Image of Professor Gurpreet Rattan

Over $1.2M in SSHRC funding for UTM researchers

Carla DeMarco

Professor Gurpreet Rattan is set to study “The Intellect and its Limits” over the next five years. The Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy is one of seven faculty members at U of T Mississauga awarded Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) funding in the latest Insight Grant (IG) competition held last October 2018.

“My project concerns the intellect,” says Rattan. “I propose an account of the intellect as the faculty of mind concerned with self-understanding, understanding others, and thinking objectively – in a way that does not bias one’s own thinking just because it is one’s own.

“I also explore the necessary, principled, limits of the intellect, which derive from the very idea of trying to attain an objective perspective on the world.”

His account of the intellect also has consequences for longstanding debates in philosophy, including discourses about the nature of truth, the significance of deep and intractable disagreement, and the proper understanding of relativism. With respect to relativism, Rattan argues that “relativism is not about relative truth, but instead marks a boundary of intersubjective understanding, of sense and nonsense, and thus has at its heart the philosophical problem of other minds."

“This project will allow me to build on the work I have done on a thinker’s capacity for critical evaluation of their own and others’ perspectives,” says Rattan. “The large-scale aim of the project is to provide clarity on topics that are both deeply philosophical and of paramount importance in this age of polarization and diminished mutual understanding." 

Along with Rattan, the other six IG recipients at UTM listed as Principal Investigators (PI) include the following:

Department of Management

  • Sonia Kang for her project, “’Whitening’ Names in Academic and Professional Life: Motivations, Consequences, and a Fluency-Based Intervention;”

Department of Philosophy

  • Byeong-Uk Yi for his project, “Semantic Relationism and the Relationist View of Proposition: The Significance of Relational Features of Contents of Language and Thought;”

Department of Psychology

  • Craig Chambers for his project, “Reference and the co-construction of context during real-time language processing;”
  • Elizabeth Johnson for her project “Young children’s acquisition of spatial prepositions;”

Department of Sociology

  • Steve Hoffman for his project “Managing the Unimaginable: Knowledge Production, Prediction, and Anticipatory Technology among Toronto Area Disaster Management Professionals;”
  • Melissa Milkie for her project “Time Together and Apart: Clarifying the Family Time Paradox in Canada and the United States.”

Additionally, the following researchers were awarded SSHRC Insight Development Grants from the February 2019 competition:

Department of Economics

  • Gueorgui Kambourov for his project “Income Dynamics Before, During and After Entrepreneurship: Evidence and Theory;”

Department of Psychology

  • Samuel Ronfard for his project “Do young children verify adult claims or do they acquiesce to what they have been told?”;

Department of Sociology

  • Jennifer Adese for her project “’No one else can speak for us:’ Métis Women’s Political Organizing, 1970s-Present;”
  • Robin Gray for her project “The Repatriation of Song: Ownership, Access and Control of Indigenous Cultural Heritage;”

Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology

UTM’s Vice-Principal, Research, Professor Kent Moore, is delighted to see this generous support of UTM’s social sciences and humanities research community.

“This is a great boost for our faculty members,” says Moore.

“Not only does it help support their individual projects and provides researchers with the resources necessary to pursue activities that are crucial for their work, such as going out into the field or to the archives, but it also allows undergraduate and graduate students excellent training opportunities, which offers unique benefits for their own scholarly experiences.”

SSHRC’s granting programs run annually, and it was announced in July 2019 by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, that this year the Government of Canada was committing over $285 million in funding for over 6,900 researchers and graduate students in the social sciences and humanities across Canada.

“The social sciences and humanities are integral towards building a healthier, stronger and more prosperous Canada,” says Duncan.

“Since taking office, our government has worked hard to put science and research back to their rightful place. Today’s grant recipients will help us make informed decisions about our communities, economy, health and future prosperity.”

For a full list of all SSHRC grant recipients, see SSHRC’s website.