2024 Award for The Substance of Consciousness

May 21, 2024

A special announcement from The Martin Institute & the Dallas Willard Research Center:

The Martin Institute & the Dallas Willard Research Center (MIDWRC) at Westmont College are
pleased to announce that the winner of the Book Award for 2024 is The Substance of
Consciousness: A Comprehensive Defense of Contemporary Substance Dualism
Blackwell, 2023) by Brandon Rickabaugh and J.P. Moreland.

Dallas Willard (1935-2013) was a thinker, pastor, and author of such books as The Spirit of the
and The Divine Conspiracy. Now regarded as modern spiritual classics, these works
have inspired thousands of ordinary Christians to become extraordinary Christ-followers and
have influenced an entire generation of writers and teachers on Christian spiritual disciplines
and formation. The MIDWRC Annual Book Award Program was created in 2015 to help place an
enduring emphasis on the intellectual legacy of Dallas Willard by recognizing original written
work that shares his vision that invisible things such as soul, spirit, and the Kingdom of God are
part of reality and can be known via experiential interaction.

According to the announcement, Rickabaugh & Moreland’s The Substance of Consciousness was selected precisely because it provides a sustained defense of one of these “invisible things” – the human soul – from a battery of critics, philosophical and scientific, purporting to show that belief an immaterial soul is an intellectually discredited relic of a bygone age. Once upon a time, these critics suggest, it
was possible to believe in dualism, the idea that mind/soul and body were two distinct things,
but contemporary neuroscience proves that the mind just is part of the body and not a
separate thing at all. According to one reviewer, however, "Moreland and Rickabaugh have
written the most comprehensive, up-to-date, and sophisticated defense of substance dualism
available. They successfully tackle every anti-dualist argument in the literature, demonstrating
both the variety of options available to dualists and the fruitfulness of the dualist framework for
future scientific and philosophical research.” 

Brandon Rickabaugh is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Research Scholar of Philosophy of
Technology & Culture Palm Beach Atlantic University, Florida. J. P. Moreland is Distinguished
Professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University.

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