The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.

- Leonardo da Vinci


The Varieties of Understanding project is a three-year initiative based at Fordham University in New York.

Our project examines the various ways in which human beings understand the world, how these types of understanding might be improved, and how they might be combined to produce an integrated understanding of the world.


As part of the 4.5 million dollar project, approximately 2.6 million dollars will be distributed to scholars, including:

  • $1.6 million for work in psychology
  • $715,000 for work in philosophy
  • $315,000 for work in theology and religious studies

Proposals were due November 1st, 2013

Euan Uglow, 'Still Life with Delft Jar,' 1958, Arts Council Collection


"Welcome to the Varieties of Understanding project website. For more information regarding the project please contact us."
                            — Stephen Grimm


Project research will be presented at two conferences and a seminar at Fordham's Lincoln Center campus, and will feature some world-leading scholars and public intellectuals.

Midpoint Conference:
June of 2015

Understanding Seminar:
June of 2016

Capstone Conference:
June of 2016


Project Leader
Stephen Grimm, Fordham University

Psychology Director
Tania Lombrozo, UC-Berkeley

Philosophy Director
Michael Strevens, New York University

Theology Director
Gordon Graham, Princeton Theological Seminary


An interdisciplinary team at the Concepts and Cognition Lab at the University of California, Berkeley are conducting empirical and theoretical research on the nature of human understanding.

Guided by Prof. Tania Lombrozo, the research will involve postdocs in both psychology and philosophy.

Paul Klee, 'One Who Understands,' 1934, Metropolitan Museum of Art


We have also developed a companion website dedicated to the Study of Understanding. This new site compiles scholarly resources for the study of human understanding in psychology, philosophy, theology, and related areas.

Information regarding books, articles, people, and events will be updated regularly.