Emilia Oñate