The Institute on the Formation of Knowledge opened in the Fall of 2015 at the University of Chicago. It was founded with the mission of uniting scholars from a variety of fields to study the process of knowledge formation and transmittal from antiquity to the present day and, in correlation, to explore how this history shapes the modern world.
The Institute's Faculty and External Faculty Board are committed to investigating all aspects of the processes by which cultures claim to know what they know. Where are the boundaries between knowledge and belief? What techniques do cultures deploy to encode and verify information, and how do technological developments—in forensics and measurement, for example—impinge on these areas? What awareness do societies show regarding what is contingent about their deepest commitments? These questions may be put historically and cross-culturally. They also need urgently to be posed about those who work in notionally rational modern institutions, such as the university and the lab.
The Institute joins these faculty with visiting Fellows at every stage of the career, in the context of the extraordinary resources of the University of Chicago, to question and enrich each other, in conversation about the past, present and future of human knowledge.