An OU academic has been awarded £142,000 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to research “epiphanies” and to write a book exploring the place of such experiences in individuals’ and society's ethical life, thought, and reasoning.
Professor Sophie Grace Chappell, OU Professor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, found that people experience these epiphanies (James Joyce’s term) as direct encounters with value: they are the moments that set the values on which they base the rest of their lives. Such experiences are everywhere in poetry and literature. Yet contemporary philosophy, despite constantly asking these questions, remains oddly resistant to finding a place for epiphanies. The aim of Professor Chappell’s research is to publish a book in which she overcomes this resistance and finds them a place.
During the three-year tenure of this this Fellowship, she will be a Visiting Fellow at the Philosophy Department at the University of St Andrews, and will be travelling widely to disseminate and discuss her research. In September 2017, for example, she will visit the universities of Creighton (Omaha, Nebraska), Chicago, Louvain, and Munich.
Commenting on this award, she said:
“Leverhulme MRFs are extremely prestigious--about two a year are awarded in my discipline, and about 34 across the full range of the arts and humanities. So far as I know, I am the first OU academic ever to win one and this is a great honour for me.
Whether or not we do see it, the truth remains that the world is rich with epiphanies. If we lose the ability to see or to find them that is not an impoverishment of the world, but of us.”
Read more abour Professor Chappell's research