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Please Consider Supporting the EPS

I’ve said many times that the Evangelical Philosophical Society has been an important part of my personal and professional growth as a philosopher. As I began travel to the most recent annual meeting in Denver, my motivation as a scholar and teacher was just okay at best. The struggle to help students see the importance of philosophy, the feelings of futility one can have at times after decades of writing and teaching, plus the trials common to us all, combined to dampen my enthusiasm as I headed out to the conference.

But the conversations with old and new friends, the ability to hear from some great Christian philosophers and scholars, and the enthusiasm I experienced as several people offered their help in furthering the growth and impact of the EPS, led to a renewed sense of vision and purpose in my own work. This is one of the key reasons that the EPS exists, to foster a community of Christlike philosophers helping each other in our vocations. We also exist to help others come to know important things about God and his universe, for the sake of Christ, his church, and the world.

The work done by EPS members in our excellent the excellent journal and online venues are important parts of this, as are the various meetings and conferences we participate in beyond our annual meeting. In light of this, we count professors, pastors, apologists, campus ministers, and laypersons as part of our society.

I’m writing to ask you to partner with the EPS in another way, through your giving. Would you consider a monthly or even one-time gift to further the work of the EPS? Even $10-$20 month can help us accomplish our goals, as well as any year-end gift you are led to give to the EPS.

Your partnership will help us accomplish the following:

  • Creating a Membership Growth Campaign by reaching out to EPS members, helping them invite colleagues, students, and friends to join the Society. This can result in significant growth for the Society.
  • Launch a Conference Scholarship fund to support EPS members, especially international graduate students, to present at the EPS annual meeting and other conferences in the U.S. and around the world.
  • Empower Philosophia Christi to be sustainable in 2023 as production costs continue to increase.
  • Produce short video content from leading Christian scholars doing work in philosophy and interrelated disciplines.
  • Support additional regional meetings of the EPS as well as EPS involvement at the AAR, SBL, and APA meetings that provide venues for offering Christian perspectives on philosophical issues.
  • Enable more intentional space at our annual meetings to cultivate and encourage graduate students in their journey and professional development.
  • Grow the EPS Graduate Student Award and its opportunity to support and encourage emerging scholars.

We are an organization significantly driven by the generous giving of people’s time, talent, prayers, and financial resources. Any support you are able to give is deeply appreciated!

Thank you so much for considering this, and Merry Christmas!

Sincerely,

Mike Austin
EPS President

The 2022 EPS Graduate Student Award

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.

Cast Your Vote for the EPS Executive Committee

Current EPS Members: please check your email to access the voting ballot. The “Profile for EPS Executive Committee Members” is listed below for your reference.

 

Vice President Nominee: Vote for 1

Paul Franks is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Vice President Academic/Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Tyndale University in Toronto (Canada). He is a graduate of Southwestern Assemblies of God University (Biblical Studies), Talbot School of Theology (MA, Philosophy of Religion and Ethics) and the University of Oklahoma (PhD, Philosophy). In 2019 he published, Explaining Evil: Four Views with Bloomsbury Academic and has published several related articles in various journals focusing on the philosophy of religion. He is a long-time member of the EPS and has served on the EPS Executive Committee since 2016.


Executive Committee Nominees: Vote for up to 3

Matthew Flummer is Professor of Philosophy at Porterville College. Matthew has a PhD in philosophy from Florida State University. Prior to that, he earned an MA in philosophy from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and an MDiv with a specialization in Christian Thought from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. His research primarily focuses on free will, moral responsibility, and the philosophy of religion and has appeared in various academic journals. He is also the cohost, with Taylor Cyr, of the podcast The Free Will Show. A book based on the podcast is forthcoming with OUP. Matthew lives with his wife and kids in central California. Website: https://matthewflummer.weebly.com/about.html


