Humanities and Social Sciences

The Mind & Life Institute, for the past several decades, has been exploring productive interfaces between contemplative practice and theory (especially Buddhism) and the sciences, especially (but not exclusively) the neurosciences.

We believe that the time has come for Mind and Life to both sharpen and broaden its analytic and empirical work by inviting scholars from the humanities and the social sciences to help shape its agenda in the decades to come. Over the next several years, we would like to begin creating new funding and other opportunities targeted, not just to scientists with interests in contemplative practice and theory (as we do now), but to philosophers, anthropologists, sociologists, ethnic and gender studies scholars, historians of science and historians of religion.

Over time, we would like to find ways to bring the work of the best of these kinds of scholars into sustained critical and constructive dialogue with the work of contemplative practitioners and scientists. For this purpose we have reached out to a pool of influential people working in the Humanities and asked them about the best way to achieve this goal.

More specifically, we have placed following questions in front of them:

  • If Mind and Life were to be successful in winning a significant grant to develop a new initiative based in the humanities, how best, in your view, should the funds in the first instance be spent?
  • What kinds of programs should be developed first?
  • What are the disciplines most likely to interface productively with Mind and Life’s current work?
  • What are the questions that are most likely to prove fruitful and that matter most?
  • What are the likely greatest impediments to our efforts to broaden and deepen our agenda in this way?

Over the next few years we hope to be able to raise sufficient money in order to accommodate and implement the answers and suggestions we received to these questions.

More information will be posted once we have developed a clear strategy and program.