Professor Yuval Avnur Awarded Grant From the Immortality Project at UC Riverside

Posted: November 14, 2014

Yuval Avnur, Scripps College associate professor of philosophy, has been awarded nearly $100,000 by The Immortality Project at University of California, Riverside, as part of a multi-year effort to examine the social, ethical, and scientific ramifications of immortality.

Avnur is one of 24 philosophers to receive the grant on July 1. Their work, to be presented at a Capstone Conference in June 2015, will conclude three years of research sponsored by a $5 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation “to undertake a rigorous examination of a wide range of issues related to immortality.”

“In their haste to be ‘skeptical’ about the afterlife, naysayers often end up making extravagant assumptions, offering dogma masquerading as doubt,” Avnur says. “I’m interested in challenging this, not because I’m a ‘yay-sayer’ which I’m not, but because I think there’s as much reason to doubt those assumptions as any relevant others.”

Avnur will conduct an analysis of the justification human beings acquire throughout their lives that form a set of beliefs about an afterlife. He plans to write three essays concerning the limits of rational inquiry pertaining to the afterlife with the goal of incorporating this material into a book on skepticism and doubt in general.

While Avnur will focus solely on his writing during the academic year, he remains in residence and will serve as the director of the Humanities Institute during the spring semester.

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