Julie Miller earned a PhD in Humanities with a concentration in Philosophy from Faulkner University’s Great Books Honors College. She has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Julie has served as chapter director with Ratio Christi for eleven years, first at Rutgers University and now at Texas A&M University and is the Area Ministry Director for central Texas. She is a Founding Council member and treasurer of the Society for Women of Letters. Julie is the author of Critiquing Transhumanism: The Human Cost of Pursuing Techno-Utopia. She lives in College Station, Texas with her husband of 37 years. They have two married sons and three grandchildren. Website: https://societyforwomenofletters.com/leadership/


Dolores Morris is an associate professor of instruction in the philosophy department at the USF in Tampa, Florida. She received her PhD in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame in 2010, where she wrote her dissertation on the metaphysics of mind under Alvin Plantinga. Dolores is also deeply invested in bridging the gap between Christian philosophy and the church. To that end, her first book, Believing Philosophy: Becoming a Christian Philosopher was released by Zondervan Academic in 2021, with accompanying video lectures released in October of 2022. She currently serves on the executive committee for the Society of Christian Philosophers. Website: https://www.doloresgmorris.com


J. T. Turner is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Anderson University (SC). He holds degrees in philosophy and theology from Liberty University, Erskine College and Seminary, and the University of Edinburgh (his Ph.D.).He is the author of one monograph (with Routledge Press) on the metaphysics of resurrection and is a co-editor, with James Arcadi, of theT&T Clark Handbook of Analytic Theology. With Tom McCall and Jordan Wessling, he is a series editor for the Routledge Studies in Analytic and Systematic Theology monograph series. He has too many hobbies, mostly involving sports and table-top wargaming. He and his wife, Bethany, have one son, James, and a West Highland Terrier named “Theo.” Website: https://andersonuniversity.edu/academics/christian-studies/faculty/james-t-turner-jr-jt


PROFILE FOR EPS EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS

The Evangelical Philosophical Society is deeply committed to sustaining a unique identity in its endeavor to serve both the academy and the church.  Because EPS seeks to fulfill this service as a means towards its ultimate end of bringing glory to the Triune God and spreading the Kingdom of God, it is important that the intellectual commitments and spiritual texture of the EPS are honoring to God.  Therefore, members of the EPS Executive Committee should fit a certain profile by living a life that exemplifies the following four values.

First, an Executive Committee member should value excellence in philosophy.  He or she should exhibit a life of philosophical growth, a commitment to the discipline, and a desire to serve the field of philosophy both because it is intrinsically good to do so and for the honor of Jesus Christ.

Second, an Executive Committee member should exhibit a real sense of faithfulness to the teachings of the inerrant Word of God, along with an eagerness to identify with the Evangelical community.  The EPS is an Evangelical society and it should manifest a desire to be loyal to and defend the views of that community unless, of course, that loyalty or those views are suspect for some reason or another.  Evangelical brothers and sisters who are not philosophers should have a sense that the Executive Committee member is one of them and happy to be their representative in the academic community.

Third, an Executive Committee member should live life with a spiritual texture.  He or she should not be pugnacious, arrogant, or self-absorbed.  Instead, an Executive Committee member should have the texture of servant.  He or she should be seeking to live a holy life and to have a solid Christian family where that is applicable.  He or she should be the sort of person that others recognize as having a genuine, vibrant spiritual life of devotion to the Lord Jesus.

Finally, an Executive Committee member should be strongly committed to being an activist for the cause of Christ.  This commitment should be seen in the member’s desire to do his or her work in order to promote a Christian world view in the world and the church, strengthen the faith of believers, and help to fulfill the Great Commission.   At a practical level, this means that Executive Committee members must commit to serving on at least one sub-committee which addresses the operational needs (e.g. donor relations, increased membership, marketing, web-content, public image, etc.) or future aspirations (international chapters, national outposts, etc.) of the Evangelical Philosophical Society.  Strong candidates should possess the talents and willingness to serve the Executive Committee through the work of its sub-committees. All members and candidates for membership of the Executive Committee must be full, current members of the Evangelical Philosophical Society.

