Baylor Professor is an Inaugural Winner of National Philosophy Prize

February 22, 2022
Feb. 22, 2022

By Randy Fiedler, Director of Marketing and Communications, College of Arts & Sciences, Baylor University

A Baylor philosophy professor is one of the inaugural winners of the Alvin Plantinga Prize from the American Philosophical Association.

Charity Anderson, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy in the College of Arts & Sciences, received one of two honorable mention prizes worth $5,000 each for her essay “Divine Hiddenness: An Evidential Argument.” The Plantinga Prize, funded through the Bossenbroek Family Foundation, recognizes original essays “that engage philosophical issues about or in substantial ways related to theism.”

“It is an incredible honor to be given this award, which is named after one of the most well-known and influential Christian philosophers from the last 60 years,” said Anderson, a member of Baylor’s faculty since 2014. “I have been working on this topic for three years –– the article is part of a grant project I am running and it is also a chapter in a book that is underway. My goal is to change the way philosophers think about divine hiddenness, and winning this award will contribute to that aim.”

Anderson said her winning paper’s topic –– hiddenness –– is an area of the philosophy of religion that explores the question, “Why isn’t God’s existence more obvious?”

“The core idea is a thought that I am sympathetic with –– namely, that we’d expect God’s existence to be more obvious than it is,” she said. “The existence of a perfectly loving God is in some sense in tension with the evidential situation in which many find themselves. In this paper I argue for the view that theists can agree that our evidential situation is not what we’d have expected, but that doesn’t mean hiddenness is bad news for God.”

Todd Buras, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of philosophy, said that Anderson’s Plantinga Prize award reflects the quality of her thought and research.

“This award confirms what those of us familiar with Dr. Anderson’s work know very well. She is carrying the banner for clear, rigorous, original work at the intersection of philosophy and belief in God,” he said. “For a long time, Christian philosophers looked to scholars like Alvin Plantinga for agenda-setting work in philosophy. They are now looking to Charity Anderson. It is therefore especially fitting for her work to receive an award that bears Plantinga’s name.”