The 2022 EPS Graduate Student Award

November 16, 2022
Posted by Joe Gorra

The EPS is very pleased to recognize Thomas Duttweiler’s paper as the recipient of the 2022 EPS Graduate Student Paper Award. A $500 award is given for the paper.

Title: “Seemings, Virtue, and Acquired Contemplation”

Abstract: Sarah Coakley, drawing on the insights of John of the Cross, has recently argued that God may have redemptive moral and epistemic purposes in remaining hidden from people during a “dark night of the soul,” and that experiences of divine hiddenness can be taken as a mode of religious experience. In this paper I explore what sort of epistemic model of religious experience is needed to underwrite Coakley’s argument. I argue that one influential externalist model—that of William Alston—is unsatisfactory, and advance in its place an internalist, phenomenal-conservatist approach bolstered by considerations from responsibilist virtue epistemology. I argue that such an approach can much more satisfactorily accommodate hiddenness experiences and practices than can that of Alston and thus can buttress Coakley’s response to the problem of divine hiddenness.

Today, Thomas presented his paper at the 2022 National Annual EPS conference in Denver, Colorado.

Thomas is currently a PhD student studying philosophy of religion under Ross D. Inman at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. His dissertation is focused on the epistemology of religious experience, and his primary interests include philosophy of religion, epistemology, and ethics.

Before coming to Southeastern, Thomas earned a Master’s of Divinity from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and his Bachelor of Arts, manga cum laude, in English from Clemson University. According to Thomas, “I was saved by the Lord Jesus at Clemson and felt the call to ministry in academia at Southern Seminary. I met my wife of 13 years, Esther, at Clemson, and we have two daughters, Naomi and Eliza. We live in the Charlotte, NC area and are members of Mercy Church.”

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 conference will be in San Antonio, TX (November 14th-16th). Become an EPS Member today (includes print subscription to Philosophia Christi) by signing-up here.