The ‘Virtue of Obedience’ in Hudson’s Fallenness and Flourishing

Philosophers Michael Austin (Eastern Kentucky), Charity Anderson (Baylor), and Kent Dunnington (Biola) reflect on Hud Hudson’s Fallenness and Flourishing (Oxford, 2021) in a recent book symposia discussion (introduced by James Arcadi) at the Henry Center’s Sapientia.

Hud Hudson is Professor of Philosophy at Western Washington University, and the author of multiple books, including A Grotesque in the Garden (Eerdmans, 2020).

In his essay, Kent Dunnington shows that Hudson’s story can be ‘compressed’ as follows

(1) The world is bleak and most everybody is ill-off and unhappy.

(2) This is a consequence of human sin, especially our prideful efforts to pursue happiness independently of God.

(3) Such efforts mire us in unhappiness, particularly in the deadly sin of sloth: apathetic resistance to the demands of love.

(4) Since sloth diminishes human agency, we need God’s atoning grace to extricate ourselves from our unhappiness.

(5) The virtue of obedience opens us up to this grace.

While Dunnington shares Hudson’s “penchant for pessimism” he is, “less confident than [Hudson] that pessimism as a philosophy of life is warranted or beneficial.” Among other important questions, Dunnington wonders “how essential, really, is Hudson’s pessimism to his overall argument?” What if, Dunnington raises, (1) were replaced by

(1*) The world is brimming with gratuitous goodness, yet most of us persistently ignore, reject, and efface it.

in Hudson’s story?

Mike Austin praises Hudson’s book for “its philosophical quality but also for its deep insight into issues that relate to spiritual and moral formation.”

A slow and reflective reading on the nature of sloth as it is analyzed in the pages of this book would be potentially very useful for such purposes. This is moral philosophy and moral theology at its best, offering wisdom that can be lived.

Austin thinks that Hudson has made a “strong prima facie case for understanding obedience as a virtue. ” How does Hudson conceive of obedience? According to Austin (quoting Hudson), obedience is conceived as

an abiding and deeply seated pro-attitude towards uniting one’s will with God’s will and a robust and stable set of dispositions aimed at combatting . . . our perpetual state of concupiscence which is daily fueled by self-love . . . self-deceit . . . the lesser goods of pleasure, knowledge, and power in the world.” It includes the positive “disposition to commit oneself to God’s revealed word by faith, to persevere in the hope for the realization of the promises of that word, and to promote that realization in the exercise of charity through properly grounded love of God and neighbor (pp. 162–63). 

Austin’s essay goes on to examine “some important ways that hope can and ought to play in relation to Hudson’s four components of obedience: humility, restraint, response, and love.”

Charity Anderson commends Hudson’s book as an “engaging and creative attempt to diagnose one of the most important problems that human beings face—the failure to flourish—and offer a path forward . . .”

Anderson’s essay engages with two different parts of the book: First, she examines theodicy and “its impact on the pessimistic worldview that Hudson advocates.” Second, she “raises several questions about Hudson’s proposal that obedience is the key to unlocking happiness and well-being” (e.g., whether those who have cultivated obedience are in fact happier?).

Anderson concludes:

Suppose we grant that cultivating the virtue of obedience is a metaphorical ‘primer’ for the paint colors of well-being to display themselves more vividly. If it seems to us that in those who—to the best of our knowledge—have cultivated the virtue of obedience, the colors still don’t show all that vividly, what should we think? Are those who cultivate obedience only flourishing slightly more by comparison with those who lack obedience? It is unclear to what extent Hudson thinks we can expect to flourish on this earth even if we manage to cultivate the virtue of obedience. But it’s difficult to judge the thesis of the book—that obedience is the key to flourishing—without a better appreciation of what Hudson thinks about the prospects of the obedient flourishing now.

