2004 - 2006: University of Southern California
Creativity: An Inquiry into the Nature of Innovation in the Science, Art,
Philosophy, and Religion
Upcoming Lectures and Activities
• Year 1 Theme
• Year 2 Theme
• Year 3 Theme
• Year 4 Theme
Organizing Committee/Working Group
USC’s multi-disciplinary Organizing Committee proposes to develop a vigorous
dialog and engender top-quality research on creativity and modes of inquiry
in the physical and biological sciences, the humanities, philosophy, and religion.
We plan to establish a forum for exploring the core similarities and the core
differences in the ways of thinking about thinking in each of the various areas.
Of fundamental importance is how, where, and why the modes of inquiry differ
and to what extent the modes prevalent in certain discipline areas can be effectively
used in others. Lecture series by our annual Templeton Fellows will be complemented
by lectures and panel discussions involving members of the Interdisciplinary
Committee. This will be a cumulative program designed to uncover new territory
in a systematic manner with an urgency to apply the knowledge gained to the
improvement of individuals as well as the improvement of creativity in institutions.
We have crafted a four year program designed to foster faculty interactions
and to lead to the publication of at least 5 volumes - three single author works
written by the Templeton Fellows on the basis of their USC lectures, two edited
volumes presenting the interactions of the Interdisciplinary Committee, the
guest lecturers, and all the faculty participants, and a concluding volume written
by Michael Arbib of USC updating his 1983 Gifford Lectures with Mary Hesse in
light of the themes that are developed in the course of this project.
Starting in the first year with a historical perspective on the different modes
of inquiry and creativity used in the various areas, we move in the second year
to an exploration of the constraints and privileges imposed by the human brain
on our modes of thought, on our intuitions, on our inspirations, and on our
revelations, through lectures on psycho-neurobiology. From here we progress
to the interaction of minds, brains, technology, and the physical and social
environment. The third year of lectures focuses on modes of inquiry and creativity
at multiple scales of human aggregation from the individual, to small groups,
to institutions. We feel an urgency to apply the knowledge gained to explore
ways of organizing an institution, like a university, to enhance creativity
through the judicious harnessing of the diverse modes of inquiry prevalent among
its constituent discipline areas; this too will be considered in year three.
The fourth and final year deals with a retrospective analysis of where we have
been, the new territory explored, and lessons learned and unlearned. Here again
we plan to apply these lessons and the benefit of our hindsight to the development
of strategies for creating paradigm shifts in the four disciplines, given their
present state of historical development. In the fourth year, an International
Workshop is planned on the topic of this proposal that will serve to disseminate
our findings in an international forum and encourage scientists, artists, philosophers,
and theologians to engage on a worldwide basis.
Lectures and Activities
Note: The University of Southern California was awarded
its grant for the Templeton Research Lectures on April 1, 2004. Stay tuned for
updates as the organizing committee prepares the program for the Templeton Research
The organizing theme throughout the three years will be concerned with the various
modes of inquiry and creativity in the sciences, arts, philosophy and religion.
We will explore the possibility of achieving greater concordance in our collective
theorizing and identifying the extent to which the modes that are prevalent
in certain discipline areas can be effectively used in others.
Theme for Year 1: Understanding and Comparing
Systems of Inquiry, Inspiration, and Revelation
- The historic evolution of the different modes of inquiry in the sciences,
philosophy, religion and the arts. This will provide a historical perspective
on why it is that we have such a gulf at present in these modes and why even
the meanings of words are so widely different among the disciplines as to
make cross-talk between them often unintelligible.
- The spiritual evolution of the human being and society, in general, that leads
to the establishment of personal truths, and how they may differ from communally
accepted truths in each of the disciplines; modes of inspiration and revelation.
- The certainty of the unknown, and possibly the random, which leads various
disciplines to develop methods and standards for discovering, and defining
- Intuitive and aesthetic modes of inquiry and how they may play a role in
the physical and biological sciences.
Theme for Year 2: Psycho-neurobiological basis
of inquiring systems; inspiration, revelation, intuition, and aesthetics
- The effect of various modes of inquiry on the extent and nature of creativity;
paradigms for understanding creativity; how creativity is perceived, acknowledged,
and instigated in various disciplines. The interaction of creative behavior
with intuitive, aesthetic, and revelatory modes of inquiry.
