VERMILLION, S.D. – The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded a two-year collaborative research grant to University of South Dakota philosophy professor Joseph Tinguely, Ph.D., to explore the role of money in shaping the human condition. The grant supports a multidisciplinary conference on philosophy and money at USD in summer 2022 with more than 70 invited scholars from across the globe.
Conference speakers are also authors contracted to contribute to the forthcoming “Palgrave Handbook on Philosophy and Money,” edited by Tinguely, who said his interest in money and economics led him to pursue this project.
“I have always been interested economics and what philosophers have to say about it,” he said. “The more I looked into this topic, I realized that there is no organized scholarship. And that’s weird because philosophers will talk about anything.”
According to Tinguely, although the history of philosophy is rich in discussions of money, the topic has been largely neglected in contemporary academic philosophy. This NEH-funded project will bring together leading scholars in the humanities and social sciences to focus on the theoretical foundations that underlie such issues as the morality of renegotiating debt and the politics of inflation.
“The grant allows the opportunity for scholars to sit down with each other and see if there is something to be said about the relationship between philosophy and money in one historical period or one geographical location and another,” he said.
Tinguely said he spent more than a year reaching out to star scholars in their field to contribute to the "Palgrave Handbook on Philosophy and Money" and the conference. “I had hundreds of email conversations with people from around the world, all of whom were supportive and helpful,” he said. “I was very lucky to get high profile, really remarkable scholars.”
It takes interdisciplinary collaboration to determine whether there are discernable and meaningful relationships between a society’s economic modes of social relation and its cultural and intellectual forms of self-understanding, Tinguely explained. Contributors’ disciplines include anthropology, archaeology, classics, economics, history, law, philosophy, political science, religious studies and sociology.
“We know that we couldn’t answer that question within the disciplinary bounds,” he said. “So, if this project works, we will be establishing a different set of working relationships. It’s not clear whether it will work to try to put people from 10 different disciplines together and have them have productive conversations, but there is a possibility that it works and that’s pretty darn exciting.”