Theologian Olli-Pekka Vainio (Helsinki) also contributes to the book symposia, along with a reply from Hudson.

Call for Abstracts: The Tyndale Fellowship

Call for Abstracts: The Tyndale Fellowship

Please see the following information about the 2023 Tyndale Fellowship conference in philosophy of religion. The EPS is working at building stronger ties with Tyndale, given our mutual commitments. To that end, we are working at making grant money available for overseas travel to our respective conferences each year. As you’ll see below, current EPS Vice President Paul Gould is the plenary speaker for the 2023 conference. Former EPS President Paul Copan is the Co-Chair, and will be the 2024 plenary speaker. This is also a great opportunity for Christian camaraderie, mutual support, and collaboration at the international level.

The Tyndale Fellowship plans to meet (in person) next year Wednesday 5th July 14:00 – Friday 7 July 2023 14:00 at the same venue as this year, High Leigh Conference Centre, Hoddesdon (https://www.cct.org.uk/high-leigh/high-leigh-conference-centre). The plan is, as this year, for Philosophy of Religion to meet concurrently with the other groups, so you may be able to pop into some of the other groups’ talks if you wish.

We are very pleased that Dr. Paul Gould (https://www.paul-gould.com/about/) of Palm Beach Atlantic University, Florida, has agreed to be our Tyndale Lecturer; title and topic to be confirmed. It may well be that, as this year, the Tyndale Lecture will be livestreamed and, perhaps also, made permanently available on the Internet.

Booking is not open yet, but we hope that it will open on 2nd December. Early-bird booking is expected to finish on 31st January. We expect that bursaries will be available, on the basis of need, for those struggling to raise the funds to travel to Hoddesdon.

If you’d like to give us a paper, please send an abstract (no precise word limit: aim for 250 words or so) to djhill1972@gmail.com by 23rd November. (The paper itself should be aimed to last for about 30 minutes.) The abstract can be on any area of philosophy of religion, broadly construed. We are happy to receive submissions from any stream of philosophy (analytical, continental, historical, feminist…) and from people of any faith or none. If you do not expect to be able to be present in person, please feel free to submit an abstract making it clear that you are able to present only on-line. Equally, it’d be helpful if you could confirm that you expect to be in person, if that is the case. We intend to give preference for in-person talks, but may, as this year, be able to accommodate a couple of on-line talks.

This call for abstracts is on-line at https://philevents.org/event/show/103982, and there is a brief page about the conference itself at https://philevents.org/event/show/103978.

EPS Call for Nominations for the Executive Committee

The Evangelical Philosophical Society is asking for nominees for the upcoming election of new members of the Executive Committee. Each potential candidate must be nominated by two current members of the EPS in order to be considered for being on the final ballot. As you consider who might be a good person to nominate for the Executive Committee, the “Profile for EPS Executive Committee Members” below should be helpful.

Please send your nominations to Chris Lee (CLee@sebts.edu) by Friday October 28.

Sincerely,

Mike Austin

EPS President

 


PROFILE FOR EPS EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS

The Evangelical Philosophical Society is deeply committed to sustaining a unique identity in its endeavor to serve both the academy and the church.  Because EPS seeks to fulfill this service as a means towards its ultimate end of bringing glory to the Triune God and spreading the Kingdom of God, it is important that the intellectual commitments and spiritual texture of the EPS are honoring to God.  Therefore, members of the EPS Executive Committee should fit a certain profile by living a life that exemplifies the following four values.

First, an Executive Committee member should value excellence in philosophy.  He or she should exhibit a life of philosophical growth, a commitment to the discipline, and a desire to serve the field of philosophy both because it is intrinsically good to do so and for the honor of Jesus Christ.