- Interactions of mind, brains, technology, and physical/social environments;
investigations into the psycho-neurobiological bases of inquiry and belief systems;
the distinction between ‘truth’ and ‘value’ from the
point of view of the accomplishment of tasks (along with their cost-benefit
analyses) within the connected social community of humans.
- The effect and influence of validation, through community consensus, of the
prevalent modes of inquiry, and the punitive measures taken in each discipline
(area) for divergence from the accepted norms of inquiry; the cultural aspects
of various modes of inquiry.
- The standards for what constitutes a ‘proof’ of a hypothesis
in each of the disciplines; whether the Popperian principle, often used in science,
is useful/useable in other areas like the arts and humanities.
Theme for Year 3: Modes of inquiry that foster
creativity, internal peace, tolerance, and happiness at multiple scales of social
- What modes of inquiry perhaps best foster creativity, internal peace, tolerance,
happiness in individuals, institutions, and society; whether different modes
may be called for at each level of human aggregation.
- How an institution, like a university, might be better organized to enhance
creativity thorough a judicious harnessing of the diverse modes of inquiry prevalent
among its constituent discipline areas.
- Engendering creativity in more general work and institutional settings; evaluating
thelearning from the mind-sets of organizations known to have strong track records
in creativity, such as the Santa Fe Institute?
- Considering the strengths and problem areas associated with our particular
approach to the investigation of science, philosophy, arts, and religion?
Theme for Year 4: Strategies for Changing
Paradigms for Inquiry and Creativity in the Sciences, Arts, Philosophy, and
- A retrospective look at the sciences-philosophy-arts-religion debate from
the vantage point of all the knowledge gained in the previous three years.
- Development of strategies for change and renewal of inquiry in the various
disciplines with special emphasis on their present state of historical development.
- The organization of an International Workshop on the subject of this proposal.
Donald E. Miller (Co-Principal Investigator)
Donald Miller is the Executive Director of the Center for Religion and Civic
Culture at USC as well as a professor of religion and sociology. He is a third
generation native of Southern California and has been teaching courses in
the sociology of religion at USC since 1975. He is the author/editor of seven
books, including Armenia: Portraits of Survival and Hope (University
of California Press, forthcoming in 2003), GenX Religion (Routledge,
2000), Reinventing American Protestantism (University of California
Press, 1997), Survivors: An Oral History of the Armenian Genocide
(University of California Press, 1993), Homeless Families: The Struggle
for Dignity (University of Illinois Press, 1993), Writing and Research
in Religious Studies (Prentice Hall, 1992), and The Case for Liberal
Christianity (Harper & Row, 1981). He has had major grants from the
Lilly Endowment, The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Ford Foundation, The James
Irvine Foundation, Haynes Foundation, the California Council for the Humanities,
and Fieldstead Company. He is currently writing a book on global Pentecostalism,
based on interviews and observations in twenty developing countries (to be
published by the University of California Press).
Firdaus Udwadia (Co-Principal Investigator)
Firdaus Udwadia is Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Southern
California where he has served in this capacity since 1983. He also holds
joint appointments at USC with the Marshall School of Business, and the College
of Letters, Arts and Sciences. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Civil Engineering
from the California Institute of Technology, and his B.S. in Civil Engineering
from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. Professor Udwadia’s
research areas include: Applied Mechanics and Analytical Dynamics with particular
emphasis on motion of constrained structure / mechanical systems, variational
methods and optimal control and nonlinear dynamical systems and control; Structural
Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering with emphasis on the characteristics of
strong ground motion; structural response and control; linear and nonlinear
structural analysis and parametric and nonparametric structural identifiction.
Computational Methods with emphasis on iterative methods for large-scale structural
systems; optimization methods and dynamic programming and computation of lyapunov
exponents for NL systems and Collaborative Engineering Design with emphasis
on socio-technical framework for collaborative design; decision analysis and
engineering management and conflict and crisis management. He is currently
editor of the Journal of Aerospace Engineering, ASCE, and
Associate Editor of the Journal of the Franklin Institute, Applied
Mathematics and Computation, Mathematical Problems in Engineering,
the Journal of Optimization Theory and Applications, and Discrete
Dynamics in Nature and Science.
Click on the name of a committee member for biographical information.
University of Southern California-Templeton Research Lectures: http://creativity.usc.edu/
Donald E. Miller, Ph.D.
University of Southern California
Center for Religion and Civic Culture
THH 328K, MC 0355
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0751
Firdaus E. Udwadia, Ph.D.
University of Southern California
Mathematics, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
Olin Hall 430K
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1453