I haven’t been successful in my attempt to win a Guggenheim. But I don’t feel it’s my fault; far greater philosophers than I will ever be would have stood no chance of winning. Imagine Kant writing a Guggenheim project proposal for The Critique of Pure Reason. Kant would discuss, in his proposal, the need to respond to powerful skeptical arguments recently advanced by the epistemologist David Hume. There would no doubt be some talk about the metaphysics of causality and a lot of discussion of the reality of space and time.
Judging by the selections of philosophers made by the Guggenheim committee over the past decade, Kant’s proposal would have no chance of success. For example, not one of the thirteen (quite deserving) philosophers selected by the Guggenheim committee over the past 7 years work on topics such as causation, skepticism, the nature of the a priori, or, for that matter, any other central philosophical problem in metaphysics and epistemology. Though one out of the thirteen does work on the problem of intentionality, and two on ethics, the work of the others is clustered in three areas: the history of philosophy (five out of thirteen), philosophy of literature or the arts (four out of the thirteen), and intersections between recent continental philosophy and philosophy of perception (in 2003, when two students of Hubert Dreyfus won the award). It seems the Guggenheim committee has decided that the majority of the topics discussed by Kant in The Critique of Pure Reason, Hume in A Treatise on Human Nature, and Descartes in The Meditations are not worthy of funding.
The Guggenheim Committee has not seen fit to fund any projects
in philosophy of logic, philosophical logic, or philosophy of mathematics in
many years. So a modern day Frege working in the United States would have no chance at all of winning a Guggenheim. However, two philosophers working on historical projects on Frege have won Guggenheim awards in the past eleven years. So, according to the Guggenheim committee, Frege would not be worthy of funding, but historical scholarship on Frege is worth funding...