Second, an Executive Committee member should exhibit a real sense of faithfulness to the teachings of the inerrant Word of God, along with an eagerness to identify with the Evangelical community.  The EPS is an Evangelical society and it should manifest a desire to be loyal to and defend the views of that community unless, of course, that loyalty or those views are suspect for some reason or another.  Evangelical brothers and sisters who are not philosophers should have a sense that the Executive Committee member is one of them and happy to be their representative in the academic community.

Third, an Executive Committee member should live life with a spiritual texture.  He or she should not be pugnacious, arrogant, or self-absorbed.  Instead, an Executive Committee member should have the texture of servant.  He or she should be seeking to live a holy life and to have a solid Christian family where that is applicable.  He or she should be the sort of person that others recognize as having a genuine, vibrant spiritual life of devotion to the Lord Jesus.

Finally, an Executive Committee member should be strongly committed to being an activist for the cause of Christ.  This commitment should be seen in the member’s desire to do his or her work in order to promote a Christian world view in the world and the church, strengthen the faith of believers, and help to fulfill the Great Commission.   At a practical level, this means that Executive Committee members must commit to serving on at least one sub-committee which addresses the operational needs (e.g. donor relations, increased membership, marketing, web-content, public image, etc.) or future aspirations (international chapters, national outposts, etc.) of the Evangelical Philosophical Society.  Strong candidates should possess the talents and willingness to serve the Executive Committee through the work of its sub-committees. All members and candidates for membership of the Executive Committee must be full, current members of the Evangelical Philosophical Society.

The Creation of Self

In 2023, John Hunt Publishing will release The Creation of Self by Joshua R. Farris. Farris is currently the Humboldt Experienced Researcher Fellow at the University of Bochum in Bochum, Germany, focusing on biologically-engaged religious anthropology. Farris is also a co-project editor and coordinator of the EPS web project on the Philosophy of Theological Anthropology.

Bruce Gordon, Associate Professor of History and Philosophy of Science (Houston Baptist University), says that

Many old-school neuroscientists and philosophers of mind, having retreated to the keep of non-reductive physicalism, seem oblivious to the fact that their materialist position has been overrun both by the evidence, and by panpsychist, dualist, and idealist armies. In this regard, apart from Richard Swinburne, none has been more vigorous in defending the consistency of emergent-creationist dualism with neuroscience, and the necessity of an immaterial mind to a proper understanding of human personhood, than Joshua Farris. With respect to religious issues, Farris is the leader. Those who think that substance dualism is untenable display their doxastic inertia and ignore Farris’ work at their peril.

On the Nature and Origins of Persons

In 2023, IVP Academic is set to publish Who Are You, Really? A Philosopher’s Inquiry into the Nature and Origin of Persons by Joshua Rasmussen. Rasmussen (PhD, Notre Dame) is associate professor of philosophy at Azusa Pacific University. 

From the publisher’s description:

What does it mean to be human? What is a person? Where did we come from?

Philosopher Joshua Rasmussen offers his own step-by-step examination into the fundamental nature and ultimate origin of persons. Using accessible language and clear logic, he argues that the answer to the question of what it means to be a person sheds light not only on our own nature but also on the existence of the one who gave us life.

J. P. Moreland writes about the book:

Joshua Rasmussen is a treasured friend and esteemed colleague. Based on the quality of his work, he is regarded as an elite philosopher among secular and Christian scholars alike. But he is much more than that. Joshua is a warm-hearted Jesus follower with a passion to help thoughtful believers and with the skills to take difficult topics and make them accessible. Who Are You, Really? is the fruit of these abilities. With fresh, original, perceptive insight, this book addresses the central question that underlies most of the issues debated in contemporary culture and the academy. Having specialized in philosophy of mind and theological anthropology for decades, I can confidently say that there is nothing like this book. With fairness and rigor, Rasmussen carefully works through all the issues and arguments fundamental to his topic. Happily, he does all of this while making the book marvelously accessible. This should be a required text in all Christian colleges and seminaries, and it is must-read for all who care about this crucial subject.