Jean Grondin

Gold Medal Winner

Jean Grondin

Department of Philosophy
Université de Montréal

"SSHRC is the lifeblood of all social sciences and humanities researchers in Canada. It makes our research possible, and adds to its credibility and impact. I do not know what we would do without it.
Its support helps fund, firstly, concrete research, scientific gatherings, travel and the meeting of ideas, which are often more important in our field than data alone. Just as importantly, SSHRC supports the work of the next generation associated with our projects, who embody the ‘current future’ of research; countless emerging researchers have benefitted from SSHRC’s financial and spiritual support—support that is helping them become successful researchers. Finally, SSHRC support is invaluable, both intellectually and motivationally, since knowing you are supported like this is, in itself, encouraging and a key driver for research and of our quest for new ideas (a quest that is always a bit unsure of itself and its ‘results’).
SSHRC helps us discover that our research has meaning and impact. Those working in the social sciences and humanities are interested in humans and their sensory experiences—and we all know there is a lot of non-sense out there."


Jean Grondin is a professor in the Université de Montréal’s Department of Philosophy, and president of the Royal Society of Canada’s Academy of the Arts and Humanities. The exceptional quality and clarity of his work have played a significant role in furthering knowledge of philosophy, and have drawn the attention of today’s most illustrious thinkers, as well as international media.

A prominent figure in modern philosophy, he is a distinguished expert in three areas he has revitalized: German philosophy, metaphysics and hermeneutics (the art of interpretation). Grondin is one of Canada’s most remarkable philosophers, and one of the world’s most read. He has written over 20 prestigiously published books. Translated into some 15 languages, they include the very first biography of philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer, penned in German; three Que sais-je? books; an Introduction to Metaphysics, and passionate essays on the meaning of life. He has also translated five books from German to French. His philosophy of meaning emphasizes the human mind’s capacity for understanding, initiative and hope.

Since 1984, Grondin has consistently received SSHRC funding, recently being awarded an Insight Grant (2017-22) for his current, highly original research seeking to preserve the legacy of metaphysical thinking on which our civilization is based. He aims to offer a new take on hermeneutics and metaphysics, one that seeks to show how all humanities and social sciences are rooted in the metaphysical. Essentially, he tries to understand what makes up human dignity, and what it takes to make life worth living.

Grondin’s writings have earned him several of the social sciences’ highest honours, including officer of the Ordre national du Québec in 2016; the Canada Council for the Arts’ Molson Prize in 2014, officer of the Order of Canada in 2012, the Acfas André-Laurendeau prize and Killam Prize in 2012, Québec’s Léon-Gérin prize in 2011, and the Konrad Adenauer Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 2010. He also held the Étienne Gilson Chair in metaphysics in Paris in 2012-13, and has been awarded three honorary doctorates.

An outstanding teacher and mentor, he has supervised over 60 master’s theses and about 20 doctoral dissertations. He has been a guest professor in several countries dear to his heart, such as El Salvador, Haiti, Belarus, Venezuela and Argentina. He was a founding member of the Canadian Society for Hermeneutics and Postmodern Thought in 1985, the Société francophone de philosophie de la religion in 2011, and the Société canadienne de philosophie de la religion in 2018. Member of a scientific committee that has published some 30 scholarly publications, Grondin is a sought-after speaker for major conferences and general-interest lectures alike. He has helped make philosophy highly visible through his many introductory philosophy works, his articles for general audiences, and 80 media interviews.

Through these achievements, and in his engagement in support of the humanities and social sciences and philosophy, Grondin has greatly contributed to his field’s stature, and has proven his deep commitment to sharing knowledge with the public.

About the award

The annual Impact Awards recognize the highest achievements in SSHRC-funded research, knowledge mobilization and scholarship, as well as the highest achievements resulting from a SSHRC fellowship awarded.

SSHRC’s highest honour, the prestigious Gold Medal is given to individuals whose sustained leadership, dedication and originality of thought have inspired students and colleagues alike.