Experience to Evidence: Theory Construction and Confirmation

This seminar offers an in-depth look at the move from experience to evidence in scientific practice, with a view to related substantive and methodological questions in theology and philosophy of religion. In addition to lectures from leading philosophers of science that focus on the process of measurement, the use of models, and theoretical confirmation, participants will join a series of interdisciplinary conversations unpacking how these topics intersect with projects on experience, evidence, confirmation and certainty in theology and philosophy of religion.


Dr. Alisa Bokulich

Alisa Bokulich

Professor of Philosophy; Director, Center for Philosophy & History of Science
Boston University
Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University

Session Speaker
Data Collection and Models

Dr. P. Kyle Stanford

P. Kyle Stanford

Professor, Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science School of Social Sciences
University of California, Irvine

Session Speaker
Inference to the Best Explanation and the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives

Dr. Eran Tal

Eran Tal

Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair
McGill University

Session Speaker
Measurement and Measurement Models

Charity Anderson

Charity Anderson

Associate Professor of Philosophy
Associate Director Baylor Center on Christian Philosophy, ISR (BCCP)
Baylor University

Resident Theologian

Andrew Davison

Andrew Davison

Starbridge Senior Lecturer in Theology and Natural Sciences
University of Cambridge

Resident Theologian

Andrew L. Prevot

Andrew L. Prevot

Associate Professor of Theology
Boston College

Resident Theologian

You’ll also hear from the SET Foundations crew

Jennifer S. Jhun

Jennifer Jhun

Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Duke University

Alan C. Love

Alan C. Love

John M. Dolan Professor of Philosophy, Director of the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science
University of Minnesota

Meghan Page

Meghan D. Page

Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Loyola University Maryland

Dates: May 21-27

Location: San Diego, CA

Additional Details:

  • All participants will receive a $4,000 stipend.
  • Meals and lodging (La Jolla Shores Hotel) will be provided for all in-person participants for the duration of the seminar.
  • Additional funding opportunities of up to $15,000 are available.
  • Participants will receive access to the lectures online prior to the in-person portion of the seminar.

What sort of projects are you interested in?

We are interested in projects in theology and philosophy of religion that intersect with questions about experience, evidence, inference to the best explanation, and confirmation. We hope that potential participants will, in their project description, explain why they think a deeper understanding of scientific practice will enhance their project. Some examples of potential questions are:

  • What counts as evidence for claims in theology and philosophy of religion?
  • How do we understand the content and meaning of theological or religious terms? Do we gather our understanding of these terms from experience?
  • What role do models play in theology? Is doctrine best thought of as a kind of model? Or is it something else?
  • Can experience confirm or infirm theological claims?
  • Are there multiple, distinctive strands of evidence used in theology? What are they?
  • Can scientific evidence be used as support for theological views?

This school will also be useful for theologians and philosophers of religion who desire to engage with concrete scientific findings in their research. We welcome projects that seek a better understanding of scientific practice to enhance their engagement with scientific literature. Some examples of this approach are:

  • Projects that engage concepts of flourishing in psychology and want to clarify how it is measured or modeled
  • Projects that engage theological interpretations of particular scientific models, such as neurological or diagnostic models of mental health conditions

Dependent Care Stipends

We are pleased to be able to offer dependent care stipends. Stipends are available to offset the costs of dependent care to enable the participant to attend the seminar. Stipends will be issued in the amount of $1,000 for those with dependents (children or adult dependents). Funds will be issued to all who meet the criteria below until the year’s funds are exhausted.

  • Be accepted and take part in SET Foundations Summer Seminar 2022
  • Annual household income of less than $171,000 USD
  • Have one or more dependents (children or adult dependents)

How do I Apply?


Applicants will be required to fill out the application form and attach the following documents:

  • CV
  • Project Proposal describing a paper or larger project in theology or philosophy of religion that intersects with scientific explanation (max 1000 words). For further details on the project proposal see here.
  • Writing Sample (example of Academic Work, published or unpublished)
  • References (References do not need to provide letters but should be in a position to speak on the applicant’s behalf and understand the merits of the project. 3 references required.)


Participants will be chosen on the basis of:

  • The quality of their project (significance, relevance, originality, likelihood for completion) 
  • Overall Academic Strength
  • Experience in and propensity for interdisciplinary work
  • Potential for long-term contributions to the project’s aims


Application Deadline:
January 12th, 2022

Notification by: