The University of California, Riverside has announced a three-year, $5 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation to fund research by philosophy professor John Martin Fischer on the many different aspects of immortality.
The largest grant ever awarded to a humanities professor at UC Riverside will be used to launch the Immortality Project, which will take a comprehensive and sustained look at the subject that brings together science, theology, and philosophy. In addition to Fischer's research, the grant will underwrite two conferences — one in year two of the project and the other at the end of the grant period — and a Web site.
Fischer and his team expect to begin soliciting research proposals from leading scientists, philosophers, and theologians, with the aim of promoting collaboration across fields and disciplines. At the conclusion of the project, Fischer will publish an analysis of the research findings in book form.
"Many people and religions hold there is an afterlife, and that often gives people consolation when faced with death," said Fischer. "We hope to bring to the general public a greater awareness of some of the complexities involved in simple beliefs about heaven, hell, and reincarnation, and encourage people to better understand and evaluate their own beliefs about an afterlife and the role of those beliefs in their lives."