The overarching mission of The Ammonius Foundation is to stimulate renewed appreciation for systematic philosophy, by funding excellent research on foundational themes in traditional metaphysics and philosophical theology.
In the first half of the 20th century, due to the dominance of positivism and ordinary-language philosophy, metaphysics and philosophical theology came to be regarded not merely as peripheral to philosophical reflection, but as largely devoid of any significant content. In contrast to the central and defining role both subjects had played in philosophy from Plato on, philosophy was supposed to content itself with reminding us of the results of natural science and clarifying our concepts.
This narrow and self-limiting understanding of philosophy collapsed in the second half of the 20th century, as it came to seem more and more as the expression of an uncritical scientism. Today, a new generation of metaphysically-oriented thinkers has succeeded in restoring traditional metaphysics and philosophical theology to something very like the central and formative role they once enjoyed in philosophy.
It is to this healthy and promising state of affairs that The Ammonius Foundation brings its own forward-looking vision and financial contributions. The Foundation’s conviction is that systematic metaphysics and philosophical theology are both important in their own right and genuinely foundational to philosophical reflection in all fields of philosophy. Crucial issues pertaining to God and reality as a whole should, and with suitable attention from practicing scholars can, inform the development of a uniquely rich and promising direction for future philosophical and theological thought.
To this end, the Ammonius Foundation materially supports individual scholarly research, writing, and publication on selected core themes in traditional metaphysics and philosophical theology. In this way, the Foundation aims to publicly recognize, and over time inspire, projects that are of exceptional quality and promise.
The Ammonius Foundation is driven by the belief that sober and informed reflection on the nature of God and reality as a whole can and should play a uniquely important role in philosophical inquiry. We recognize, at the same time, that there is considerable pluralism—both substantive and methodological—to be found in contemporary philosophy. The Foundation thus wishes explicitly to state the principled beliefs about God and reality, and about philosophical inquiry, which most strongly animate the basis for its programs. Inevitably one or another of these principles will strike some as unremarkable, and others as more speculative. As an organization committed to the value of mutual understanding and innovative thought, we do not intend the principles to function as any sort of doctrinal statement binding either the Foundation in all its decisions or funded scholars in their research and writing. The principles do however express the framing philosophical commitments of The Ammonius Foundation, and therefore serve as guides in our effort to revive systematic philosophy. (Further information about the role of these guiding principles, and their impact on the funding of research, may be found under FAQ)
The Ammonius Foundation is committed to observing the highest standards of integrity and stewardship in the administration of all its programs.
GUIDING PRINCIPLES OF THE AMMONIUS FOUNDATION
Realism There is an objective reality. Reality exists, and has the properties it does, independently of human beliefs and assertions; beliefs and assertions are true or false depending upon how reality is. (A consequence: it is false that everything is a social or mental construct.)
Intelligibility Reality is intelligible. To every part and every aspect of reality there corresponds a truth; truths are in principle objects of cognitive grasp, and are in practice candidates for explanation. (A consequence: it is false that some of reality is incoherent, or that some of it transcends all possible thought.)
Epistemic Progress There is progress in human understanding. The extent of human knowledge is not static or regressive, but increases as a result of scientific and philosophical inquiry. (A consequence: dogmatic skepticism of the sort found in various “post-modernist” views is false.)
Fallibilism Human knowledge is fallible. Human beings very often cannot rule out the possibility that their best-justified beliefs about reality are false; but the fallibility of belief is consistent with knowledge. (A consequence: it is false that we can claim to know things only if we are certain about them.)
Teleology There is objective teleology in the world.. The nature of dependent particulars is such that some have purposes or “proper ends”, which are not reducible to any efficient-causal facts. (A consequence: it is false that all explanation is efficient causal explanation.)
Monism There is one and only one ontologically independent particular. Of the many particulars that make up reality, there is just one that depends upon absolutely nothing for its existence, and since nothing else would exist unless this unique particular did, it is not unreasonably called ‘God.’ (A consequence: it is false that any “Godless” account of reality can be complete.)
Personhood There is both will and intellect in the unique ontologically independent particular. Since personhood is the highest status we find exemplified in the dependent particulars around us, it is not unreasonable to take its defining features to be present in the highest degree in God. (A consequence: it is false that God is identical with nature or any such impersonal array of forces.)