The Substance of Consciousness
May 23, 2023
November 21, 2019
We are pleased to announce that Brandon Rickabaugh (first-place) and Hayden Stephen (second-place) are recipients of the 2019 EPS Graduate Student Award! First ($500) and second-place ($250) prizes are for submitting best papers. Each will have the opportunity to present their paper at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Philosophical Society (Manchester Grand Hyatt, San Diego, California).
Paul Gould, Vice President of the EPS, said competition was “really competitive with lots of excellent papers.” All EPS members who are graduate students (doctoral candidates, masters students) are very much encouraged to submit their best papers for next year’s Graduate Student Paper Award. Next year’s EPS will be in Providence, Rhode Island (November 17th-19th). Become an EPS Member (includes print subscription to Philosophia Christi) by signing up here.
This is the third year for the EPS Graduate Student Paper Award. Past award recipients include Stephanie Nordby (2018) and Brandon Rickabaugh (2017).
Here is more information about Hayden and Brandon, their 2019 papers, along with their presentation times at the EPS conference:
Brandon Rickabaugh, “Consciousness and Cosmic Fine-Tuning: A Critique of the New Naturalist Hypothesis.”
Presentation: November 21, 3:50-4:30 pm; Room: Cove (third floor)
I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of Philosophy at Baylor University, the Franz Brentano Metaphysics of Mind Fellow at the Cultura Project, and a former fellow of the SCP’s Fellowship for Science Cross-Training (neuroscience). I love teaching and see my scholarship as a natural means of collecting and clarifying my thoughts to effectively serve my students. In addition to teaching in Baylor’s philosophy department, I’ve also taught philosophy at Biola University, and Azusa Pacific University. I am working on my dissertation, The Structure of Conscious Beings: Discoveries from the Unity of Consciousness. My work focuses on the nature of consciousness and how it informs our understanding of human nature, though, and psychology. I also have interests in the philosophy of religion, the philosophy of neuroscience, and the philosophy of mental health.
Abstract: The contemporary debate over fine-tuning has been a rivalry between two accounts: fine-tuning has its origin in either mind (theism) or non-mind (atheism). This is no longer so. Philip Goff (2019) recently argued that fine-tuning is the product of a naturalistic cosmic mind. According to Goff, at least one form of cosmopsychism explains cosmological fine-tuning in a way that is more parsimonious and less problematic than either theism or the multiverse hypothesis. Goff proposes what he calls agentive cosmopsychism: cosmic fine-tuning is best accounted for by a universe that possesses a basic form of consciousness such that it can fine-tune itself. Given the growing popularity of cosmopsychism and panpsychism in the philosophy of mind, this new naturalist account of fine-tuning warrants a reply. I offer several objections Goff’s case for agentive cosmopsychism as the best explanation of fine-tuning. Moreover, I argue that agentive cosmopsychism yields the false prediction that subjects of consciousness like you and me should not exist. The result, I argue, is that agentive cosmopsychism cannot offer a better explanation of fine-tuning than theism.
Hayden Stephen “Divine Omnispatiality, the Problem of Spatial Intrinsics, and Shapes.”
Presentation: November 21, 5:30-6:10 pm; Room: Pier (third floor)
I am currently a doctoral student at Saint Louis University. My academic interests include analytic metaphysics, ethics, philosophy of religion, and philosophical theology. My dissertation topic is divine omnipresence, which concerns God and the metaphysics of location. I have a side interest in theistic ethics and its relation to theories of the atonement. Check out my recent paper “Is the God of Anselm Unloving?” in Religious Studies, where I defend a conception of divine retributive justice in response to Eleonore Stump’s criticisms of Anselm’s atonement theory. In addition to philosophy, these days I am enjoying learning about computer science and software development.
Abstract: Hud Hudson advances a model of divine omnipresence he calls “ubiquitous entension,” according to which God is wholly located at every subregion of space. But there is a potential problem facing the coherence of ubiquitous entension: the problem of spatial intrinsics, which is often posed against the metaphysical possibility of certain kinds of extended simples and the phenomenon of multi-location. Particularly, if God is wholly located at many different regions, it would seem that he must exemplify many different shapes, which is impossible. I lay out several avenues of response to this problem on behalf of the defender of ubiquitous entension, and I argue for my preferred solution that God, as multiply located, does not exemplify many different shapes intrinsically.
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